Xenia Puskarz Thomas, a 21-year old lyric mezzo-soprano from Queensland, has won the 2018 Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship. Presented by The Opera Foundation for young Australians, the prize, worth $43,000, will allow her to study in New York with internationally acclaimed vocal, language and movement coaches.

Xenia Puskarz Thomas. Photograph © David Otott

Four singers competed in the Finals Concert at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Sunday October 21. Competing alongside Thomas were bass-baritone Jeremy Kleeman, soprano Jessica Harper and soprano Alexandra Flood. They were accompanied by Sharolyn Kimmorley AM, with Guy Noble hosting the event.

The Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship was initiated in 1963. Since then over 53 young Australian opera singers have had the chance to further their study in New York, among them Samuel Dundas (2013), Anna Dowsley (2012), Natalie Aroyan (2008) and Alexander Lewis (2006). Lewis, who recently performed in The Nose and The Merry Widowfor Opera Australia, and who will play Tony in West Side Story for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in 2019, performed as the guest artist at this year’s Finals Concert.

Thomas is currently completing a Bachelor of Music (Hons) at the Queensland...

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