Soprano, who famously sang the Queen of the Night on horseback, receives the Order of Australia.

Merlyn Quaife, the plucky soprano renowned for her unconventional career choices, has ben recognised in the Queen’s birthday honors for her services to music. The Opera Australia favourite left viewers agog on Lipizzaners with the Stars, when she combined her love of music with her passion for horses by she singing the fiendishly difficult Queen of the Night’s aria while riding.

A performer of considerable versatility, Quaife, whose voice shows no sign of wear and tear at sixty, has performed in opera, oratorio, lieder and chamber music to acclaim throughout Australia and Europe. “I have enjoyed the most interesting and varied career, surfing my way though buckets of varied repertoire and loving it all”, she writes on her website. Her enthusiasm for contemporary music in particular is undimmed having embraced new works from John Adams to Gordon Kerry. She was a notable in Brett Dean’s Blissfor Opera Australia in 2010. “My favourite piece is always what I am currently doing”, she says. “Singing is my life blood – I hope to sing forever!”

Education has also been an important part of her career...

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