Artists - 2019

These are our artists for the 2019 Opera in the Arboretum

It is our pleasure to announce yet another fantastic artist line up for you.

Milijana Nikolic

Mezzo Soprano Milijana Nikolic
In 2012, Milijana Nikolic first performed at Opera in the Arboretum and it our pleasure indeed to have her return in 2019 to entertain you once again.

Milijana Nikolic’s most recent performances include Jane Seymour (Anna Bolena) for The Metropolitan Opera New York, Eboli (Don Carlo), Amneris (Aida), Verdi’s Requiem and the title role in Carmen for Opera Australia, Pantasilea (Bomarzo) for Teatro Real Madrid, Carmen for Fujiwara Opera Japan and Dalila (Samson et Dalila) with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Serbian-born, Milijana holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Belgrade; her operatic debut took place in the Belgrade National Theatre as Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Tisbe (Cenerentola). She subsequently won a two-year scholarship to attend the Academy for Soloists at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

In 2018, she sings Amneris for Seattle Opera and Opera Australia, Carmen for West Australian Opera and Azucena (Il trovatore) in Trieste, Bari and Japan.
(Biography courtesy Patrick Togher Artists’ Management 2018 and photo courtesy - Milijana Nikolic)


Rosario La Spina

Tenor - Rosario La Spina
Having entertained opera fans in Pearl Beach at Opera in the Arboretum in 2012 and 2015, we are extremely pleased to welcome back popular tenor Rosario La Spina.

In 2002, Rosario won first prize in the Mario Del Monaco International Opera Competition and made his principal role debut at La Scala as Riccardo (Oberto) reprising the role in Genoa

He made his Opera Australia debut as Cavaradossi (Tosca) in 2005 and has subsequently appeared for the national company as Radames (Aida) The Prince (Love for Three Oranges), Alfredo (La traviata), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), The Duke (Rigoletto), The Prince (Rusalka), Calaf (Turandot), Macduff (Macbeth), Rodolfo (La boème), Don José (Carmen) and the title role in The Tales of Hoffmann.

The Verdi Bicentenary in 2013 saw him sing Alfredo and The Duke in Perth, Don Alvaro (La forza del destino) in Adelaide, Verdi’s Requiem in Taiwan and New Zealand, Radames in Detroit and Gaston (Jérusalem) in Fidenza; he also performed Don José throughout Japan.

Other recent operatic performances have included Rinnuccio (Gianni Schicchi) for West Australian Opera’s Opera in the Park; Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) for State Opera of South Australia; Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte) and Narciso (Il turco in Italia) for Opera Australia.

Since 2014, Rosario La Spina has sung The Duke for Opera Queensland, Manrico (Il trovatore) for West Australian Opera, Pollione (Norma) and Canio for Victorian Opera, Samson (Samson et Dahlia) in Tokyo, Cavaradossi, Turiddu and Canio for State Opera of South Australia and The Prince (The Love for Three Oranges), Turiddu, Canio and Calaf for Opera Australia.
(Biography and photograph courtesy - Patrick Togher Artists’ Management 2018)


Antoinette Halloran

Soprano Antoinette Halloran
One of Australia’s most accomplished and best-loved sopranos, Antoinette Halloran performs regularly with all the major Australasian opera companies and symphony orchestras and appears frequently on national television and radio.

A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and recipient of an Honours Degree in Music from the University of Melbourne, Antoinette has appeared in many productions ranging from opera to musical theatre and cabaret.
Leading appearances for Opera Australia have included the title roles in Madama Butterfly and Rusalka, Mimi in La bohème, Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (Green Room Award), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Fata Morgana in The Love for Three Oranges and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus; for New Zealand Opera – Mimi, Cio-Cio-San and Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd; for Victorian Opera – Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte, Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Mrs Lovett (Helpmann Award nomination); for Opera Queensland – the title role in The Merry Widow; for State Opera of South Australia – Micaela in Carmen.
Antoinette also featured as a guest judge and panelist on the ABC television series Operatunity Oz and has appeared regularly on the hit show Spicks and Specks; she was a presenter for ABC’s Art Nation – covering stories on opera and music theatre.

Antoinette has also been a regular visitor to Japan, China and Indonesia where she is much in demand as a guest artist. She recorded Puccini Romance for ABC Classics with tenor Rosario La Spina and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
(Biography and photo courtesy - Patrick Togher Artists’ Management 2018)


Christopher Tonkin

Baritone Christopher Tonkin
Australian baritone Christopher Tonkin has developed a reputation as one of Australia's most successful young exports. Praised for his "sweet" (Opera Magazine), "gloriously rich baritone" (Opera Now) and "dramatic authority" (Chichester Observer), alongside his intensive characterisation and striking physicality, he is regularly engaged in principal roles in opera houses and concert halls in Europe, as well as his native Australia.

Christopher grew up in Geelong, Australia, before moving to Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts under the tutelage of renowned English tenor Gerald English and Anna Connolly. While there, he won several awards and scholarships, sang in masterclasses with Sir Donald McIntyre and Richard Bonynge, and performed with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, the Melbourne Chorale and Opera Australia’s touring school’s company, OzOpera, as well as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2017/18 season, Christopher continues his association with the national company, returning to Opera Australia in the role of Marcello in La bohème for for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour and in Melbourne. He sings Sharpless in Madama Butterfly in concert for the City of Stonnington, Haydn's Nelson Mass with Victoria Chorale and also makes his debut for Queensland Symphony Orchestra with Handel's Messiah.
(Biography courtesy - Patrick Togher Artists’ Management 2018 and photo courtesy - Christopher Tonkin)



Guiseppe Zangari

Guitarist Giuseppe Zangari
In 2007, Giuseppe Zangari first performed at Opera in the Arboretum and later, in 2014, returned to thrill us accompanying José Carbo in Agentinian folk songs. Giuseppie will join us again in 2019.

Born in Sydney, Giuseppe received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying under Gregory Pikler. He was awarded an Australia Council Grant and a scholarship from the Italian Government which saw him head abroad to Milan in 2006. There Giuseppe undertook further studies with Duo Maccari-Pugliese at the Accademia Internazionale della Musica, and Paolo Cherici at the Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi".

Giuseppe’s recent chamber collaborations include, baritone José Carbo, violinist Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich, mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong, and conductor Christopher Bearman. Recent ensembles/orchestras that Giuseppe has worked with include the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Nova, Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Classical Guitar Society Orchestra, Concertante Ensemble, Christ Church Camerata, Halcyon Ensemble and the vocal quartet Waxing Lyrical.

Giuseppe has a keen interest in developing young guitarists to realise their full potential through comprehensive instruction in a fun and enthusiastic learning environment.
(Biography and photo courtesy - Giuseppe Zangari)


Francis Greep

Pianist Francis Greep
Francis has gained an international reputation for his work as a vocal coach, recitalist, chorus master, continuo player and conductor. Now based in Australia, he has worked for Opera Australia as part of the Music Staff and as Assistant Chorus Master; and West Australian Opera and Houston Grand Opera, both as Head of Music. Francis has prepared singers and choruses in more than 60 operas and extensive experience of Art Song across all languages.

As a vocal coach, Francis is particularly known for his skill in preparing established and developing singers for professional role debuts through his extensive repertoire experience, and for providing singers with the tools to continue developing and refining their voices through a deep understanding of vocal production, language fluency, musical styles and performance psychology. His highly developed sense of empathy makes him both an ideal coach and recital partner, and he has performed across Europe, North and South America, New Zealand and Australia. Concurrently, Francis is Development & Communications Manager at the world-renowned Gondwana Choirs, the leader in choral performance for young musicians in Australia.

It was in his role as pianist that Francis accompanied performers at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Opera in the Arboretum.
(Biography courtesy - Francis Greep)

Central Coast Chamber Orchestra

The Central Coast Chamber Orchestra
The Central Coast Chamber Orchestra is a part of the Central Coast Conservatorium which is a community based, non-tertiary institution, funded by the local community in the form of tuition fees, local service club grants and assisted by the State Government.

The Central Coast Chamber Orchestra is the Conservatorium's premier string ensemble and regularly performs in the Premier Ensembles Concert, at Opera in the Arboretum and other high profile community events. As well as weekly rehearsals on a Saturday, the Orchestra also learn self sufficiency and leadership skills through additional Chamber Music classes.

For many years, The Rotary Club of Woy Woy through its Opera in the Arboretum event has provided the opportunity for talented young musicians of the Central Coast Conservatorium's Chamber Orchestra to accompany some of Australia's finest opera singers.

The orchestra consists of 20 plus very talented youngsters on a wide variety of instruments from violins and violas to flute, bassoon, French horn and clarinet.

Under the direction of Patrick Brennan, each year these young folk continue to impress with their maturity, professionalism and overwhelming confidence.