JULY 2017 ASSOCIATE ARTIST
KATHERINE ALLEN | soprano
Sydney-based soprano, Katherine Allen, is currently studying a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Rowena Cowley. Early this year, Katherine performed in the Ensemble for Opera New England’s production of Susannah. In July 2016, Katherine won the Sydney Eisteddfod Vocal Scholarship and Operatic Aria 17-20 Years. This followed similar results in 2015, which included First Place in the 17-20 Years Operatic Aria and Art Song. In February 2016, Katherine was invited to perform at the Sydney Opera House in the HSC Music Showcase, Encore. Prior to commencing her final school year, Katherine successfully auditioned to be one of Opera Australia’s Inaugural Regional Student Scholarship recipients. In May that year, Katherine was invited to perform as a guest artist at Opera Australia’s Autumnal Gala Ball in Melbourne. Katherine was a featured soloist in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 NSW Schools Spectaculars, performing at the formerly named Entertainment Centre.
1. What have you been up to lately, performance-wise, and what's coming up?
In June I had the privilege of performing with Pacific Opera in the Utzon Room of the Sydney Opera House in our Winter Words Concert. It was a fantastic and vibrant show and I am so grateful to the team at Pacific Opera for all the work they do for us.
I also recently performed in the Chorus of the Sydney Con Opera La Calisto. This was such an exciting production and a really fabulous opportunity for myself to get to know the workings of an opera from the very start to the very finish. It was wonderful to see the students of the Sydney Con Opera Program explore their characters throughout the rehearsal process and culminate in fantastic performances.
In October of this year I am also thrilled to be performing as a Soprano Soloist in Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor. I will be performing with the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and the Conservatorium Choirs. This will be my first performance as a soloist with a full Symphony Orchestra and Choir and I cannot wait!
2. Who is your favourite singer, and why?
I can’t seem to pick just one singer to answer this one! There are so many singers I admire greatly, both those I have known of for a long time and those I am only just discovering now. I really admire Joyce DiDonato for her musicianship and spellbinding performances, but also for her encouragement of young singers.
3. What show has impacted you the most as an audience member?
When I was in my final year of high school I had the absolute privilege of watching Opera Australia’s production of La Bohème from a perch above the Opera House stage. The image of those final fleeting moments between Mimi and Rodolfo has been plastered in my mind ever since. The absolute conviction of the singers was so evident close up.
It was not only this moment during the opera that struck me, but also the brief moments between the curtain falling and the bows when the singers broke out of their characters. It meant a huge amount to me to see the two leads hug each other, speak words of encouragement, and then join together to bow. Seeing the solidarity and affection between the whole cast taught me so much about what Opera is really about.
4. What experiences do you think have shaped you the most as a performer?
During high school I had the opportunity to perform as a soloist in three NSW Schools Spectaculars. These shows had huge audiences and were also filmed for television. With the help of the wonderful team at the Schools Spectacular I was able to work on projecting a sense of confidence and ease to the audience both on screen and live. I think this skill is essential to performance as a huge part of what makes a successful show is the ability to put the audience at ease.
I have also found that my time with Pacific Opera over the last five months has had a huge impact on my abilities as a performer. This comes in many facets, from learning to deal with a larger influx of repertoire, working on larger ensembles and scenes, to understanding the importance of comradery and encouragement between colleagues.
Finally, working with my teacher, Dr Rowena Cowley, over the past three years has been unparalleled in its impact on my development as a performer. Her encouragement, advice, and support has given me the confidence and skills base to pursue a career in singing.
I absolutely love Strauss and his operas. However, if I had to pick one piece of music it would be his Four Last Songs. I can’t listen to them too often because they always leave me in tears.
June 2017 - Caleb Son
May 2017 - Laura Scandizzo
April 2017 - Ryan O'Donnell
March 2017 - Claire Chehade-James
February 2017 - Christopher Curcuruto
August 2016 - Elizabeth Smalley
July 2016 - Charlotte Merz
June 2016 - Sarah Ampil
May 2016 - Nicholas Tolputt
April 2016 - Rebecca Moret
March 2016 - Bree Meara-Hendy
December 2015 - Sarah Wang