FEBRUARY 2018 YOUNG ARTIST
Sophie Salvesani | soprano
Recently graduating from a Bachelor of Education with Distinction, Sophie made her stage debut in a production of West Side Storyin the role of Consuelo, whilst understudying Maria. She has since gone on to perform the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, and was involved in Puccini’s La Bohème with Opera Queensland.
Sophie has also appeared as a soloist for The Legend Was Created, Songs that Won the War, Live at the Courthouse and the 2016 Ipswich Carols by Candlelight. Most recent stage roles include Pearly Blossom in The Spring Heeled Terror of Stepney Green, as well as Cosette in Les Misérables. Sophie received praise from critics for her part in the duet A Heart Full of Love, for giving “the number the nuance and lift it needed to deliver”.
Sophie now looks forward to performing the role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre.
1. What have you been up to lately, performance-wise, and what's coming up?
Just last year I was blessed with the opportunity to play Cosette under the direction of Chris Bradtke in the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company’s production of Les Misérables. During this time I also stepped out of my comfort zone, taking on the role of Pearly Blossom in my first play, The Spring Heeled Terror of Stepney Green.
As well as preparing for the commencement of Pacific Opera’s program, I am currently immersed in rehearsals for a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. It was simply enough to be able to play Mabel in the marvellous Empire Theatre, but to be sharing the stage with Michael Cormick has me bursting with excitement.
2. Who is your favourite singer, and why?
My favourite female operatic singer would have to be Kathleen Battle. She always seems to be my go-to for musical inspiration or in instances where I simply need a moment to clear my thoughts. I cannot resist her beautiful vocal tone and her seemingly effortless ability to maintain it during challenging coloratura roles, something of which I aspire to.
An operatic singer much closer to my heart is Mario Lanza. It was only at the commencement of my classical singing journey (age 16) that I discovered my grandfather had a love for opera and a voice to go with it. So with this knowledge came the voice of Mario and my undying connection, as I sadly never had the chance to meet my grandfather.
3. What show has impacted you the most as an audience member?
The first opera I ever saw undoubtedly had the biggest impact on me. It can be argued that I plunged straight in with Opera Queensland’s 2010 production of Aida, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. From the beginning I was entranced by the magnificence of the set and then further by the dancers in the river (an actual river) on stage. But when Zara Barrett started singing, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. That was the moment I decided I wanted a chance to do just that.
4. What experiences do you think have shaped you the most as a performer?
As a performer I have three guiding principles: empathy, initiative and self-knowledge. In my early high school years I involved myself in backstage crew duties and from this developed empathy towards those who work tirelessly in the background. During my first theatre productions, the actions of the creatives around me highlighted the importance of taking initiative by going beyond expectations. Lastly, being a teacher has taught me the importance of knowing myself in order to deliver the best performance I can.
My favourite aria definitely has to be Ambroise Thomas’ Je suis Titania from Mignon. Just one year into my classical singing journey, my teacher presented this aria to me. Just having conquered Poor Wandering One from Pirates of Penzance, it is understandable why I paled at the sight of it. After shedding many tears and facing defeat, I persevered and now look for as many opportunities as I can to perform it.
November 2017 - Bree Meara-Hendy
October 2017 - Livia Brash
September 2017 - Daniela Leska
August 2017 - Emily Turner
July 2017 - Barbara Jin
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