In 2015  Ileana Rinaldi and Sam Roberts-Smith are Mentored Artists in West Australian Opera’s  Wesfarmers Arts Young Artists Program.


The Mentored Artist program has been created to assist the continued development of young artists at a turning point in their development. WAO Artistic Director Brad Cohen commented:


“Many opera companies have Young Artist programs, and at their completion the artist is assumed to be fully-fledged and mature. I have identified an intermediate developmental stage for singers, however, where an artist is no longer a novice, but may have encountered circumstances which impede their further growth. At this delicate stage, they benefit from support and mentoring which can be best provided on a personal basis, and for our Mentored Artist program this year I will be personally advising and supporting Ileana and Sam. I have the greatest confidence in their talent and commitment, and look forward to enabling their participation in coming seasons.”


Ileana is also this year’s recipient of The Bendat Scholarship which is awarded annually to support travel and/or coaching opportunities. The scholarship will assist her with up to 30 singing lessons and an audition tour to the eastern states.





Ileana Rinaldi


Mezzo-Soprano Ileana Rinaldi is one of West Australian Opera’s Mentored Artists and the Bendat Scholarship Winner for 2015. This year Ileana debuted with Lost & Found Opera as La Nourrice in Darius Milhaud’s Médée.
After migrating to Perth from Romania, Ileana studied at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). She then gained a scholarship to the Australian Opera Studio where she performed the title roles in Bizet’s Carmen and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and other roles such as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Der Komponist in Ariadne Auf Naxos, Die Knusperhexe in Hänsel und Gretel, Mother in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Mrs McLean in Susannah, and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi.
After her studies at WAAPA and the Australian Opera Studio, Ileana made her international debut as Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Tokyo National Opera. She was invited back to Japan to perform the alto solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.


She has extensive experience in oratorio, operatic and art song performances, with composers ranging from Mozart to Strauss and Wagner. She has recorded songs by Mahler and Elgar with the Berlioz song cycle Les nuits d’été with pianist David Wickham for ABC Classic FM.


Ileana was selected as a finalist for the Australian Singing competition and in the same year took part in the Young Artist Program with West Australian Opera.
During her time with West Australian Opera she has performed roles such as Teresa in Bellini’s Sonnambula, Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen and La Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica the Grandmother, Duchess and Crone III in Ziggy de Voight’s Nostradamus, and this year performed La Madre di Cio Cio San in Anthony Minghella’s English National Opera production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the Perth International Arts Festival.





Sam Robert Smith


Sam Roberts-Smith graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music and Graduate Diploma in Opera from The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. The following year he joined Australia’s National opera company Opera Australia, firstly as a member of the ensemble before being invited to join the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program in 2012. After completing his time in the program, Sam was added to the OA Principle Artist roster. Over six years, Sam successfully performed and covered a large number of supporting and principle roles.


Sam has won numerous prizes and awards. He is a winner of the Australian Singing Competition, The Joan Sutherland Society Scholarship and the Symphony Australia Young Vocalist Award. Recently Sam was chosen to represent Australia in the International Paris Opera Award held in Paris France, leaving the competition with 3rd Prize and another special jury award for Best Interpretation.


Sam has appeared in a number of concerts and performances around Australia and internationally, including performances in the United Kingdom and France. He has also toured the country several times as a principle artist with Oz Opera. In 2015 Sam will make his role debut as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, with performances in Australia and China.


Principle Artist, Ensemble (Opera Australia) 2009-2014: Carmen, Eugene Onegin, Carmen on Sydney Harbour, Il trovatore, Don Giovanni, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Magic Flute, Capriccio, Der Rosenkavalier, Bliss, Lakme, Madama Butterfly, The Mikado, La traviata, Tosca, La Sonnambula, Manon, La fanciulla del West, Rigoletto, La Boheme, Les pêcheurs de perles, Macbeth, Of Mice and Men.
Other Companies: Così fan tutte (Pacific Opera); Batavia, L’elisir d’amore (West Australian Opera); Candide, Street Scene, Angelique, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts): Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Australia Ensemble, Sydney Symphony Youth Orchestra, Sydney Conservatorium Orchestra and Chorale, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, NSW Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. Art Song NSW, Edinburgh International Arts Festival, Guest Artist at both Dame Joan Sutherland’s 80th Birthday Gala and Richard Bonynge’s 80th Birthday. Soloist: Australian National Memorial for Flight MH17.


Recordings/Videos: ABC Classic FM Rising Stars, Sunday Live, ABC Live Performance, Rigoletto (OA) Der Rosenkavalier (OA) Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour (OA)






Wesfarmers Arts Mentored Artists are generously supported by Principal Partner Wesfarmers.


The Bendat Scholarship is generously provided by the Bendat Family.


The West Australian Opera Young Artist Program receives support from Wesfarmers Arts, Bel canto Fund, Bendat Family Foundation, Simon Lee Foundation, James Galvin Family Foundation and The Society of WA Opera Lovers Inc.



Young Artist Alumni performed in 2014 productions including:

James Clayton as Iago in Otello, Papageno in The Magic Flute and Count di Luna in Il Trovatore

Katja Webb as Pamina in The Magic Flute

Fiona Campbell as Emilia in Otello, Second Lady in The Magic Flute and Ines in Il Trovatore

Caitlin Cassidy as Third Lady in The Magic Flute

Sarah Guilmartin as First Lady in The Magic Flute

Richard Symons as Priest of the Temple in The Magic Flute

Jennifer Barrington as Papagena in The Magic Flute

Mark Alderson as the Solider in Il Trovatore

Fiona Campbell & Sara Macliver featured in the Wesfarmers Centenary Community Concert at Northam on Saturday, 12 April 2014