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


The live auditions for the Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme will be postponed until the current restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted.

Given the stresses people are facing in this unprecedented situation, we will also immediately close Stage One applications and reopen these once the situation has passed.

For those who have already made applications, you will not need to reapply once all is back on track, unless you would like to update any aspect of your application.

All who have requested application forms will be notified by email once the audition process re-opens.  It will also be advertised on the Melbourne Opera Website, YAP tracker, social media and the usual platforms.


    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