Eleven young singers have been selected as semi finalists in this year’s prestigious IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition. They will each perform two items in the hope of progressing to the final, which will be held in September at The Concourse, Chatswood where they will be accompanied by the Opera Australia Orchestra. Five singers will be chosen as finalists with a chance at winning the $30,000 Marianne Mathy Scholarship, as well as other valuable prizes.

IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition semi finalists

This year’s semi finalists are soprano Bianca Bacchiella (QLD), baritone Matthew Dixon (WA), soprano Josi Ann Ellem (NSW), mezzo Stella Hannock (NSW), mezzo Rebecca Hart (NSW), soprano Clare Hood (NZ), tenor Louis Hurley (VIC), soprano Chloe Lankshear (NSW), tenor Manase Latu (NZ), bass Henry Pinder (QLD) and bass-baritone Samson Setu (NZ). Each singer will be partnered by accompanist and vocal coach David Harper.

One of the longest-running events of its kind, the ASC offers a lucrative suite of scholarships, prizes and professional development opportunities that come close to totalling $200,00. Open to those under the age of 26 from Australia or New Zealand, competition winners in previous years include the likes of Stuart Skelton, Amelia Farrugia, Jessica Pratt and Anna Dowsley. Last year’s Mathy winner was soprano Zoe Drummond, who in addition to taking home the top prize – which includes an opportunity to audition for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s professional-artist development program, a portrait painting of the winner, a taped interview , and a statuette created – also received the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Prize, which will see her perform with the orchestra.

Initially known as the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, the ASC was renamed in 2014 to honour its patron Dr Haruhisa Handa.

The Semi Finals will be held at The Independent Theatre, North Sydney on August 11