Ian completed a Master of Music in classical singing at the Australian Institute of Music in 2014. In 2017, Ian was an associate director for Pacific Opera’s young artist program. In 2018, Ian also interned with Opera Australia on their new production of “La Boheme”. He has been heavily involved with the independent opera company Operantics as a director, performer, designer and writer since the company’s inception in 2015. Productions for Operantics include: “Die Fledermaus,” by Strauss (2017), “La Sonnambula” by Bellini (2016), Sir Thomas Bertram in “Mansfield Park” by Jonathan Dove (2016) and Don Alfonso in “Cosi fan Tutte” by Mozart (2015).
Other credits include George in “Sunday in the Park with George” by Stephen Sondheim and Peter Flemming’s “Noli Me Tangere” in the ensemble and also co-ordinating the wardrobe. Ian has also worked in collaboration with writer, director, and actor Michael Becker. Their productions include “Caught Between the Sheets and Stage Lights” for the Sydney Fringe (2017), “How to change the world and make bank doing it” (2018, 2019), “The Spoils” by Jesse Eisenberg (2020) and “Inner Weather” (2020). Ian currently studies classical singing under renowned mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble.
From what age did you know of your great interest in Opera singing/performance.
I don’t remember my exact age when I developed an interest in opera, unfortunately. I remember the first opera I went to, and that would have been in my early teens. It was a production of Puccini’s “Tosca” with Opera Australia. I didn’t know a thing about the plot, the music, or what I was in for that evening, but it carried me away on a torrent of emotion. It was an incredible performance for someone who hadn’t been initiated. I remember mentioning to one of my music teachers in Highschool that I was going to the opera, and at the mention of the title he played the overture for me on the piano, these stirring chords that throw the audience right into the action of the story. I’ve always been interested in the theatre, singing, and dressing up because I was an extroverted child I had been involved in school choirs, amateur theatre productions, but when I heard the power of these voices, their beauty, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. Sing like them! It was lucky for me that I did have a beautiful singing voice, particularly as a boy.
Are there any song collaborations that you have been involved in Australia and or overseas?
I’ve been involved with lots of classical music concerts around Sydney, not too much original music. Most recently, a Russian concert featuring the music of Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky for a colleague’s doctorate research. Most significantly, I’ve done many concerts with the little opera company I was a founding member of, Operantics.
Of the work you listed above, which one would you consider your favourite or the best one you have undertaken that is closest to your heart so far?
That’s a tough question. Each performance is unique and different and you remember particular shows for different reasons. I’ve enjoyed all of the operas I’ve been involved with, particularly the ones I also directed and designed. Performing in concerts is something I’m a little rusty on and need to keep doing more to feel more comfortable in a concert setting. For me, it can feel like a strange setting; however, it can be an incredibly powerful platform for expression and communication between the performer and audience, especially if the artist is very skilled and it is sublime music. Tricky, of course living through a global pandemic.
Who would you accredit as having the greatest influence on you and in what you do? Whom would you select as the most enjoyable person/s you have worked with and why?
It’s difficult to name just one. All of the singing teachers, coaches, masterclass teachers, language coaches, even the not-so-great ones that have been a part of my studies! There is always something to be learned, even from someone that may not necessarily serve our artistic needs for long or play an extensive part in our careers. I’m very fortunate to be working with my current singing teacher, mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble. She has been incredibly supportive, loyal, and firm. I hope to achieve great things with her help and knowledge.
What songs or projects are you currently working on? What are planned in the next five years?
Currently? I was meant to be singing in a few singing competitions that have been postponed due to the pandemic. I was also meant to be dressing a film set in a bell tent (of all things this weekend) that has also had to be postponed due to the pandemic. I’m singing two original songs by David Halgren in a cabaret called “The Grotesque and Arabesque: The Twisted World of Edgar Allan Poe”, (hopefully) as part of the Melbourne Fringe, we recently performed it to great success at The Vanguard, in Newtown recently. WE will also be reviving the show at the Vanguard as well so keep your eyes peeled!
I haven’t got any set plans at the moment. I know the things that I would like to do: study and work overseas, audition for the opera company here in Sydney or interstate when I’m more technically sound, travel, and continue to create performance opportunities for myself like most artists in this day and age have to do. Again, it’s hard to set things in stone. Living in Sydney is terribly expensive and this pandemic has put a halt to a lot of things.
What was the most enjoyable or best part of your career so far?
Being able to perform and work with some incredibly talented people. I’ve had lots of wonderful opportunities over the past few years, which continue to open doors for more opportunities.
What else would you want to accomplish?
Work in opera companies overseas, write more of my own shows. I’d love an opportunity to sing more Jazz and Blues, maybe even music theatre. I can’t dance, unfortunately.
What advice would you give to other aspiring Fil-Aussie Singers, Performers who are keen to establish themselves in the Opera industry?
Study and make the most of your time at a tertiary institute, wherever that may be. Find a good teacher, vocal coach and study your languages. Be open to everything. Don’t limit yourself just to opera. I believe in order to be a great performer generally is to be broad-minded, worldly, cultured, ambitious, curious, amongst many other things that make a well-rounded performer. Act in straight plays, learn to dance (my great loss), many things. Art is multifaceted, as should we be as performers. It is not an easy road to tread, as I’m finding it, but I would not have it any other way.
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