IT and Tech Support: Dean Stephens
Programs and APRA Co-ordinator: Andrea Quaglia
Venue Co-ordinator: Mikayla Tate
Social Media Co-ordinator: Stephanie Jones
Photographer: Suzi Stengel
Wendy Dixon – Soprano
Wendy Dixon has maintained a successful international career in opera, oratorio, concert and recital work, and remains an active recitalist. She is an established singing teacher, currently tutoring at Open Academy USyd, the Australian Institute of Music and her own private studio. She is presently enrolled as a Doctoral student at USyd. Wendy is founder and director of Sydney Art Song Society Inc., producer and musical director of Opera Boot Camp Australia, curator of Cushion Concerts at CHIME and artistic director of Divas on Demand. She is a founding member with David Miller (piano) of Grevillea Ensemble renowned for their innovative programs.
Wendy Hopley – Soprano
Wendy has vast choral experience being a past member of the Sydney Philharmonia Symphony Chorus and a present member of their Alumni; and a past member of the Beethoven Society of Australia. Wendy also gained valuable experience singing backing vocals with the Sounds Great singers in concert. Wendy has been studying singing privately since 2008 and has achieved AMEB Eighth Grade Classical Singing (HD) in 2010 and holds a TCL Advanced Singing Certificate in Performance (2012). Wendy has performed in many eisteddfodau, and for the past three years regularly in recitals and concerts with the Sydney Art Song Society, Grass Roots Recitals and CHIME Cushion Concerts as well as with the Linnet Singers. She has a particular love of 20th / 21st Century classical, art song and jazz styles. Wendy holds a B.Sc (UNSW) and Grad.Dip.Phty (CCHS) and is a retired physiotherapist. She is a founding member of Divas on Demand.
Andrea Quaglia – Soprano
After graduating from Sydney Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music majoring in vocal performance, Andrea furthered her studies in the U.K. and Germany. During this time she performed several operatic roles including Susanna, Le Nozze di Figaro, Stogumber music festival; Norina, Don Pasquale, Myer Lismann Opera; First Lady, Die Zauberflöte, Stowe Opera and Rose Maybud, Ruddygore, The University of London Opera. She has performed extensively in recitals specializing in Lieder, Chanson and Oratorio in London, Bremen, Rome and Sydney. More recent projects include singing in vocal duo Gauchas Lyricas a programme of Latin American and Spanish songs at the Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre, and choral conducting at St Marys in North Sydney and Lugar Brae in Waverley.
Dean Stephens – Baritone
Since graduating from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, Dean has worked extensively in theatre. Equally at home behind the scenes or on centre stage he participates in various aspects of the industry, primarily lighting design and vocal performance. Dean has performed in Opera Boot Camp; and is presently a member of Sydney Art Song Society. After attending the Australian Institute of Music, his passion for music continues to thrive. He appeared as guest artist for the Ev & Bow Graduation Ceremony at NIDA. Dean is currently moonlighting at Channels TEN and ABC in lighting design. He takes to the stage with cheek and joy every time he performs.
Suzi Stengel – Soprano
Suzi was born in Rome, but grew up in South Africa in a very musical family. Beginning her studies at the University of Natal, she performed regularly as a guest soloist with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra; with the Friends of Music in Durban; with the Baroque 2000 orchestra and with the Early Music Ensemble. In Australia she completed her Bachelor of Music at AIM. Suzi performed the role of First Lady in AIM’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Suzi was also costume designer for that production and recently for Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Suzi performs regularly in recital in the St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Art Gallery of NSW Lunchtime Series recitals; at the Flute Tree; and as a member of Sydney Art Song Society. She has performed in concert for the Consulate of the Czech Republic in Sydney and for artist David Capra’s Ecclesiastical Banner Project. Suzi is currently undertaking her Masters of Music degree at AIM.
Natalia Melnik – Soprano
Natalia was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to Sydney in 2013. She has been singing for as long as she can remember. At the age of five she was selected to attend a music primary school. At thirteen she was granted a place in a children’s concert choir Cantilena and two years later became the choir soloist, performing in numerous concerts and touring in Russia and Europe. Natalia continued her studies in Valentina Levko’s Center of Vocal Art, singing at the Center’s concerts and other events. She currently performs in recitals, specializing in arias by Puccini, Rossini and Mozart as well as Russian Art Songs.
Kellie Hewitt-Taylor – Soprano
Early in her singing career, Kellie was a member of the Rockdale Opera Company, performing in operas such as Die Fledermaus, Tales of Hoffman, and Il Trovatore. Kellie is currently a member of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and sings regularly at the Sydney Opera House with recent performances including Belshazzar’s Feast and Pure Bach. Kellie sings in the Symphony Choir supporting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, also at the Opera House in performances including Russian Daydreams; Elijah; and The Last Night of the Proms. More recently Kellie performed with the Australian Ballet Orchestra for the season of The Dream.
Stephanie Charlotte Jones – Soprano
Stephanie is a Welsh/Australian soprano who has been performing for 4 years. She studied Music and Music extension at St Monica’s College, Cairns. In 2013 she sang at the Queensland Catholic Education awards and had a solo section in the combined St Monica’s Gala. In 2014 Stephanie moved to Sydney to begin her Bachelor degree in classical performance at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) under the tutelage of Wendy Dixon. Stephanie’s performance credits include AIM‘s production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (2014); Cushion Concert Series Recitals (2014/15); Opera Bootcamp (2015); Rockdale Opera Company’s Trial by Jury (2015). Stephanie will be performing the role of Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel in October 2015 with AIM. Stephanie is also performing in the Pacific Opera’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen in 2015.
Mikayla Tate – Soprano
Mikayla is currently undertaking a BMus degree at AIM. Originally from Cairns, Mikayla has performed with various instrumental and vocal ensembles including the Cairns Choral Society. Her musical theatre credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Grease, Guys and Dolls and The Pirates of Penzance as the Major General’s Daughter. More recently Mikayla has been part of the Symphony of Australia regional tour and is a frequent recitalist at St Andrews Cathedral and the Art Gallery of NSW as well as at CHIME Cushion Concerts. She is a member of the Sydney Art Song Society and has attended Opera Boot Camp held by Wendy Dixon and musical director Simon Kenway. In addition to this, Mikayla teaches singing part-time and frequently performs at weddings and other events. Since studying at AIM Mikayla has performed in their operatic productions of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. Later in 2015 Mikayla will be performing in AIM’s production of Hänsel und Gretel as the Sandman and the Dewfairy, and also as Gretel understudy. Mikayla will also be performing in the Pacific Opera’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen in 2015.
Eric Chai – Baritone
Eric is an energetic and passionate baritone who is inspired by pop opera and musical theatre. Early in 2015 Eric passed his Trinity College Grade 6 singing exam with Merit and is aiming to take his vocal and performing skills to the next level with Divas on Demand. Eric has previously sung with the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and has been involved with the music ministries within the Mater Dei, Blakehurst and St Declan’s, Penshurst churches. Eric is currently working for Qantas and loves to travel, experiencing new cultures and languages throughout the world.
Olivia Morberger – Soprano and Clarinet
Olivia is from Canberra and is currently studying for her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of New South Wales. As a clarinettist, Olivia has performed as a member of orchestras at Parliament House in Canberra and also with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Since moving to Sydney in 2014, Olivia has performed at St Andrews Cathedral and at the Art Gallery of NSW, and was principal clarinet in a production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. In 2015 Olivia toured with the Symphony of Australia and played principal clarinet in a production of Humperdinck’s opera Hänsel und Gretel. Olivia began singing in 2015 and is a member of the UNSW Burgundian Choir.
Alex Chorley – Baritone
15 year old baritone Alex Chorley is currently in year 10 at the McDonald Performing Arts College in Sydney where he studies singing and acting. His professional theatre credits include playing Michael Banks in the Sydney season of Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, “Under Milk Wood” with the Sydney Theatre Company, “Cat on a hot tin roof” with the Belvoir Street Theatre, 3 seasons with Opera Australia in “The Magic Flute”, “Turandot” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Other professional engagements include a number of short films, pantomime and numerous solo vocal recitals. He is the winner of over 100 first prizes at eisteddfods (for acting and singing) and several performing arts scholarships, along with being awarded dux of his year group at school for the last 3 years. In 2015 he passed AMEB grade 8 singing with honours and grade 6 drama and performance with distinction.
Chamberlain Zhang – Tenor
Chamberlain graduated from the University of New South Wales in 2013 majoring in philosophy, after being heavily involved in the music and theatre programs at the university. Whilst he has performed at weddings, cafes and functions as a jazz and pop singer, since 2012 he has undertaken classical vocal studies with the soprano Wendy Dixon and repetiteur Simon Kenway. As an auditioned member of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs (Symphony Chorus), he has sung with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of such Maestros as Sir Andrew Davies, Vladimir Ashkenazy and David Robertson.
Larysa Kovalchuk – Soprano
Larysa’s enchanting soprano voice, combined with the gentle sounds of the bandura, has thrilled audiences around the world including her native Ukraine, Europe and Australia. Larysa studied voice, bandura and conducting at Kyiv Conservatorium of Music and soon became one of the nation’s leading players. She performed in numerous festivals in Ukraine and across Europe, including Latvia, Estonia, Germany and France. Larysa was a laureate of the 1993 all-Ukrainian Bandura Festival and won international renown when she performed at the 1994 “All the World’s Violins” Festival in France, organized by Yehudi Menuhin.
Since moving to Australia, Larysa has made recordings with SBS and ABC, and has performed in the Sydney Opera House, at Multicultural and Folk Festivals, with Musica Viva, with Cafe Carnivale and at Australia Day Concerts. She has also been invited as a soloist to perform with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in the “Noel! Noel!” concert series. Larysa completed her Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Sydney and now divides her time between performing and teaching at the Australian Institute of Music.