The mentor program is a huge part of the training offered at the Melba Opera Trust, offering scholars the opportunity to work with masters from a range of backgrounds and specialties. Though every mentor block differs in content, each one allows the scholars to be coached on the music they are working on, and also teaches new skills outside of the realm of music: business, marketing, hair and makeup, styling.

This block, we’re taking you behind the scenes. Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholarship recipient, mezzo-soprano Bronwyn Douglass, was in charge, and took some exciting photos along the way!

Bronwyn is the current recipient of the Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholarship with the Melba Opera Trust.

She graduated with a Masters in Operatic Performance from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in 2014, also receiving an award for academic excellence and the Wagner Society in Queensland Encouragement Award. She attended the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School from 2013-2015 and the Mediterranean Opera Summer Program held in Caltagirone, Sicily in 2014.

Bronwyn has received many awards, grants and scholarships. In 2016 alone she was awarded the 3rd place DECCA Award in the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award, 2nd place in the Opera and Arts Support Group Vocal Scholarship and was a finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship and the Herald Sun Aria. In 2015 she was the winner of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria and the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition. Bronwyn has performed the roles of Olga in Eugene Onegin for Co-Opera (2016), Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for Opera Projects, Sydney (2016), Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata for Opera New England (2016); Nadezhda von Meck in Sean Ross’ new opera Tchaikovsky, Angel of Music (2015), Miss Baggot in Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (2015); and Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas for the Brisbane Baroque Festival (2015).

“Good morning! I’m Bronwyn the returning Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholar and I am so excited to be doing the media takeover for the first block of the year! First up this morning we have the introduction session to meet all the new Melbas and then we get right into it with an improvisation class with Jenny Lovell after lunch! I look forward to sharing some behind the scenes photos and stories with you throughout this jam packed week!”

“The team is all here! It’s been great seeing old friends and making new ones today”

What an awesome day! We had a wonderful start to block one reuniting with old friends and making new ones! Pictured here with my ‘stage husband’ Samuel Piper. Sam and I played the Forester and the Foresters Wife in Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” at the Queensland Conservatorium in 2014. The day was finished off with a beautiful welcome dinner hosted by the Chair of Melba Opera Trust, Roz Zalewski-Ruskin.”

“Oggi studiamo Italiano! (Today we study Italian!) Here is the brilliant Teresa Desmarchelier in action in our Italian grammar and conversation class. Everyone is looking very serious with their thinking caps firmly in place!”

“First up we had a Melba Artists rehearsal with the amazing Sharolyn Kimmorley working on some ensemble works for performance this year. There are some particularly fun/hilarious pieces by Offenbach and J. Strauss! I can’t wait for the Meet the Scholars Concerts!!!”

“A very important session this morning on Time Management with Nicky McCartney. It’s always good to learn new skills when it comes to trying to juggle a (hopefully) very busy schedule!!!”

“Mirror mirror on the wall… how do I use this hair curler?? A very useful Makeup and hair class this morning at AB Pro Lab with Antoinette Bekos.”

“Just had a wonderful wellness and time management session with Nicky McCartney. On my way home I came across these beauties! It’s always nice when you have time to stop and smell the roses! ☺🌹🎶”

“We were feeling glam after our make up and hair class at A.B. PRO LAB yesterday!”

“Party bus!!! We are all very excited for our trip out to The Melba Estate and Coombe Cottage today to explore Nellie Melba’s home. First stop is the Lilydale Cemetery to visit Melba’s memorial and learn a bit about her heritage.”

“”Addio senza rancor” (Farewell without bitterness). The scholars in the presence of the Diva herself at Melba’s memorial in Lilydale Cemetary.”

“Arriving at the beautiful Coombe!”

“A quick relax by the pool before rehearsals start!”

“Rehearsing a beautiful trio with fellow scholars Zoe Drummond, Daniel Carison and Jonathan Wilson in Dame Nellie Melba’s own music room!”

“And just like that the first block is done! We had an incredible last day doing a trip out to Dame Nellie Melba’s home Coombe Cottage. I have so many glorious photos but I love this one especially. Melba created an absolute oasis at Coombe. It is a truly special place and it was my honor and privilege to visit again this year and perform in the home of such an incredible woman. I can only hope some of her brilliance rubbed off on me in the process!”