• Karina Bailey

Some exciting competition news...

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

I am so pleased to tell you that on 15 August 2020 I won the MTO Development Grant in the prestigious Melbourne based competition, the German-Australian Opera Grant. The winner of the GAOG itself is awarded with an opportunity to work at the Hessiches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany, and I would like to send a huge congratulations to Baritone Darcy Carroll for receiving this award on the weekend. Congratulations also to the other wonderful finalists and recipients of the two Encouragement Awards, Georgia Melville (Soprano) and Andrew Williams (Baritone), and my love and congrats also to the 8 other fabulous artists who competed in the semi-finals on Friday.

As the winner of the MTO Development Grant, I receive a generous cash prize which will assist me greatly in preparing for the next stage of my career, as well as a professional performance opportunity in Melbourne in (hopefully!?!) the near future! I am so grateful to the More Than Opera organisation and to GAOG for this great honour and recognition.

Now, this year's competition was a wee bit unusual to say the least... as Melbourne's second wave of COVID-19 began to boom it became clear that the competition would not be able to be held as planned... there was a period of uncertainty for all, and then with some excellent re-organising and compromising by those at GAOG, the competition was amazingly well run remotely - over Zoom! I never expected it to work out so well. Candidates from QLD, NSW, VIC and little old me from SA were all able to compete from our homes with panel members Zooming in from Australia and Germany. As the poor Melbourne singers were sent into full lock down and not able to sing from a concert venue with their pianists, all singers ended up singing from home with pre-recorded tracks as accompaniment. Though tracks will never be a proper substitute for live musician collaboration, I am amazed at how well everyone seemed to adapt to the situation as was necessary, and we all just made it work. (I am sure we have all become a whole lot more tech-savvy through this time out of necessity!)

For the final on Saturday the panel chose for me to sing Non monsieur mon mari from Les mamelles de Tirésias by Poulenc and The Trees on the Mountains from Susanna by Carlisle Floyd. I am so glad they chose these two - they are both brand new for me and challenging sings, but I am absolutely in love with these arias and so happy that I got to present them for the panel.

I must say an ENORMOUS thank you to my wonderful pianist Mark Sandon, who rehearsed with me and put aside his time for me when it looked as though we would perform together for the comp from a venue in Adelaide, and then when plans changed again, he took the time to record all of my tracks for me so brilliantly. Thank you to my wonderful teacher in Scotland Kathleen McKellar-Ferguson for making me the singer I am today, to my brilliant coach in Adelaide Penelope Cashman for helping me prepare my repertoire for this competition, and to my dear friend Thomas Kinch in Wales who has so generously given his time lately to help me really put the icing on the cake in terms of my singing and artistry. I am so grateful. There are many others to thank for their support in my life recently, particularly my dear family, though I am especially indebted to these four people I have mentioned, without whom I don't believe I could have got as far as I did.

I am amazed and in awe of how this difficult and awful COVID time has encouraged people to adapt to certain situations in ways we never would have thought of before. I see that it has in some ways really brought people "together", even if we need to be physically apart. I have great hope for humanity and for the arts, and though this may be the toughest time we have ever seen for our industry, I have hope that we will come out the other side of this stronger than ever. People will have a brand new appreciation for the beautiful things in life, and the arts will be treasured perhaps like never before. Our gratitude for wonderful experiences we undertake, the privileges we have and the beloved people in our lives, I hope, shall be greater from now on.

Stay safe - sending my love to you all.

Karina Bailey xX

(PS. Thanks mum for the flowers!)

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