According to the Professionals – chat with Cheryl Barker AO

As part of the events for this year’s competition, we were privileged to be able to hold a candid Q&A session with one of Australia’s greatest sopranos, and our vocal adjudicator, Cheryl Barker. This was a fantastic chance to get an insight into the operatic world, hosted by our very own artistic director, Katy Frewen-Lord.

We know you will hang on to her every word in this recording (in 2 parts):

Cheryl started by going into great detail about her life growing up, her early career decision to the nine to five at the bank behind, her first steps onto the stage and her journey over to the UK. She detailed the highs and lows of her singing career, from her debut roles on stage to being offered an Assistant Manager position at Pizza Hut! She was a spellbinding speaker and the way she weaved this tale left us hanging on to her every word.

She also gave the singers amongst us a few pearls of wisdom, from the technical issues with breath control to the more artistic side of a performance, where she discussed the importance of making connections to the text ourselves. Taking part in competitions was also discussed, especially from the point of view of treating it like a performance, as such opportunities are becoming more and more limited in the classical music space.

Finally, she talked about simply having the tenacity to make a career of it. No matter what “Just stick with it!” as “If you have a light, you will eventually shine through” – words to live by!

The Australian Concerto & Vocal Competition would like to thank Cheryl Barker most sincerely for being our vocal adjudicator these past two years and for taking the time to hold this Q&A with us.