Melbourne Opera has announced the six singers who will take part in the inaugural Richard Divall Emerging Artists Program in 2018. Named in memory of the late Australian conductor, composer and scholar, the program is supported by a bequest made by Melbourne-born soprano Sylvia Fisher. The program has been developed to support artists at different stages of their careers and is open to those of all ages, with a particular focus on performance readiness.

The singers selected for this year’s program are soprano Alison McIntosh-Deszcz, mezzo-soprano Shakira Dugan, tenor Michael Dimovski, baritone Michael Lampard, baritone Stephen Marsh and bass-baritone Darcy Carroll.

During their time in the program, the singers will attend workshops rooted in musical, linguistic and dramatic role preparation, and will collaborate with a number of Melbourne-based institutions including the 16th Street Actors Studio and the Italian Institute of Culture. The singers will also receive performance and cover opportunities in Melbourne Opera productions, as well as have access to masterclasses with special artists.

The program is managed and coordinated by noted opera director Suzanne Chaundy, Melbourne Opera’s Artistic Director Greg Hocking, MO’s Head of Music Raymond Lawrence, as well as singers Margaret Haggart, Geoffrey Harris and Roger Howell.

Richard Divall was closely involved in the development of the Emerging Artists Program before his death in 2017.