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Scholarship sets stage for Eden

Written by Margot Taylor
on April 11, 2024

Eden Shifroni is the first to admit her path to the world of opera has been an unconventional one.

Because while many opera singers have grown up immersed in the songs of Mozart, Puccini and Wagner, Ryman Healthcare’s 2024 Melba Opera Trust scholarship recipient grew up singing from the song sheets of Holiday, Fitzgerald, and Simone.

“When I was 18, I auditioned for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Jazz course,” Eden said.

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“While I was there, I met with a few people from the opera school who heard my voice and suggested I audition for the opera school.”

Eden auditioned for the school knowing just one aria, but the school’s teachers knew the makings of a sublime soprano voice when they heard one.

“I got in and I instantly fell in love with opera,” she said.

Eden completed her Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium before completing a Masters of Opera there.

“My motto ever since has been ‘just do it, go for it, apply for everything, and see what comes back’,” she said.

Late last year what ‘came back’ was the offer of a Ryman Healthcare Scholarship with the esteemed Melba Opera Trust.

Ryman named its second Wheelers Hill village after Australia’s most beloved opera star Dame Nellie Melba, after working closely with Melba Opera Trust to gain the blessing of Nellie’s descendants in the United Kingdom.

As part of the ongoing partnership, Ryman supports an artist via scholarship, to participate in Australia's leading development program for exceptional young opera singers and repetiteurs: the Melba Program.

“I feel very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Melba Program and for the support of Ryman Healthcare,” Eden said.

“It’s extremely special to be involved with a company that champions artists like Dame Nellie Melba.”

Eden performs with Jack Bolton

Eden performs with Jack Bolton.

 

Since beginning the course in February Eden has been immersed in all elements of learning to be a leading soprano, including languages, history, and the business of being a performer.

“As a jazz singer I just sung in English,” she said.

“At Melba, singing is just one subject of many, including coaching in Italian, German and French alongside acting, dance and interpretation.

“That is why I love opera so much because while singing is an important part of it, it’s composed of a whole melting pot of different theatrical and artistic aspects,” she said.

The Sydney native will spend the year commuting to Melbourne each month for intensive modules with contemporary legends of Australia’s opera industry including Melba Opera Trust’s Artistic Manager Sharolyn Kimmorley AM.

Having focused on brushing up her French and Italian Eden now plans to use part of her Ryman scholarship funding to support additional German lessons.

“You feel a different kind of connection when you can sing or speak to someone in their mother tongue, so I hope to be able to communicate and connect with many different audiences,” she said.

While she has her eyes set on the opera halls of Europe and a dream role as Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Eden is equally excited by her short-term goals to make opera more accessible to younger audiences and to perform for Ryman residents.

“I feel very honoured to be part of the Ryman community, a community that celebrates opera singers.

“I hope I can give back to Ryman as much as I have received.”

Eden will perform for Nellie Melba Retirement Village residents in July.

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