Young Artists, 2022

Matthew Avery, Baritone

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Recipient of the Pacific Opera Growth Scholarship

At 19, Baritone Matthew Avery was chosen by the internationally acclaimed organisation, The Young Americans, for their college training program. He graduated with Honors and tours with them throughout USA and Europe. 


Most recent operatic performances  for Pacific Opera include Don Alfonso (Cosi Fan Tutte), Rocco (Fidelio), Collatinus  (Rape of Lucrecia), Marquis/Baron/Doctor (La Traviata) and 2nd Armed Man (Die Zauberflote). Recent concert performances include Bass Solo for Holy Dreaming by Alice Chance with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra as well as Flower Gala and Last Night of the Proms with WSO. 


Matthew is honoured to be continuing as an Associate Artist with Pacific Opera next year as he completes his degree in Information and Technology. His upcoming operatic performances include Madama Butterfly, Albert Herring and L’Elisir D’Amore. 


Next year’s concerts include  “Warm As the Autumn Light” with John Martin as well as performances with Kirralee Hillier in their wonderful “Colours of the Heart” program.


Matthew is currently studying voice with Donna Balson. 

Oscar Balle-Bowness, Tenor

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Recipient of the Susan Doyle Scholarship

Oscar studied a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has performed as the tenor soloist in Saint-Saëns’, Oratorio de Noël with The Illawarra Choral Society, and has sung the role of Bastien in a production of Mozart’s, Bastien und Bastienne. Oscar performed the role of Adam in The Vagabond: Art Song for Kids, which premiered at the Sydney Fringe Festival and toured Sydney Primary Schools.


Alongside his performing, Oscar has worked as the Musical Director for a production of Grease in the Seymour Centre and Meet Me In St. Louis in the New Theatre.

Elizabeth Cooper, Soprano

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Recipient of the Justice Kunc and Felicity Rourke Scholarship

Elizabeth Cooper is a Sydney based Soprano who loves nothing more than singing on stage and bringing people together through music. Fresh out of her Master of Music Studies (Operatic Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Elizabeth has recently performed the role of Helena in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Dorothée in a filmed production of Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon.


Other stage credits include the roles of Erste Dame and Erste Knabe for Lyric Opera Studio Weimar’s 2019 production of Die Zauberflöte as well as Zweite Dame and Zweite Knabe in Pacific Opera’s 2020 and planned 2021 performances. 

Sarah Dockrill, Soprano

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Recipient of the Pacific Opera Growth Scholarship

Soprano Sarah Dockrill is a Novacastrian Opera Singer based in Sydney. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of New South Wales and AmusA from the AMEB and is currently under the tutelage of Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Humble. Sarah currently receives coaching from Sharolyn Kimmorley AM and language coaching from Teresa Desmarchelier. 

In 2021, Sarah was awarded with the Damian Whitely Award for any Singer at the Sydney Eisteddfod as well as progressing through to the Semi-finals of the Open Aria Championship. Earlier in the year, Sarah also received the Smile scholarship award at Taree Eisteddfod after winning both the Lieder and Operetta sections. 

Nicholas Geddes, Baritone

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Recipient of the Lorraine Copley Scholarship 

Nick is a Sydney based musical theatre/opera singer, with a diploma in music theatre who’s happy place is sharing good food with others. Nick has had the privilege of playing some incredible roles such as: Papageno in The Magic Flute, Tarquinius in the Rape of Lucretia, Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte, and originating the role of Kale, in Chop Chef, a newly premiered Australian Opera.


He has also sung with the State Opera of South Australia, in Boojum!, for which he was featured ensemble. Nick has his singing lessons under the watchful eye of Peter Coleman Wright AO. 

Kirralee Hillier, Soprano

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Recipient of the Chang Family Scholarship

Kirralee Hillier is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium Music where she completed her Bachelor Music Performance (Classical Voice) under Dr Narelle Yeo. Her opera credits include Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and Jessie in Kurt Weil’s Mahagonny Songspiel. Kirralee has also had the honour of playing the roles of Yum-Yum in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, Anna Gomez in Menotti’s The Consul and Cunagonde in a concert version of Bernstein’s Candide. She is very much looking forward to 2022, especially having the honour to perform the role of Cio-Cio-san (Madame Butterfly) in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

Andrew Knight, Baritone

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Recipient of the Lorraine Copley Scholarship

Australian-Malaysian Baritone, Andrew Taylor Knight is an up-and-coming performer studying his Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has trained under the tutelage of Maree Ryan AM and Simon Lobelson since he first moved to Sydney in 2017 to pursue his bachelor’s degree.


Raised in the New England Region of New South Wales, Andrew thrived in the excellent performing arts program at The Armidale School. In his time there he was offered both the Jim Graham Scholarship for Performing Arts and Honors in Music, and later offered the Opera Australia Regional Scholarship.


Since moving to Sydney, Andrew was the recipient of the Patricia Bell Grant Scholarship, The John Holt Todd and Florence Todd Scholarship, St. Andrew’s College Vocal Scholarship and Country Education Fund Scholarship.


With recent success in his professional chorus debut with Pinchgut Opera, Andrew hopes to add to his experience in Pacific Opera’s Young Artist Program.

Angus Ledgerwood, Baritone

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Recipient of the Ian McGaw Scholarship

Angus Ledgerwood is a baritone working in Sydney. He graduated from The Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2021. While his operatic career is still in its beginnings, he has a background and appreciation of German, French and English art song.


A longer history of playing the alto saxophone has given him an ability to view repertoire from a different point of view. 

Ellen McNeil, Soprano

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Recipient of the Jane Mathews AO Scholarship (generously provided by the Wagner Society NSW)

Ellen has a Master of Music Studies (Opera Performance) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, having studied with Dr Rowena Cowley. She was awarded several scholarships to support her undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Ellen’s roles have included the title role in Cendrillon, Serpetta in La finta giardiniera, Zweite Dame and Zweiter Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, and Le Rossignol in L'enfant et les sortilèges. She is also an experienced musical and theatre performer having appeared as Anna Leonowens in The King and I, Natalia in I am a Camera, Viola in Twelfth Night, andTzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. 

Rachel Mink, Soprano

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Recipient of the Nancy Milne OAM Scholarship

Rachel Mink, soprano, is a Pacific Opera Young Artist and ensemble member of Luminescence, Canberra’s vocal consort. Highlights of Rachel’s operatic credits include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, Marzelline in Fidelio, Émilie in Kaija Saariaho’s Émilie, Colin in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s opera Le Devin du Village, Belinda and the First Witch in Dido and Aeneas, and Zirphile (cover) in the American premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Sympathy with Victory Hall Opera.

In masterclasses, she has worked with Renée Fleming, Karita Mattila, Danielle Talamantes, and Rachelle Fleming.


Originally hailing from the USA, Rachel studied vocal performance and musicology at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland and earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in music and arts administration. She works as a fundraising professional for Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Boulanger Initiative, a non-profit committed to promoting music composed by women. 

Rebecca O'Hanlon, Mezzo-Soprano

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Recipient of the Paul Bateman OAM Memorial Scholarship

Rebecca O’Hanlon, Mezzo Soprano, has completed her Bachelor of Music Performance in Classical

Voice at the Sydney Conservatorium, studying under Dr. Narelle Yeo. A graduate of the Conservatorium High School, Rebecca was the soprano soloist for the Conservatorium of Music Centenary Concert in 2015. In 2018, Rebecca had the honour to perform the Mezzo Soprano solo from Prokofiev’s work ‘Alexander Nevsky’ with the Conservatorium Orchestra and Choirs in Verbrugghen Hall under Maestro Eduardo Diazmuñoz.

Rebecca was a Young artist with Pacific Opera during 2020 performing the role of Cenerentola (Rossini)

as part of the Young Artists Program. In 2021, she continued in the program, studying the role of ‘Lucretia’ from Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. Rebecca will be a Young Artist with Pacific Opera again in 2022, studying the roles of ‘Florence Pike’ from Britten’s Albert Herring, and ‘La zia principessa’ from Puccini’s Suor Angelica among others. As a part of the program, she was awarded the Paul Bateman OAM Memorial Scholarship to assist with role learning and artistic growth.