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West Australian Artists win big at Bel Canto Awards

West Australian singers Fleuranne Brockway, Jake Bigwood and Lachlann Lawton took out top awards at the prestigious Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Awards held in Sydney on Sunday 20 November. Of the six finalists, three were West Australian Opera alumni.

Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist alumnus Fleuranne Brockway received first prize of the distinguished Bel Canto Award, and also took home a further four prizes including Best Mozart or Handel Aria, the Georg Solti Award, Stimme Leib und Seele Prize and the Audience Choice Award.

Ms Brockway, who studied at the University of Western Australia, was a Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist with West Australian Opera (WAO) from 2017– 2018.

Lachlann Lawton, Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist 2020-2021 and a star of West Australian Opera’s upcoming production of Carmen at the WACA Ground, received the prestigious John Wegner Award.

Jake Bigwood, Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist 2022-2023, received the Friends of the Foundation Award. Both Mr Lawton and Mr Bigwood studied at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

“We’ve always been proud to support and nurture local talent and we are thrilled with the success of our Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist alumni,” said West Australian Opera’s Artistic Director, Chris van Tuinen. “These results reflect the incredible amount of talent we have in Western Australia. We are so fortunate to have the support of Wesfarmers Arts, the Bendat Scholarship and the Society of WA Opera Lovers to provide opportunities for our young artists, which provides the skills, training, and confidence to pursue a career in the arts. We look forward to what else these artists achieve throughout their career. In 2023, the Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program includes Ammon Bennett, Jake Bigwood, Jillian Halleron, and Bella Marslen for a second year.”

West Australian Opera’s Executive Director Carolyn Chard AM noted: “We acknowledge the talent being trained in tertiary settings in Western Australia and are proud of our partnership with the UWA Conservatorium of Music, where Fleuranne Brockway studied, and the West Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), where Lachlann Lawton and Jake Bigwood studied. Music is such a vitally important part of education for young people and we hope music can be at the centre of learning opportunities for all young people.”