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Narelle French

An Afternoon with Jason Barry-Smith

Narelle French is one of Australia’s most respected and versatile pianists and musicians, specialising in vocal and operatic repertoire. She studied at the State Conservatorium of Music, NSW, was awarded the Dame Roma Mitchell Churchill Fellowship (2002) and the Centenary Medal (for Service to Australian Society and the Advancement of Music). During her time at Opera Australia (1984-1999), encompassing a variety of roles including Guest Chorus Master, she worked with international and Australian soloists, preparing productions for many respected conductors and directors including Johannes Fritzsch, Richard Bonynge, Carlo Felice Cillario, Dr Jane Glover, Richard Hickox and Christopher Hogwood, Neil Armfield, Baz Luhrmann and Lindy Hume.

Since joining Opera Queensland in 1999 as Director of Young Artist Program (1999-2009), Head of Music (since 2001), Guest Chorus Master (2000-2008) and Chorus Master (since 2009), Narelle has led chorus preparation for more than two dozen main-stage productions as well as Opera at the Racecourse (La traviata and The Marriage of Figaro), Opera on the Riverstage – Verdi Gala and The Perfect American (all with Brisbane Festival), and acted as conductor, performer, arranger and translator. In addition she works as a guest with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.

Narelle has conducted touring productions of Così fan tutte and Cinderella and the world premiere season of Seeking True South. As Musical Director and pianist, she has, also co-created a number of productions for Opera Queensland including Just for You, The Heartland Tour, The Food of Love and Waltzing Our Matilda.