Marcellina (with Carlo Lepore as Basilio and Matteo Falcier as Don Basilio) in Le Nozze di Figaro while on tour with the Staatsoper in Japan, Maestro Riccardo Muti conducting. Photos by Michael Pöhn.

Vienna State Opera Award 2015 Winner – Margaret Plummer – Mezzo Soprano


How would you describe your experience in Vienna so far?
My experiences in Vienna so far have been absolutely incredible. I have had the chance to learn a huge amount of the mezzo repertoire whilst working with some of the best musicians, conductors, directors and designers in the industry. There is no house quite like the Staatsoper anywhere in the world, it is an honour and a pleasure to experience every day.

Any invaluable lessons?
I have learned many valuable things in my almost 2 years here, but a big one was to really learn my covers well! The role that I thought I would never go on for (and as a result didn’t put as much focus into it as I should have) was the one that I jumped in for with one hours rehearsal! Despite my insecurities about my preparation the performances went well, and I learned to always, ALWAYS prepare my covers as if I will be singing them with one hours rehearsal!

What is the difference this Award will make to your career?
The Vienna State Opera Award has changed my career path and my life in a dramatic and exciting way. The last 2 years have been an incredible whirlwind of music and art and beauty. I was guided straight into an incredible house and afforded the opportunities to hear, learn and perform wonderful opera around the world.

Any words of advice for next years auditioning artists?
As advice for next year’s applicants, do your best to learn some German language. If you can communicate (at least a little bit) in German it demonstrates respect for your colleagues and employers. I spend about 60% of my time at work communicating in German (if you have some French and Italian, it can’t hurt either!). Also understand completely what you bring as an artist. What repertoire have you already learned? What roles could you offer to a company like The Staatsoper that you would be ready to sing tomorrow? What do you bring to the stage? Where do your strengths lie? What are your weaknesses? In short, as a performer you are a product, know your product inside and out.”

I sincerely thank The Opera Foundation for young Australians for this life changing experience.