2014 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald's Operatic Aria: Second placegetter Tabatha McFadyen, adjudicators Margaret Baker-Genovesi & Peter Coleman-Wright, & winner Lucinda-Mirikata Deacon
The Sydney Eisteddfod must be recognized as one of the most inspiring performing arts festivals in the world – certainly it is the leading organization of its kind in Australia, with the number of its participants totalling over 30,000 throughout the events each year.
I have been privileged to be associated with it on three occasions, in each case as a member of the adjudicating panel of the Eisteddfod's signature event, the McDonald's Operatic Aria. Any aspiring young singer who looks at the list of singers who have been launched by winning this competition - singers past and present, household names - all of them must be inspired to try their luck for this golden opportunity.
Why do singers make sacrifices, in many cases giving up the pleasure of a normal social life in order to devote their energies to the study of singing? Because they have to – if you are a born singer, that is what you do. Born singers are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, and the knowledge that this competition will help them achieve that goal is a huge source of inspiration. The vocal talent that I encounter in such close contact with our young singers continues to amaze me: the talent is there, the teaching standards are high, but – but, we are geographically very far from the main centres of opera, and it is essential that our best young singers widen their horizons, hear the world's greatest singers, and study with some of the world's finest teachers; the opportunity offered by this extraordinarily generous scholarship is the inspiration for the high number of aspiring singers who enter, year after year.
A very important aspect of the competition is the feedback that every competitor, from the most outstanding to the beginners who are putting their talent to the test – everyone receives from each adjudicator a searching, documented analysis of their performance, often with important pointers towards the choice of repertoire. Everyone wins in this competition – it is a privilege to be associated with it.