A STAR IS BORN – FIONA JOPSON, HERALD SUN ARIA WINNER 2015
Where did life begin for you?
I grew up in the small town of Scone in NSW in the wine and horse region of the Hunter Valley, population 5000. I then moved to Melbourne to study at the Victorian College of the Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance.
When did you start singing?
As a kid I would sing with my brothers and sisters and then when I was 17 I started singing lessons. It was about that time my teacher asked me if I had thought about singing opera so I went off to see my first opera, and that was it. I was hooked. It was an OZ Opera production and the people who performed that day are people I now perform with, so in many ways, I’ve come full circle.
What inspired you to make singing your career?
I hadn’t really thought about singing as a career until my singing teacher said to me, you could do this. That’s when I started to take it seriously. I mean how cool is it to make money doing something you love. When I sing, I get to be another person in another time and sing glorious music that remarkable composers have written for us. It really hits the soul.
Tell me what it was like winning the Herald Sun Aria.
I started competing in my last year of university as a way to gain performance experience and in 2012 finally made it to the finals. Then last year I not only got to the finals, I won!!! I was so excited because it has given me this amazing opportunity and a scholarship that allows me to not only further my career but to pursue an international career. That’s a big goal for me.
What has winning meant to you?
Winning allowed me to give up my day job and to concentrate just on singing, which means I’ve come along in leaps and bounds in terms of my voice and my technique. It’s also allowed me to get acting support, because that’s such a big part of your performance.
What are you up to now?
I’m currently in Perth singing the part of Ariadne in Ariadne Auf Naxos by Richard Strauss with a small company called Opera Box. I also completed a master class with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and what that experience taught me is you never stop learning. Everyday is about refining what you do, from how you interpret a piece, how to perform and how to breathe, and thats the great part about it.
What is your fondest memory of South Street?
My fellow competitors. Everyone is just so happy to be there, and we are all so supportive of eachother. South Street is such a great platform for performers, whether it’s debating, or singing or calisthenics. It gives them a chance to refine their skills and gain experience to help them with their chosen career. For opera singers, its wonderful and if you win, you have the chance to go overseas and immerse yourself not just in opera but the language it is sung in. Most importantly, it allows people to get up there and have a go but it takes a lot of guts to get up on stage and sing, speak or dance.
What’s next for you?
In October, I will be travelling to Berlin, London and Vienna to work with coaches at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and Wiener Staatsoper, while also auditioning and taking in a much as possible at some of the world’s finest opera houses.