Gift. Instinct. Grit. Professionalism.
At the core of any endeavour is the future.
We are not only engaged in creating performances of now, we're setting the bar for the future: leaving a footprint in the lives of young artists' careers, connecting them with their supporters, and enabling the future of a dynamic opera sector. Aside from an exceptional voice and interpretative instinct, the most important elements for any highly-talented artist are grit, communication skills and the acceptance that opera is a team-sport. Every contribution is vital, and every individual success is a team success. Our Young Artists develop individually and collectively during their time with ACOCo, adding roles to their CVs and professional skills to their toolbox.
ACOCo is grateful to our founding and ELEVATE sponsors who enable the professional development of an annual cohort talented Australian singer-actors:
Urquhart Charitable Fund
Gertrude Johnson Estate
Maureen Wheeler AO
Ruth & Tom O'Dea
THE FUTURE OF OPERA
YOUNG ARTISTS 2022
Each year, a select group of post-tertiary (or equiv.) emerging artists are chosen to be members of the extraordinary ACOCo Young Artist Program.
Inspired by the motto of legendary Australian soprano and entrepreneur Gertrude Johnson MBE: "learning by doing", ACOCo's Young Artist Performance Program is led by Artistic Director Linda Thompson and creative associates. The program provides tuition-free professional development and paid stage experience to young artists as they begin their professional careers.
Singers gain valuable experience with ACOCo by being featured in leading and supporting roles, covering (understudying) roles, participate in small ensembles, and are presented as soloists in concert and soiree programs. Other artists - conductors, stage directors, designers, lighting designers - are engaged to lead and work on dynamic and unique projects.
ACOCo is committed to supporting and nurturing the careers of artists long-term, by bringing back alumni for leading roles in future seasons and guest appearances.
Amongst our esteemed alumni principal artists/creatives are many contracts and awards, including:
Stacey Alleaume (Opera Australia, Bregenzer Festspiele, Royal Opera House Muscat)
Hadleigh Adams (San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Nederlandse Reisopera, West Edge Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Greg Eldridge (Royal Opera Covent Garden, Icelandic Opera, Opera Australia)
Ashlyn Tymms (Glyndebourne Festival, Buckingham Palace, Opera Australia, West Australian Opera)
Sophie Yelland (English National Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera), Nathan Lay (Opera Australia, Victorian Opera)
Raphael Wong (Festival junger künstler Bayreuth , State Opera of South Australia, Victorian Opera, Opera Australia)
Blake Bowden (Opera Australia)
Nigel Huckle (Opera Australia)
Darcy Carroll (Winner of the German - Australian Opera Grant - Wiesbaden Staatstheater)
Leo Williams - (Resident Artist Detroit Opera)
For the past two years, both winners of the prestigious Herald Sun Aria have been ACOCo Young Artists - Georgia Wilkinson and most recently, Naomi Flatman.
In addition to staged productions, YAPs participate in one-on-one coaching, community engagement performances, industry auditions and master classes given by distinguished artists and professionals in their field.
Our practical program is designed to assist skilled young performers to take their professional careers to the next level. At the end of their participation, which can range from 1 - 3 years depending on the individual, singers will have worked within a repertory rehearsal, preparation and performance environment. All activities are geared towards equipping young artists with skills, stamina, experience and reputation to take their place in the professional spotlight - and to give audiences an opportunity to engage with their creative development and professional careers.
Who is it for?
This program is for highly-trained singers, with proven potential for an operatic career. What sets this program apart is the individual focus on the development of skills that are already in evidence, preparation towards appearing in ACOCo productions and performances. Each year, our singers have come into the profession from different backgrounds and directions, and have specific strengths and weaknesses. Consequently, the program is devised each year in response to the individual needs of the selected young artists. Our Australian audiences have the opportunity to engage in the progress and path of the next generation of principal soloists.
Subject to vocal development and suitability, each singer is cast to perform and cover certain roles, with intensive input into the craft of performing opera alongside professional artists and creators. Ours is a unique and successful program, with a focus on contemporary opera and singing in English.
When cast in a role alongside professional artists in staged productions, ACOCo Core Young Artists will receive FairWork minimum trainee payment for full-time participation. Young Artists in a lead principal role, or returning to sing a leading role, receive LPA minimum professional rates. For regional performances, travel and/or travel reimbursement applies. If overnight stay is required for regional or interstate activity, shared accommodation is provided.
Does ACOCo provide singing lessons?
No. It is assumed that each singer has an existing professional relationship with a singing teacher, and will continue to maintain private vocal tuition in person, or via electronic aids. In addition to regular coaching of expert staff and répétiteurs, visiting coaches and consultants offer further instruction, and are on hand for repertoire/career advice and guidance.
What is the motivation?
Collaborating to forge the future of opera is the cornerstone of ACOCo's purpose - and assisting the next generation of artists is rewarding and joyful.. Celebrating successes - some immediate, some down the track - it is clear that the future of opera is strong and bright in the hands of dedicated, sensitive, talented, and committed young people, with artistry and excellence and a global view driving careers. Our young artists are also driving change in championing diversity, inclusivity and access.
How is participation free?
This unique professional development and mentoring program is supported by our ELEVATE Principal Donors, Donor Circle, Supporters, Partners & Philanthropy. ACOCo believes that access to world-class professional development should be available to any talented young person, regardless of background/circumstances. ACOCo Young Artists do not pay to be a part of Program.
We use income generated from events and concerts to pay our professional répétiteurs, directors and industry professionals, and give financial support to Young Artists wherever possible. ACOCo is a registered charity / NFP, supported primarily through private philanthropy and in-kind partnerships.
What is the time commitment?
Our 2022 program will be run on a project-by-project basis, with the first project due to start rehearsing at the end of January in Melbourne. As a guide, each project requires availability/flexibility for a block of full time rehearsal between 2 - 5 weeks, depending upon the complexity of the production.
From March to November, coaching, soirees, concerts, masterclasses, professional development/career sessions will be programmed on a rolling basis.
We regret that due to CoVID-19 travel restrictions and associated uncertainty, we are unable to support international participants in 2022. We anticipate our international program will re-start from 2023. Overseas participants fund their own travel and living expenses.
2022 'Elevate' Donors
Gertrude Johnson Estate
Tom & Ruth O'Dea
Hans & Petra Henkell
Maureen Wheeler AO