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Former Student Singing SuccessPosted in College Community on Wednesday, 11 September, 2019

Former MCC student Shania Eliassen has recently been awarded a special West Australian Opera prize. The Richard Bonynge AC CBE Encouragement Award bursary, worth $1500, was awarded to Shania last Wednesday night. Shania went on to study opera at WAAPA after leaving Mandurah Catholic College in 2014.

Richard Bonynge, a world-famous conductor, still performs and still does his popular master classes around the world, including Perth. Shania was lucky enough to be invited to be one of the participants of the master classes, and was “over the moon to have what is an awesome opportunity for a young wannabe opera singer,”  said mother Donna Eliassen. Shania didn’t think things could get any better when she found out she would be the recipient of  his one and only award. Mother Donna recalls, “She rang me afterwards and was speaking at a million miles per hour.
“It’s very competitive this industry and for someone living in Perth with its isolation it is even harder.  This award means so much to her because of that and because it reassures her she is on the right track,” she said. “The dream is still alive.”

The award was co-presented by Emma Matthews, Head of Classical Voice at the Western Australian Academy for the Performing Arts and Patron of WA Opera’s Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program. Shania performed The Doll Song from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffman. Shania has stated that the bursary will be used towards a Masters of Opera Performance degree in the United Kingdom.

Shania said “I could not have hoped for a better outcome from the masterclass! I never expected to be given the award, because for me it was such an honour just to be asked to participate, especially along with singers I know always present at an extremely high standard. So although I still can’t really believe it, for me the award meant reassurance, that I am on the right track on my singing journey, and that maybe my dream of being an opera singer can, one day, in fact, become a reality.”

“Meeting Richard Bonynge was surreal. Being coached by him was even more incredible! He has such in-depth knowledge of the music and style, all of his feedback made everyone’s pieces 1000 times better! The most amazing part for me was watching his hands when he was coaching us, his connection to the music is natural and the expression and level of detail he is able to get you to produce just by watching his hands is unbelievable.” she said.

Shania was also featured in Limelight, Australia’s classical music and arts magazine, who reported on the awards.

Mrs Eliassen said, “I’m so happy she had teachers who believed in her at MCC and didn’t laugh at her dreams. I think they’ll like how their support is panning out years after a student has left school…”

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