CANBERRA mezzo soprano, Eleanor Greenwood, was last night named winner of the $43,000 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Operatic Aria first prize.
Before a capacity crowd in the Concourse Concert Hall, Chatswood, adjudicators John Bolton-Wood and Rosamund Illing judged her the finest singer of the night for her rendition of ‘Sein wir wieder gut’ from “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss and ‘Non più mestam’ from “La Cenerentola” by Rossini.
Born and bred in Canberra and now resident in Potts Point, Greenwood is a graduate of both the ANU School of Music and the Royal College of Music, London. She is also is a past recipient of an Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant.
Greenwood first found an outlet for her voice singing with the Canberra Children’s Chorus, then in Years 11 & 12 at Canberra College she featured with the school jazz band, while singing at services in the local church, later following tertiary studies.
Now, with a $35,000 scholarship, $5,000 cash, and airfares to the value of $3,000, Greenwood hopes to follows advanced studies abroad, although she says she hopes to develop into a singer who performs in Australia as well as overseas.
The McDonald’s Operatic Aria first prize also includes the opportunity to attend rehearsals at Opera Australia in Melbourne or Sydney and observe an opera throughout the stages of its production.
UPDATE: “CityNews” was pleased to receive a phone call this morning from Greenwood, still coming down to earth from her win.
“It’s really incredible,” she said, it’s so prestigious and a real honour.”
“I think I was quite strong in the semi-finals, even though I was feeling a little bit sick,” Greenwood told us, noting that she had had the adjudicators for the McDonald’s Aria always take into account performances during the final rounds as well as the actual final.
She said that growing up and she had come under the influence of teachers Angela Giblin and Celina Lindsley being educated in Canberra had been integral to her success. At the ANU School of Music and particularly Susan Ellis. Before that, she had been taught privately by Canberra voice teacher Judith Bauer and later in Sydney she’d kept up with private coaching.
Greenwood spent two “excellent years” at the Royal Academy of Music in London but, lacking a parent or grandparent from the old country to give her patriality, her visa ran out quickly and she returned home, getting regular work in the Opera Australia chorus, which she says is the main source of steady work for singers on the way up.
During this time she has covered mezzosoprano Dominica Matthews as Marthe in “Faust” and hopes that now, with the chance to study and work again in Europe, she might ascend to the famous ‘trouser roles’ for mezzosopranos, like Octavian in “Rosenkavalier”.