A proper listy list this time. And since it could theoretically go on almost forever, I'm limiting myself to ten names. These are ten young artists who have made a particular impression on me this year. But before I launch into it, I should stress that this is only a selection. As far as I'm concerned, any singer who has reached the point of, say, singing in a Conservatorium production, or competing seriously in a high-level competition, is by definition a singer with some sort of potential. So nothing should be read into the omission of any particular name — especially since, to be honest, I'm not nearly as assiduous as I should be about keeping track of young singers, and there are therefore bound to be wonderful people whom I've simply not yet heard.
Anyway, enough of that. On with the list. In no particular order, here are ten of my top rising stars.
Nicole Car. Winner of a place in the 2011 Opera Australia Young Artist program. I'd first heard her back in 2008 and was overjoyed this year to hear how thrillingly she'd developed in such a short space of time.
John Donohoe. A excellent baritone and similarly excellent scene-stealer, especially in star turns as the Gendarme in Les mamelles de Tirésias and Bruschino padre in Il signor Bruschino, two of the funniest shows I've ever seen.
Samuel Sakker. Finalist in this year's Mathy Award. I heard him in the semi-final and was completely blown away.
Samuel Dundas. Winner of a place in the 2010 Opera Australia Young Artist program. I heard him in the final of that competition and then just a week or so later, saw him in action in Victorian Opera's Ariadne auf Naxos. My kind of baritone.
Leah Thomas. I heard Leah in the heats of the McDonald's Operatic Aria, missed her in the quarter-finals, and was astonished to find she'd not progressed to the semis. A gorgeous and charismatic soprano of whom I hope to hear a lot more.
Simone Easthope. A fabulous Miss Wordsworth in the Conservatorium production of Albert Herring.
David Corcoran. One of this year's OA Young Artists. He was sensational as Bob Boles in Peter Grimes, and I think we're all looking forward to his turn as the Duke in next year's Rigoletto.
Jane Parkin. Clear winner of the OA Young Artist final. One of those singers who's just so clearly ready for the next step. I'm very keen to see how the company uses her in the 2010 season.
Andrei Laptev. Something of a revelation as Osmano in Pinchgut's L'Ormindo; the role didn't give him much to do until the latter half of the show, but when his chance came, he made the most of it. I hope we'll see him moving into larger roles before too long.
Michael Gray. An honourable mention for a singer from my homeland. When we were at primary school together, he was a boy soprano. At university he was a baritone. Now he's a tenor, and judging by the CD he sent me, he's truly found his voice. I cherish a secret hope that we'll eventually entice him across the Tasman.
Right, that's ten and the hour is getting indecent, so here is where I stop. As usual, please add your own favourites and/or berate me for my omissions in the comments.