Louis Hurley

Perth Irish tenor short-listed for major singing prize

Louis Hurley will perform in the prestigious IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition Semi Finals.

Louis Hurley will perform in the prestigious IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition Semi Finals.

A Perth tenor whose family hails from Kilkenny will perform in the semi finals of one of Australia’s most prestigious singing competitions.

Louis Hurley and 11 fellow candidates will take to the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition stage this weekend, competing for opportunities to develop their careers the world over.

Mr Hurley’s talent was evident from a young age, but he said no one knew where he inherited his skill.

“I fell into this as an accident,” he said.

“My family is the least musical family you could probably meet…my dad’s into grunge music.”

Mr Hurley began his foray into classical voice training at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at the age of 17 after singing throughout his childhood.

Louis Hurley and his mother Maree Hurley (née McCarthy) recently visited the McCarthy family shop in Brickana.

Louis Hurley and his mother Maree Hurley (née McCarthy) recently visited the McCarthy family shop in Brickana.

He credited prolific American opera singer Joyce DiDonato’s masterclasses with inspiring his ongoing education, and was able to learn from the guru first-hand when performing alongside her in a UK production.

“The first time I actually met her I froze and ran away, but I eventually did talk to her!”

Mr Hurley is currently rehearsing both for the Competition Semi Finals and for a Melbourne Conservatorium of Music production, and believes winning would help him leap into the next phase of his professional journey.

“Opera has this weird disconnect between finishing your studies and starting your career…the operatic voice generally takes longer to develop, so there are a few years of limbo”.

“The prizes help to no end,” he said.

The awards on offer include the $30,000 Marianne Mathy scholarship to assist with musical study, a chance to audition for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s artist development program, and an opportunity to perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The IFAC Handa Semi Finals will take place at North Sydney’s Independent Theatre on August 11, which will see five competitors move one step closer to joining the long list of winners from over three decades of celebration of opera excellence.