Melbourne Sun Aria

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The Herald Sun Aria, formerly known as The Sun Aria (because it was sponsored by The Sun News-Pictorial) is a vocal competition held in Ballarat, Victoria, and Melbourne, Australia, each year. The prize money for the winner is $12,500, for the runner-up $6,000. The competition provides a scholarship of $22,000 for overseas tuition and travel for the winner, $8,000 for the runner-up, and an encouragement award of $2,500.[1]

The competition forms the aria section of the Royal South Street Eisteddfod, Australia's oldest and largest eisteddfod.

Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat, where the competition is held

Three of the most famous past winners of the Aria competition are Wagnerian soprano Marjorie Lawrence (1928) and Dames Malvina Major (1964)[2] and Kiri Te Kanawa in 1965.

In its 83rd year, the heats (generally two) of the competition are held annually in Ballarat in September at Her Majesty's Theatre, and the final is held at Hamer Hall in the Arts Centre Melbourne in early November. Finalists are accompanied by Orchestra Victoria, conducted by Maestro Richard Divall AO, OBE.

The competition has a panel of three adjudicators, and Richard Divall has been a panel member since 2001. The other adjudicators in 2014 were Roxane Hislop and Tiffany Speight.

Contestants, who are aged 32 years or under, are required to submit four arias from grand opera prior to the competition, and choose one of these to sing in the heat.

Sixteen semi-finalists are selected from those singing in the heats to appear on the evening following the second heat, again at Her Majesty's in Ballarat, and sing another aria, this time chosen from their list by the panel of adjudicators.

Six finalists are then chosen to compete in the final at Hamer Hall.