Italian Opera Fellowship Award



Shauntai Batzke (2017)

Michelle McCarthy (2016)

Alastair Cooper-Golec (2017)

Finn Gilheany (2017)

For two weeks in September and October every year, Acclaim conduct its annual prestigious Italian Opera Masterclass Series. Acclaim offer the opportunity for young Australian opera singers to compete for a chance to win a fully funded study Fellowship to Italy.

In 2018, the Acclaim Awards Masterclass Series will commence Monday September 24th and conclude on Saturday 6th October 2018. The venue will be the Camberwell Grammar School, 55 Mont Albert Road Canterbury, Victoria.

The Acclaim Awards Italian Opera Fellowship is reserved for candidates with significant musical abilities, a strong dedication to the profession and a solid theoretical and technical base.

The Acclaim Awards invite all members of the Australian Opera community to encourage talented individuals who meet the criteria to apply for the competition.

Any individual, anywhere in Australia is warmly encouraged to send an Application for the Acclaim Masterclass for an opportunity to compete for the Acclaim Italian Opera Fellowship.

The Acclaim Fellowship is open to any:
• Bel Canto Opera singer;
• Australian citizen;
• Person aged between 18 and 32;
• Singer who has had some professional performance experience;
• Singer with 2 Italian Bel Canto arias prepared;
• Singer who can provide documentation of musical and vocal training at a public or private institution;
• Singer who commits to attend at least 70% of the teaching components of the Acclaim Masterclass Series.

Fellowship Applications can be made every year, as long as the individual meets the criteria.

Spectators are welcome to attend the Masterclasses and they are open to Acclaim Awards friends and families, supporters and Acclaim Patrons.

The Acclaim Awards Italian Opera Masterclass Series

The Acclaim Awards Masterclasses Series objectives are:
1) Provide teaching by one of the world’s foremost sopranos and teachers, Professor Valeria Esposito;
2) Compete for the Acclaim Awards Italian Opera Fellowship.

During the Acclaim Awards Masterclass Series each Competitor will receive ten teaching sessions. These sessions are valued at approximately $2,500 for each competitor.

The Masterclass Series is therefore designed so that all 10 finalists receive a significant benefit by attending the Masterclasses even if they are not successful in winning the Fellowship. The intensive on- on-one teaching by Professor Valeria Esposito will be invaluable to all participants.

The Selection Process

Stage 1. The first stage involves submitting an Application Form with a Preliminary Audition CD/DVD/YouTube link presentation. The presentation must include two contrasting arias and be sung in Italian.

The CD/DVD/YouTube will be reviewed by Acclaim as a Stage 1 Preliminary Selection Process.

The Acclaim Awards will assess and judge all Fellowship Applicants based on the following criteria:
• Quality of the voice
• Vocal technique
• Age and Potential
• Musical skill and knowledge
• Artistic interpretation
• Demonstration of comprehension of the pieces
• Italian Language skill
• Successful Finalists will be invited to compete in the Masterclass Competition

Stage 2. Professor Esposito will evaluate and judge those she believes would best benefit from the Acclaim fellowship.

At the conclusion of the Masterclass series, each finalist will perform one selected aria of their choice for Professor Esposito. The piece must be Italian Bel Canto and up to five minutes.

An Acclaim Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday 6th October 2018. All finalists will be required to attend the evening and perform. At the conclusion of the dinner the results of the selection process will be announced.

If no candidate is identified during the annual Masterclass competition as meeting all the criteria, then Acclaim will not award a Fellowship.


Valeria Esposito

Born in Naples, Valeria Esposito graduated in voice at the Conservatory of Salerno and in Languages at the University of Naples (English, Russian, French). Later she obtained diplomas in German and Spanish. Valeria won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World (1987) and the As.Li.Co (1987).

Valeria has performed leading roles at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, San Carlo in Naples, Filarmonico in Verona, Rome Opera, Petruzzelli in Bari, Verdi in Triste, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Massimo Bellini in Catania, the Teatros Comunale in Florence, Bologna and Ferrara, Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia, Teatro Regio di Parma, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Macerata Opera, Staatsoper in Berlin, Hamburg, and Wien, Opera der Stadt in Bonn, Liceu in Barcelona, Maestranza of Seville, Baltimore Opera, Opera of Tenerife, Welsh National Opera, Capitole in Toulouse, Carnegie Hall in New York, La Palmas de Gran Canaria, Colon in Buenos Aires, Opéra in Toulon, Budapest Opera, Opéra Bastille in Paris, Opera House of Copenaghen and Tokyo Opera House.

Roles in her repertoire include: Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Norina in Don Pasquale, Contessa in Le Comte Ory, Folleville in Viaggio a Reims, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Giuletta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Leyla in Pêcheurs des Perles, Titania in Mignon and Michaela in Carmen. Amoung her prestigious interpretations are Queen of the Night at the Berlin Staatsoper directed by Maestro Barenboim, and at La Scala directed by Maestro Muti, and the role of Nannetta in Falstaff in Ferrara, directed by Maestro Claudio Abbado.

In May 2010 she sang 'Salve Regina' by Pergolesi in the Sala Nervi of the Vatican in the presence of Pope Benedetto XVI. Valeria has published a novel set in the difficult world of Opera, Spirto Gentil (Prospettivaeditrice, 2005), a book of fairy tales, l'Inventafiabe (Statale 11 Editrice, 2007) and a collection of novels Violetta Vendicata e altri fantasmi all'opera (Graus Editore, 2009).