Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme

Helping emerging singers make the transition to professional performance careers

The Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme has been created to honour the memory of one of Australia’s most lauded conductors, Maestro Richard Divall, supported by a generous bequest made by Melbourne born international soprano, Sylvia Fisher. Upon her death, Sylvia Fisher made this bequest to ensure the continuing support of the development new artists of operatic excellence in her hometown, Melbourne. Before Maestro Divall’s death in early 2017, he was closely involved in the planning and creation of this program in collaboration with Melbourne Opera.

Managed by a committee of professional opera artists through Melbourne Opera, The Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme aims to develop singers of great potential to a performance-ready standard. It will focus on providing opportunities for emerging opera singers to experience the pressure of intensive role preparation, rehearsal and performance in a professional setting whilst continuing artistic development with tailored high quality coaching, workshops, master classes and mentoring. Applications for 2020-2021 intake will open in March 2020.



German Exchange Scholarship

The Richard Divall Programme in association with Rotary Central Melbourne through the New Generations Service Exchange, Rotary International; offers an annual German scholarship  (July to September, with some flexibility)providing travel, accommodation and living expenses in Germany for three months allowing singers to pursue their own development interests in a supported environment. This is opportunity is exclusively open to current and past members of the Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme.  The 2020 recipient is baritone Stephen Marsh.

Applications for 2021 exchange are planned to open in November 2020.

Due to Rotary rules applicants must be under 30 years of age.



RDEAP Provides:

  • Financial assistance with artistic development expenses
  • Opportunities to perform and understudy main stage roles in a professional environment
  • High level coaching for roles being performed and understudied as well as general repertoire
  • Professional rehearsal conditions
  • Exclusive opportunities to participate in master classes with visiting artists, conductors and directors
  • Weekly language classes (Italian at IIC, German at Goethe Institute)
  • Specific instruction in role preparation, & stagecraft (16th street actors studio & guest professionals)
  • Professional practice instruction
  • Mentoring from senior colleagues
  • Performance opportunities

Application Process 2020


With the COVID-19 lockdown coming to an end, the Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme is cautiously moving ahead with its audition process. Not all programme related dates are being announced whilst we monitor the ongoing and fluid situation of this pandemic.

  • Stage One Applications reopen June 4, 2020.
  • Stage One Applications close July 10, 2020
  • Stage One outcomes will be emailed by July 27, 2020
  • Stage Two live auditions are planned for late August.  Date and details to be confirmed.

Note the program is flexible enough to accommodate successful candidate’s other work commitments (within reason). It is hoped the successful candidates will be able to commence the program immediately, in certain circumstances late commencement will be considered.


Applications are to be made only on the application form provided by the programme director. Please request an application form by email The form requires the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Voice type
  • Phone Number/s
  • Email address
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Biography (300 words maximum)
  • Outline of how you will benefit from the programme & career goals
    (350 words maximum)
  • Details of availability and any other programmes you are part of OR are applying for
  • Provision of two Youtube, Vimeo or audio recording links of you singing opera arias in original languages.

Candidates will be advised whether they will be proceeding to Stage Two, the live audition, via email on July 27, 2020.


Live auditions are planned to be held in Melbourne in late August.  The exact  date will be advised in July with Stage One outcomes.

Those selected for live audition will be required to have two (with an optional third) aria prepared and performed from memory. There will also be an interview as part of this audition.

Please note: no feedback will be given.



  • This is an open age programme
  • Singers selected for The Richard Divall Emerging Artist Programme must be full time residents of the state of Victoria throughout the program as it is intensive and runs throughout the whole year.
  • No relocation or interstate travel costs are provided.




    Programme Members

    2019-2020 – Louise Keast (soprano), Jane Magão (soprano), Shakira Dugan (mezzo soprano), Chloe Harris (mezzo soprano), Michael Dimovski (tenor), Louis Hurley (tenor), Darcy Carroll (baritone) and Associate Artists,  Rebecca Rashleigh (soprano)  and Stephen Marsh (baritone).

    2018-2019 – Rebecca Rashleigh (soprano), Alison McIntosh-Deszcz (soprano), Shakira Dugan (mezzo soprano), Michael Dimovski (tenor), Michael Lampard (baritone), Darcy Carroll (baritone)and Stephen Marsh (baritone).

    Programme Director

    Suzanne Chaundy

    Programme Committee

    Raymond Lawrence (Head of Music), Greg Hocking AM, Margaret Haggart, Geoffrey Harris and Roger Howell.



    The Richard Divall Emerging Artists are extremely grateful to their supporters: The Ian Potter Foundation, Friends Of Melbourne Opera, Allan Myers AC and Maria Myers AC and the Sylvia Fisher Fund.


    16th Street Actors Studio
    Italian Institute of Culture
    Goethe Institut Melbourne