Emily Edmonds

How I found my rhythm as an opera singer

7 August 2023
In this Find Your Rhythm profile, we hear from acclaimed mezzo-soprano Emily Edmonds about how she forged a dazzling career in opera with authenticity and tenacity.
Headshot of Emily Edmonds

Con alumna Emily Edmonds
Image: Michelle Grace Hunder

As a high school theatre kid, Emily Edmonds found solace and inspiration in dusty rehearsal rooms and studios.

“Finding my people amongst text, actions, words,” she remembers, “it was my magic; my home.”

When she discovered opera, it was as if a whole new world had opened, one where her love of theatre and music could collide.

“The collision continues to be intriguing, leading me to rehearsal rooms and creative teams that inspire and challenge me,” says Emily.

Emily's passion for opera led her to pursue a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It was through her studies that she developed a deep appreciation for the art of musical collaboration.

“Being surrounded by musicians of all kinds – friends and colleagues – I was able to make music in a way that both held space for and fuelled my musical and personal growth,” she reflects.

Her passion for meaningful collaboration has been the driving force behind Emily's remarkable career, propelling her to seek opportunities with leading companies worldwide. After graduating with first class honours from the Con, she was selected for the Royal Opera House’s prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, which allowed her to work alongside other exceptionally talented artists at Covent Garden.

From there, Emily has amassed an impressive string of credits including ground-breaking classical and contemporary productions across Europe, the UK, the USA, and Australia. Among them, she pinpoints her performance as Varvara in Richard Jones’ production of Janacek’s Katya Kabanova as one of her most memorable.

“We experimented with contact improvisation and movement to create an extraordinarily vivid Act II finale – something I remain deeply connected to, to this day.”

Her performance in Phillip Venables’ acclaimed Denis and Katya, which toured the UK and the United States, also stands out as a career highlight.

“With four cellos and two singers, we made theatre-meets-opera that was bold and poignant,” she reflects.

More recently, Emily has taken on a mentoring role with the Royal Opera House, supporting emerging artists as part of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme’s mentoring scheme. Additionally, she hosts and produces the podcast Show Notes, where she explores industry insights and experiences in conversation with other artists. 

For Emily, it’s both an honour and a responsibility to contribute to the communities that have played a central role in her own creative development.

“It’s imperative that I give back to the ecosystem of which I am a part; it’s in this way that we all grow,” she emphasises.

“The more artists that are connected to self – body, mind, and spirit – the more we can create things that mean something; that have power and value.”

Looking ahead, Emily's schedule is brimming with diverse artistic ventures. She will be participating in a workshop for a new piece, performing and assistant directing a staged Saariaho song cycle, and finally returning to her first true love—Mozart—in a production of Le Nozze di Figaro.

Emily emphatically rejects the notion that parenthood and a successful creative career are incompatible. In fact, she identifies motherhood as being a profound source of creative inspiration.

“The lessons my daughter teaches me every day about play, discovery, and the expansiveness of the present moment are more deeply impactful than any other creative experience could be.”

For students aspiring to a career in performance, Emily offers valuable advice.

“It was at the Con that I first began to connect with what is now a guiding principle for me: to follow my own values, and cultivate my own vision for my life – creative and otherwise," she shares. "Always look inward, first: it is only from there that you can create with authenticity and integrity."

She encourages young artists to create their own unique journeys, embracing each obstacle as a valuable learning opportunity.

“Don’t follow my path, or any other: follow yours. Find what lights you up, and pursue it relentlessly."

Ready to find your rhythm in music? Discover your study options.

Header image by Victoria Cadisch

More 'Find Your Rhythm' stories