Every year we select a group of the most outstanding young opera singers and repetiteurs who have the ability and drive to succeed. Over the course of a year, each scholar benefits from an individually tailored program to help them get the very best out of themselves.

A scholarship with Melba Opera Trust includes a cash component to underwrite an intensive development program, participation in our Mentor Program and representation through the Performance Program.

By offering the following 3 levels of support, Melba Opera Trust encourages a rounded development program with a focus on excellence and a view to developing polished young professionals who will stand out in a competitive industry.


Scholarship funds are used to underwrite an individual development program for the recipient. The scholar works with our expert panel and General Manager to create a balanced, intensive training program for the year, which is appropriate for their current stage of development. The needs of the scholar drive their program.

To deliver the individual programs, we call on coaches who work with the country’s top opera companies and educational providers, as well as international experts visiting Australia.

Each program must include a balance of:

  • Vocal or Repetiteur Development
  • Intensive Language Coaching
  • Stagecraft and Movement
  • Professional Development

Scholarship funding can be used towards the cost of a postgraduate program at an approved institution, as long as the program fits within our development program criteria and can demonstrate training in each of the four areas listed above.

The financial support means that recipients are able to participate in more frequent and intense coaching, resulting in significant improvements.

Whilst on scholarship with us, each recipient will meet with the panel chair regularly to ensure that they are benefiting from their development program.

“Melba Opera Trust’s program has provided me with the means to continue my singing lessons, vocal coaching’s, a variety of training in movement and acting, and to continue my studies in German, Italian, and French languages. All of these, in addition to the invaluable Mentor Program, are helping me develop the practical skills and resources I need to thrive as a young singer” – Emily Edmonds, holder of the Dame Nellie Melba Scholarship in 2013.

“I owe so much of where I am today to Melba Opera Trust and I take comfort knowing that I have an entire Melba family to call upon wherever I am in the world” – Lauren Fagan, scholarship holder, 2012


“The mentor program is going from strength to strength. The Graham Pushee seminar was particularly helpful, as it was a reminder of the end goal – maintaining a career in the industry. His real-life anecdotes were realistic and inspiring.” – Siobhan Stagg, Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholarship holder 2010 and 2011

Our Mentor Program seeks to equip scholars with practical skills to complement their musical development and focuses on providing tools that can be immediately applied by them. Its aim is to develop young professionals who have a competitive advantage over other young singers.

Throughout the year we provide workshops, seminars, master classes and individual consultations conducted by a variety of industry experts, over a range of disciplines. Sessions incorporate national and international experts to promote a global understanding of the industry. After presenting a session in the program, presenters continue their relationship with the scholars in a mentoring capacity.

The Mentor Program helps our scholars to establish their own networks and a support base to assist them along their journey. It also provides realistic insight into the industry, the ‘business side’ of the profession, a snapshot of what to expect in Australia and overseas, and a sense of what it takes to succeed.

Participation in the Mentor Program is included in a singer’s scholarship. Alumni are also invited to attend to aid their ongoing development.

  • Accounting and Law for Freelance Artists
  • Networking
  • Personal Presentation: Hair and Makeup/Working with a Stylist
  • Preparing an Effective Performance Biography
  • Audition Preparation
  • Self-Promotion
  • Public Speaking
  • Preparing for an Agent
  • Time Management Strategies
  • Vocal Health
  • Working with the Media
  • Proposal and Grant Writing
  • Negotiation Techniques
  • Understanding the Recording Process


The best way to learn to be a performer is to regularly perform! Through our Performance Program, we source a range of performance experiences for our singers from recitals to small operas, private dinner parties, recordings and church music.

These opportunities help our singers to become more versatile, develop confidence in their performance and gives them a taste of life as a freelance artist.

Our recipients are paid a fee for these performances, so not only does it help them put what they are learning into practice, but it provides a modest level of professional income for them. It also gives the singers greater public exposure and helps to raise their profile as young professional artists.

“One of the greatest benefits has been the sheer amount of performance opportunities we have been given. Through the many Melba Artists performances made possible by Melba Opera Trust, I gained a great deal of experience performing at a wide range of venues to a wide range of people. After so many performances in this short space of time I have lost nearly all performance anxiety as well as improving the quality of my performing.” – Janet Todd, scholarship holder in 2010 and 2011

Book our artists for your next function