On Saturday October 1, Jeremy Boulton was announced as the winner of this year’s prestigious Australian IFAC Handa singing competition. The 23-year-old baritone from New South Wales was awarded the $30,000 Marianne Mathy Fellowship, which provides the opportunity to audition for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Artist Development Program, and the top Nicole Car Award. of $6,250, which allows him to travel to Paris and be mentored by the famous soprano.
Now in its 40th year, the competition was held at the Concourse Concert Hall in the presence of His Excellency the Honorable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Her Excellency Mrs. Linda Hurley.
Boulton competed alongside four other singers: 27-year-old mezzo-soprano Kristin Astouroghlian from Victoria, 26-year-old bass Jake Bigwood from Western Australia, 25-year-old soprano Billie Tumarkin from Victoria and 26-year-old soprano. Younji Yi from New South Wales.
A former recipient of the Opera Australia Student Scholarship and a graduate of the Talent Development Project, Boulton has performed as a concert soloist with ensembles in New South Wales and Tasmania. He is the recipient of the Margaret Olive Stewart Legacy Scholarship and the PATIM Fund Scholarship. In 2020, Boulton received Joint First Prize at the Fourth Fresno State Art Song Festival in California, and he received the Demant Dreikurs Fellowship after winning the Lieder Competition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he is currently reading for a Masters in Music Performance. ‘opera. on the John Holt Todd and Florence Todd Fellowship.
Boulton sang lead roles in Dido and Aeneas for Gondwana Choirs with The Muffat Collective, king arthur for St Paul’s College, and in several productions for The Cooperative, most recently as Count Almaviva in Figaro’s wedding. In July, he interprets the role of Marcello in Bohemian for Musica Proibita in Bergamo, Italy, and in October he will play the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflote for the Sydney Conservatorium and NIDA.
Talk to limelight After her victory, Boulton reiterated her gratitude to the International Foundation for Arts and Culture, its president, Dr. Haruhisa Handa, and the pageant sponsors, saying, “They are going to change the course of my life.”
“This competition was a great experience from the heats to the final. The selection process was rigorous, challenging and rewarding, and it gave me a great insight into the hurdles I will have to overcome in a career in opera.
In the finale, Boulton sang the role of Sir Riccardo Forth in Or dove fuggo io mai from Bellini I puritan and the air of Frank Questo amor, vergogna mia from Puccini Edgar.
“Opera baritones really have the cream when it comes to tunes – or so I think,” Boulton laughs. “These pieces are very dear to me, especially since they come from the beautiful canto and verism, respectively. They encapsulate the many facets of a man’s grief. Both characters reveal their vulnerabilities, which are ultimately their strengths. I was able to bring some nuances of myself to these men and color them so that they came across as truly sincere in their suffering.
Receiving his Governor General’s Award, Boulton noted that his singing journey began when he took lessons with soprano Rachel Bate, who also won the Marianne Mathy Fellowship in 2010.
“Marianne Mathy produced incredible singers in her time,” says Boulton limelight. “It made me realize even more how important good pedagogues are to producing good singers. I owe this success to my teacher Maree Ryan AM, who has produced many great lyrical artists, with four Mathy winners in just my hometown of Wollongong!One of them is my former teacher, Rachel Bate, who I started singing with when I was seven.
One of the fellowship’s companion prizes is Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center Lyric Opera Audition Prize, which will allow her to try out her professional artist development program.
Boulton also won the top Nicole Car award, which is sponsored by the international soprano and covers travel costs to receive mentoring sessions from her in Paris.
He says limelight, “I greatly admire Nicole Car and her husband, baritone Etienne Dupuis. The last thing I saw Nicole do was Pierre Grimes with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra alongside Stuart Skelton. It was an absolute treat, and I can’t believe I could learn from her and be mentored by her. It’s a dream come true.
“I hope to learn the ins and outs of the industry and find out what the next level of quality is for my singing in terms of performance, diction and the demands and expectations of professional work.”
Boulton’s other competitors also won prizes. Astouroghlian was awarded the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute Montreal Scholarship, providing the opportunity to participate in the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute Summer Program in Montreal. She also received the Nell Pascall Prize of $2,500 to help with travel costs.
Bigwood was awarded the Nelly Apt Scholarship for $5,000 in travel expenses to attend the Israeli Opera Young Artists Program at the Meitar Opera Studio in Tel Aviv. Her place in the program is sponsored by the Israeli Opera.
Tumarkin has won the Royal Northern College of Music Award, which covers the fees for the 2023-2024 Advanced Postgraduate Diploma course at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She also received the $2,500 Haas Prize to help with travel costs.
Yi won the $7,000 Merenda Legacy Award sponsored by Equity Trustees to study the Italian language in Italy; and the OVER $500 ® Audience Award from the Music & Opera Singers Trust Ltd.
The five singers received the Opera Australia prize, which allows them to attend rehearsals and follow the preparations for a production during the Melbourne or Sydney seasons.
They were accompanied by the Opera Australia Orchestra under the direction of maestro Vladimir Fanshil, while Australian soprano and 2010 finalist Eleanor Lyons gave a special performance of Io son the umile ancella from Cilea Adriana Lecouvreurwhich will be presented by Opera Australia in 2023.
The national referee was famed countertenor and Managing Director of Arts Management, Graham Pushee. Her fellow judges were soprano Cheryl Barker, conductor Brian Castles-Onion, baritone and Associate Professor of Vocal Studies and Opera at the University of Sydney Michael Halliwell, and soprano Noëmi Terracini-Nadelmann.
The Australian IFAC Handa Singing Competition is Australasia’s richest competition, with the Marianne Mathy Scholarship considered the most prestigious award for young opera singers. Since 1982, the competition has awarded more than $3 million in prizes to more than 3,000 singers.
Full details on the Australian IFAC Handa Singing Competition and its various awards, including the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, can be found here.