Opera Panel

Angus Grant - Panel Chair

ANGUS GRANT is a graduate of Melbourne University and the VCA opera studio. He has performed with Opera Australia, Victorian Opera and Melbourne Opera. As a composer his opera, CONTACT!- a netball music drama, which he conducted, was commissioned by the Arts Centre Melbourne, toured regional Victoria and was nominated for three Green Room Awards. He is the director of Victorian Opera’s Youth Chorus Ensemble (VOYCE) where his work The Train Cantata was premiered he and conducted the company’s production of The Second Hurricane. He is heavily involved in Music education both in schools and through Victorian Opera’s education program.

Alan Barker

ALAN BARKER studied Mus. Bach. & Dip. Ed. Melbourne University Conservatorium and had a Lectureship in Opera School at the Con. for 2 years. He joined the Australasian tour of Offenbach's ORPHEUS and THE MERRY WIDOW, the Australian tour of NZ Opera"s PORGY & BESS; Mus. Dir. NZ Ballet: Acting Art.Dir. NZ Opera; Resident Conductor Australian Ballet; Princ. Cond. American Ballet Theatre; Mus. Dir. Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Scottish and Teresa Carreno (Venezuela) Ballets. Guest Conductor with Royal Swedish, Royal Danish, Gothenburg, Birmingham and Covent Garden Royal Ballets. Japan tours with Royal Swedish and ABT; also guest conductor New National Theatre Ballet and Noriko Kobayashi Ballets, (4 productions) in Tokyo.

Simon Bruckard

SIMON BRUCKARD is an active part of the opera industry in Melbourne, working as a sought-after repetiteur, conductor and vocal-coach. He completed his Master of Music in Opera Performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music while a young artist at Victorian Opera, for whom he has conducted The Pied Piper, The Grumpiest Boy in the World and Remembrance. He will return to Victorian Opera in 2018 to conduct Hansel and Gretel as well as conduct Les Mamelles Des Tiresias for Lyric Opera. Simon was a recipient of the 2016 Melba Opera Trust Margaret Schofield scholarship for repetiteurs.

Margaret Haggart

MARGARET HAGGART has been a professional Opera Singer since 1972, singing teacher since 1976. Studied in Melb with Antonio Moretti-Pananti. Won Sydney Sun Aria 1970, moved to London. Debut with Welsh National Opera (UK), then joined English National Opera on full contract for 5 seasons, performing 9 major roles annually. Freelanced from 1978, with major U.K. companies, BBC Radio & TV broadcasts, R Albert Hall Prom Concerts & various Festivals. Returned to Melb 1984 & has sung with all Australian Companies & major Festivals, ABC TV & Radio, Opera in the Domain, & most Symphony Orchestras. Her Rep of more than 90 major roles includes the title roles of Madama Butterfly, Katya Khabanova, Lucrezia Borgia, the Merry Widow, La Traviata, & Turandot. She has sung many Mozart heroines & is known for the Queen of the Night; performances include 25 Orchestral & Choral works, & World Premieres of works by the Australian Composers: Michael Bertram, Barry Conyngham, Michael Easton, Paul Grabowski, Alan John, & Graeme Koehne. Margaret has performed in Chile, France, Italy, N Zealand, Singapore & USA.

Liane Keegan

LIANE KEEGAN received scholarships from the Opera Foundation Australia, Shell Royal Covent Garden Scholarship which enabled her to study at the National Opera Studio London. She attended the AIMS summer School in Graz Austria on the Opera Australia Foundation Scholarship and in 1997, she won a Bayreuth Bursary from the Wagner Society of Great Britain. Liane came to the attention of both critics and public alike with roles including Azucena Il Trovatore for Opera of South Australia and Ulrica Un Ballo in Maschera for Opera Australia, conducted by Simone Young. Concert appearances have included Mozart Requiem with Sir Neville Mariner and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Barbara in the British Premier of Korngold’s Violanta at the1997 BBC Proms conducted by Paul Daniels. Since returning to Australia permanently in 2012, Liane has appeared with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/BBC UK in The last night of the Proms singing Elgar’s Sea Pictures conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and as Albine in Thais by Massenet and as the Alto Soloist in Beethoven 9th symphony. Liane appears as Erda, 1st Norn and Waltraute Die Walkure on the 2004 Melba Records recording of the first Australian Ring Cycle conducted by Asher Fisch.

Kerry Murphy

KERRY MURPHY is head of musicology at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne. Her research interests focus chiefly on 19th-century French music and music criticism and colonial Australian music history and she has published widely in these areas. For over twenty years she has taught historical opera studies at the Melbourne Conservatorium and she is a passionate lover of opera..

Christina Smith

CHRISTINA SMITH has worked extensively as a set and costume designer for live performance over the last 20 years. She graduated from WAAPA’s design course in 1995 and has since designed for a vast array of companies including Victorian Opera, New Zealand Opera, Seattle Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Playbox, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, The Production Company, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Red Stitch, WA Ballet and Australian Ballet. She has contributed to numerous installations including the Tim Burton exhibition at ACMI, 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing ceremonies as part of the design team and Circa Theatrette at the Australian National Museum. She is currently a mentor for the Women In Theatre program at MTC, and is a regular lecturer in design for VCA and NIDA Open.

Fiona Dearing


Dermot Tutty