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. Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship holder, mezzo-soprano Shakira Tsindos, was in charge, and took some exciting photos along the way!

For 2016, Shakira is the proud recipient of the Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship with the esteemed Melba Opera Trust and holds a position in Victorian Opera’s Developing Artist program.

Earlier this year, Shakira made her professional principal stage debut in Victorian Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammemoor in the role of Alisa, alongside soprano Jessica Pratt. Further roles with Victorian Opera include; Dorothée in Massenet’sCendrillon, Mum in Victorian Opera’s The Grumpiest Boy in the World, Ensemble in Victorian Opera’s ANZAC celebration Remembrance and most recently Ministrel inLaughter and Tears (featuring I Pagliacci).

Further performance highlights to date include; Carmen in Carmen in the Cavesperforming along side Australian tenor David Hobson, Snow White in Gordon Kerry’s Snow White and Other Grimm Tales, Consoler in Victorian Opera’s The Play of Herod, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

In February, Shakira made her Melbourne Symphony Orchestra debut as the soloist in Herrmann’s The Storm Cloud Cantata in Hitchcock and Herrmann, conducted by Benjamin Northey. Further concert highlights include: Soloist in Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, Ravel’s Shéhérazade, Lenthall’s Calls of War, Handel’s Messiahand solo recitals with Austral Salon.

“Hello and welcome to my social media take-over! My name is Shakira Tsindos and I am thrilled to guide you through this very exciting week that the Melba Scholars have in store. As the proud recipient of the Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship, this is my first year in the Melba Opera Trust program and it has been a joy to watch my fellow scholars develop throughout the year and thrive on the knowledge and wisdom of our Melba mentors.

This week will be no exception as we welcome back American director Chuck Hudson for a full week of intensive masterclasses and coachings on movement and acting. Our Artistic Advisor Sharolyn Kimmorley will facilitate a workshop on Italian recitative with regular mentor Teresa Desmarchelier and board member Kate Shelmerdine will host a discussion on Philanthropy. I’m really looking forward to navigating you through this week! Stay tuned!”

“The necessary attire for our daily warmups with Chuck Hudson

“We are right in the thick of it in the wonderful Opera Australia studios with stage director Chuck Hudson!”

“Come rain, hail or shine the show must go on! Day 2 of our week with Chuck Hudson at Opera Australia!”

“A singer’s best companion… A voice recorder! When a coach is throwing information at you left, right and centre it is helpful to listen back to your session to ensure you haven’t missed a crucial moment. Here is Zoe Drummond- Soprano in her session with Chuck singing Juliet.”

“Supporting the young artists of the future is imperative and Melba Opera Trust is one of our biggest supporters. Here with our scholars, MOT Director Kate Shelmerdine discussed all things philanthropic and how we can support ourselves for the future.”

“If there is anything that you CAN control in an audition it’s presentation… it’s also the perfect excuse to bring out my binder! Melba Opera Trust is helping us to connect to other artistic companies today by allowing us to sing for our supper 🍝 (figuratively speaking)”

“It’s all smiles and laughs on our fourth day of workshops when you all wear the same thing! Our Melba boys were clearly so excited this morning that they coordinated! Another day of physical movement in the studios today with Chuck Hudson.”

“It’s very exciting to see Chuck Hudson in full director mode as he coaches Michael Petruccelli – Tenor and Daniel Carison singing the duet from ‘The Barber of Seville’. This duet along with other arias and ensembles will be performed at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Monday 19th September!

This is a great example of how these sessions have ongoing performance benefits as we can apply many of these ideas and skills to all of our repertoire.”

“One of the things I love most about the Melba Opera Trust is their strong community of alumni, allowing us the opportunity to connect with past scholars who are currently kicking goals in Australia or overseas. Thank you to Samuel Sakker – Tenor, current principal at the Royal Opera House for taking the time to chat about the industry in London and offering such great advice! Pictured here with Samuel and fellow scholar Timothy Newton.”

“Today marks the end of our week with Chuck Hudson. The skills and tools that we can all take away from these advanced sessions are priceless as they can be applied to our arias and future roles! Thank you for your wisdom and guidance and we hope to see you back in Aussie land soon!”

“Today we are tackling the BEAST we like to call recitiative. Together with Sharolyn Kimmorley and Teresa Desmarchelier we are discussing the importance of text by working step by step through recitative by Handel and Rossini! As you can see there are many ways of indicating pronunciation and stress, and preparation is key!”

Michael Petruccelli – Tenor, Sharolyn Kimmorleyand I took advantage of our spare time yesterday to rehearse for our upcoming concert ‘More Than A Voice’ on Monday 19th September at the Melbourne Recital Centre. We will be joined by Daniel Carison and Timothy Newton to perform opera and art song favourites! Don’t miss it!”

“What a great way to conclude this intense week! Thank you to all of our mentors for your support and knowledge this week, not only in the rehearsal room but also over shared lunches! Here Timothy Newton and Nicholas Tolputt – Countertenor work through their recitatives with Sharolyn on the piano.

I hope you have enjoyed this insight into a week with the Melba Opera Trust scholars and I look forward to our next exciting block!”