Melba Opera Trust was established in 2008 to provide scholarships to develop Australia’s most promising young opera singers and repetiteurs.

With the closure of Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music at the end of 2008, Melba Opera Trust carries forward Dame Nellie Melba’s bequest and her final wish that her gift establish a scholarship “…so that another Melba may arise”.

We ensure that young Australian opera singers and repetiteurs with exceptional promise are supported financially during a crucial phase of their development, namely postgraduate training as the bridge to becoming polished professionals on the opera world stage.


Our scholarships help singers to develop essential skills which enable them to become well-rounded operatic artists. Funding underwrites individually tailored Artistic Development scholarships and two complimentary activities: the Mentor Program and the Performance Program:

  • Our Artistic Development scholarships provide funding to undertake intensive, specialised and expert training tailored to the individual needs of our scholars.
  • Our Mentor Program facilitates workshops and seminars with industry experts across a range of discipline including finance, personal brand, etiquette and public speaking.
  • We create performance opportunities through our Performance Program so our singers can put what they are learning into practice.

By offering these three levels of support, Melba Opera Trust applies a comprehensive approach to operatic development with a focus on excellence and developing polished young professionals.

Dame Nellie Melba


Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861 –1931) was Australia’s first world-famous opera singer, and one of the greatest celebrities of her day. Born in Richmond, Melbourne, she moved to Paris and went on to enjoy an enormously successful career as a prima donna in Australia, England, Europe and the United States during the early 20th century.

When she died, Melba bequeathed a generous amount of money dedicated to the development of young opera singers “so that another Melba may arise”. This unique and direct legacy from Melba is strengthened by the continued patronage of her late granddaughter Pamela, Lady Vestey which continues today through Melba’s great-great granddaughter, The Hon. Saffron Foster.

Melba’s gift established the Dame Nellie Melba Scholarship, which still exists today with Melba Opera Trust.

Melba was celebrated for her strength of character, her demand for excellence, her pioneering drive, patriotism, generosity, her holistic approach to vocal tuition, professionalism and business acumen. She taught at the Melba Conservatorium for many years and was especially fond of the institution. During her lifetime she supported young singers financially and took pride in giving them opportunities. She believed passionately that “a beautiful voice is not enough” and demanded that young singers learn about the presentation and business aspects of life as a professional singer. Melba Opera Trust seeks to encourage today’s young singers to develop a similar approach.

Melba was protective of her young singers and insisted that they should only sing appropriate repertoire for their stage of development, not taking on too much too soon. At Melba Opera Trust, we focus on the need for a young singer to mature at the right pace.

Melba Opera Trust is immensely proud of our genetic link to the great singer. The Trust is also the chief caretaker of her Memorial at Lilydale, Victoria – an enduring legacy.


Ms Roz Zalewski
Ms Roz ZalewskiChair
About Roz
Mrs Kate Shelmerdine
Mrs Kate ShelmerdineDeputy Chair
About Kate
Mr Dmitry Danilovich
Mr Dmitry DanilovichTreasurer
About Dmitry
Mr Chris Arnold
Mr Chris ArnoldDirector
About Chris
Ms Kris Neill
Ms Kris NeillDirector
About Kris
Mr Peter Reilly
Mr Peter ReillyDirector
About Peter


Amy Black
Amy BlackChief Executive Officer
About Amy
Olivia Giglia
Olivia GigliaDirector of Operations
About Olivia
Sharolyn Kimmorley AM
Sharolyn Kimmorley AMArtistic Manager & Scholar Advisor
About Sharolyn
Simon Suen
Simon SuenFinance Manager
About Simon
Bruce Raggatt
Bruce RaggattProgram Coordinator
About Bruce
Nina Rokvic
Nina RokvicAdministration Coordinator
About Nina


As a national program, we are proud to have representation from many Australian states in our program each year.

Our artists are typically tertiary music graduates who present with exceptional promise and are dedicated to further developing the artistry of their instruments.

Following a 2 round audition process, our artists are presented to the public early in the calendar year and are then engaged in our Vocal/Repetiteur Development, Mentor, and Performance Programs for the remainder of the year.

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A measure of success for Melba Opera Trust is found in the trajectories of the singers and repetiteurs upon completion of their scholarship.

A reputable alumni list includes artists establishing international careers, and engaged professionally with opera companies here in Australia.

Some recent successes of our alumni include places in young artists programs at Royal Opera House – Covent Garden, Guildhall School of Music – London, and Deutsche Oper – Berlin.

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Coming soon – a gallery of all recipients of the Melba Medal to date.

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The Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music ceased teaching in 2008 and transitioned to Melba Opera Trust.

Requests for academic transcripts

If you studied at the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music and require a copy of your academic transcript, please download the transcript request form and email it to us at Costs for this service are outlined in the document. Please note that transcripts prior to 1994 are not currently available.


The Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music was established as a private Conservatorium in 1901 after breaking away from the University of Melbourne, where it had been founded in 1895.

George William Marshall-Hall, its first proprietor, named the institution The Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne. It initially operated within the Victorian Artists’ Society Building in Albert Street, East Melbourne.

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