Sunday, October 22, 2006

Computer engineer wins ABC's opera comp

The winner of ABC program Operatunity Oz says he doesn't deserve the triumph.

Unlike many of his competitors fiercely vying for victory, David Parkin says he didn't take the competition seriously and had not studied or thought of pursuing opera as a career.

"I was very casual about the whole thing," the 26-year-old said from his home in Leichhardt in Sydney's inner west.

"I know there was disappointment among the other finalists because this has been their life's ambition and for me to come along, this person who had a very good career path and then to give this a go, I know there was disappointment."

More than 2,000 aspiring singers sent in video auditions for the program.

Parkin, a computer engineer for one of Sydney's top law firms, was chosen by a panel of five judges for the top 20.

Four days of intense operatic workshops followed and the final six were chosen - three females, all with tertiary level singing training, bachelors or diplomas in music, and three males - a plumber, a builder and Parkin.

With just a few singing lessons and a couple of school musicals under his belt, Parkin believed his luck would run out in the final round.

"I was totally shocked," Parkin said of being told he had won.

"I honestly thought the judges would go for the three girls, I thought us guys were the human interest stories and when it came to crunch time they would go with one of the girls as a safer bet. I was totally blown away."

As winner Parkin will sing in Opera Australia's Rigoletto at the Sydney Opera House from October 24 and has also secured an international recording deal with ABC classics.

Parkin says he won't give up his engineering career for opera, but hopes to continue perfecting his newfound passion.

"It's been reinforced with Operatunity that an opera singer is not made in a day," he said.

"I will return to work, because there is no way I am going to get enough work out of this to ditch my day job. But, I will keep training, work on the languages and invest some serious time and effort into it now. Hopefully down the track it might be something I pursue as a full-time career, but not for now."

Monday, December 05, 2005