Rachael Jane Birthisel – Soprano
After years of extensive study in dance, drama and music Rachael went to Italy after winning the Franco Schiavoni Memorial Scholarship to learn Italian at the University of Siena. She then began her classical music studies at The Accademia Musicale of Florence and the Maggio Musicale Formazione (run by the Florence state theatre), where she specialized in Ancient Music. In 2013, she was one of three students excepted into the under-graduate degree in Opera Singing at the Conservatory of Bologna where she completed her degree with full marks in 2016. During her studies at the conservatory she had the opportunity to perform in various concerts and productions including a performance of music by Berio at the state theatre of Bologna. She also participated in prestigious masterclasses held by Liliana Poli, Vincent Scalera and Richard Barker, pianists and singers who have worked in the leading theatres of Europe, including La Scala of Milan. She has performed throughout Europe and Italy including productions of La Serva Padrona at the Festival MoMu and at a celebration of International women’s day in Montelupo. She performed at La Pergola theatre in The Vespers by Monteverdi and in a production of the ‘Messiah’ for Maggio Musicale Formazione. She sang in many concerts for the Florentine Chamber Orchestra in locations such as Auditorium Santo Stefano, the Bargello Museum and the Villa Bardini. She toured with the Ensemble San Felice in Italy and Belgium singing the Florentine ancient music repertoire and Gregorian chant at the festival of Watu, Belgium and France and in the most beautiful churches of Florence, including the Florence Cathedral. In 2015, she traveled to Berlin where she performed in the concerts Nach Lucca Von Berlin, performing opera arias by Puccini, Verdi and Wagner and sacred music by Mozart. In 2015, she also performed for the LuccaOpera Festival in the concert, The Australians in Lucca and in The Elixir of Love by Donizetti. In 2016, she was selected to perform Abigaille in Nabucco and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth by Verdi for the association ‘Nel Pozzo del giardino’ and the state theatre of Piacenza for the festival ‘In canto…d’opera’. In June 2016, she sang for PratoLirica at the concert, New voices for the Lirica where she performed arias by Wagner and Verdi and later in the year was awarded the 12th edition of the Iva Pacetti Prize by the same organization for her performance. She has received awards at various singing competitions including the special prize Ferruccio Busoni at the Silver International Singing Competition Busoni in Empoli 2016, the Turandot and Musikos Agency Prizes at the Federico II competition in Andria 2016 and a prize in the OMEGA association competition in Florence 2016. In January 2017, she was award a place at the prestigious Richard Wagner Stipendienstiftung and in August 2017 she attended the scholarship program at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany. This year she has qualified for the final rounds of the Belvedere Singing Competition in Moscow (June) and the Mt. Fuji International Opera Competition in Japan (July) and has also qualified for the semi-finals of the Kraus Singing Competition in Spain (September). In 2017, she has performed Amelia in A Masked Ball by Verdi at the Camera d’aria in Bologna and has also sung for the contemporary music performances, Vocazioni by Saverio Lanza at the Santo Spirito Basilica and at the town centre of Spedaletto. She is currently studying under the guidance of the Soprano Mayumi Kuroki and the pianist Nicola Mottoran in Prato, Italy.