Alumna Morgan Balfour has spent the past nine months in San Francisco studying at the Conservatory of Music. Morgan will join Daniel Carison and Matthew Reardon in Nights at the Opera on the 18th of July at Melbourne Recital Centre.

Morgan, we’re looking forward to hearing you in Nights at the Opera. How does it feel to be returning to ‘the Melba’?

Especially after being away from home for the past nine months I am absolutely thrilled to return as an alumna. The entire Melba community has been so supportive of my musical endeavours – none more so than the ever-effervescent Mary-Jane Joscelyne – and having an evening to perform and say ‘hello’ to everyone will be really special. I’m looking forward to some beautiful music with wonderful people, and a lot of laughs – and maybe a few tears too or else I’ll feel like I haven’t done my job right…

How have you been spending your time since your time with Melba Opera Trust?

In September 2016, I started the first year of my Master’s Degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of César Ulloa. It’s been an amazing few months of learning and music-making. In December, I performed the lead role of the Governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw to a sold-out audience. Then in March I performed my first pants role as Meleagro in Handel’s Atalanta with a full Baroque Orchestra. The performance was reviewed, and critics very kindly said, “This semi-staged production of Atalanta offered a whimsical, light-hearted opera that provided a wonderful introductory vehicle for a singer to watch in soprano Morgan Balfour, who seemingly has a great future in store for her.” Also in March, I was awarded the Tony Cuevas Memorial Scholarship in the Henry and Maria Holt Singing Competition. New Zealand composition student David Taylor and I teamed up for the Conservatory’s 7th Biennial Art Song Composition Competition. David composed a piece specifically for me called ‘The Storm’. It was my first time premiering a piece of music, and we were both overwhelmed when the song won first prize. The accompanist was fellow Australian Peter Grunberg, so it was wonderful to show the Americans what we Southern Hemisphere folk can do.

Where else can we see you while you are in Australia?

In May I return to Australia during the school break for a series of performances. I will first be performing the role of Céphise in Pinchgut Opera’s production of Rameau’s Pigmalion, followed shortly afterwards by performances of the three soprano roles in Handel’s Solomon with Leichhardt Espresso Chorus at St James’ Church in Sydney. After the Nights at the Opera concert, I’ll be returning to Sydney to perform a Cherubini Mass with the Sydney University Graduate Choir and Orchestra, and finally the soprano solo in Sydney Philharmonia’s ‘Tudor Portraits’ Concert. After all this I’ll fly back to San Francisco to start my second year of studies (a week after classes begin!).

Nights at the Opera at Melbourne Recital Centre will take place on Tuesday 18 July at 6pm. For details and bookings, click here.