How does a future in opera sound?


OA Regional ScholarshipLeah Bateman (far right in the photo by Keith Saunders), a 17-year-old Saint Philip’s College student, is one of four young Australian singers who have just spent a week at the Sydney Opera House, after winning a highly sought after Opera Australia Regional Student Scholarship.
The four were selected from more than 30 finalists who auditioned during the 2017 regional tour of The Marriage of Figaro.
Their experience has allowed them to gain exclusive insight into the working life of an opera singer and to perform for Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini.
Said Mr Terracini: “We already develop young singers through our Young Artist Program but the Regional Student Scholarship allows us to work with a younger group – senior secondary students – who might be considering a career in opera. It is important for us to nurture and support these talented individuals with their journey into the music industry.”
During the week the four undertook music, acting and movement workshops with industry leaders. These included vocal coaching, the viewing of multiple Opera Australia performances at the Sydney Opera House and behind the scenes tours, as well as their own performances in front of a live audience.


  1. There is an intriguing link between the Sydney Opera House and a singer who got her big break in Alice Springs.
    In 1958 a young couple and their family in NSW came to live in the Alice, they were Tom and Lorna Oliphant. Judging from a street address published on one occasion, which was in the (then new) railway cottages precinct just to the west of the town’s centre, Tom Oliphant must have worked for the Central Australian Railway.
    Lorna Oliphant (nee Beulah) was a Wiradjuri woman originally from Forbes, NSW. Both were accomplished singers and soon became the stars of the newly formed Centralian Musical Society from about 1960 onwards.
    In 1962 Lorna Oliphant entered a national talent quest held for that year’s NADOC week (as it was then known). Mrs Oliphant, who entered the competition by submitting a tape with three songs, won first prize which led to her gaining a scholarship at the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
    The family was given a big send-off with a variety concert held at the Alice Springs Youth Centre later that year; and in time Lorna Beulah, who came to be known as The Nightingale, became a renowned opera singer performing in concerts around the world.
    It was her voice that was used to test the acoustics of the brand new Sydney Opera House prior to its official opening in 1973.
    Strangely she is now barely remembered. She passed away in 2012.

  2. Lorna Beulah has now had a street named in her honor in the Canberra suburb of Moncrieff. Beulah Close, Moncrieff.


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