Kate Wilmott (soprano) & Kate Johnson - Piano at 10, 1st. February

A Woman’s Work

A woman betrayed, a woman in love, a woman aspiring to a different life, a woman seducing her ex-lover, a woman sick of being a woman…such ideas have given birth to some of the most powerful, intriguing, and humorous female characters in the operatic repertoire.

For song composers, women have played the rôle of the muse - the dedications of songs can tell us much about the life of the composer. Join us for a glimpse of some of these compelling women through the works of composers as diverse as Handel, Mozart, Poulenc, Debussy, and Puccini.

Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson received First Class Honours in Piano Accompaniment from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. As a recipient of numerous awards including a Churchill Fellowship and a Queen’s Trust grant, she conducted further studies in the United Kingdom, Paris and the U.S.A.

Over the years, this continuing research both in Australia and overseas has encompassed song and operatic repertoire and performance, extensive language studies, harpsichord continuo performance, operatic prompting techniques, and a particular interest in French vocal music.

As a Repetiteur with Opera Australia for 12 years, Kate worked as a vocal coach, pianist and prompter, and assisted in the preparation of a wide range of operas with many talented Australian and international artists. She performed harpsichord continuo for much of Opera Australia's Baroque and Classical repertoire, notably Rinaldo with conductor and harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock, and La Clemenza di Tito with conductor Christopher Hogwood. She also performed solo keyboard parts for such works as The Turn of the Screw and Capriccio.

As a prompter, Kate worked on a diverse array of operas including Tosca, Don Carlo, La Traviata, Werther, Peter Grimes, and Wozzeck. She was responsible for the preparation of numerous children’s choruses for Die Zauberflöte and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Kate has performed extensively both in Australia and overseas with some of Australia’s finest singers, including recitals as part of the Sydney Festival, at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, London, and in Vanuatu.

She has been involved in numerous recital series including Seasons of Song and Masterpieces at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the High Tea series at the Sydney Opera House, and has performed in live broadcast recitals with ABC Classic FM.

At the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Kate works regularly with opera students, helping them to develop the skills necessary for professional singing careers. She has also been involved with developing singers as the official pianist for the Australian Singing Competition.

Kate continues to enjoy work both as a performer, teacher, and vocal coach. She has performed with companies such as Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and has been involved with several of Sydney’s music theatre productions. In 2009 she was pleased to be repetiteur for the world premiere of Richard Mills’ Saint Mark Passion in Hobart and Brisbane, and in 2010 performed at the annual ‘Opera Under the Stars’ event in Broome, Western Australia.

Kate Wilmot – Soprano

Kate grew up and studied in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was awarded a Master of Music by Wits School of Music, University of The Witwatersrand. She was a principal artist at Roodeport Promusica Opera (Johannesburg) and Spier Opera Trust (Cape Town), and was soloist with a number of South African orchestras including the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Potchefstroom Orchestra.

In 2008 and 2009 she premiered and recorded two new South African works for Soprano, Choir and orchestra; one of these, Gloria for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra, was written for her by the Johannesburg-based composer Hester Eigner. In 2005 Kate was a semi-finalist in the First Unisia Southern African Singing Competition, and in 2007 was a finalist in the Unisia Overseas Bursary competition.

Since relocating to Australia in 2009, Kate has performed numerous concerts for organisations including Artsong NSW, Arts Bundanoon (Piano at 10 series in 2012 and 2013), and the Southern Highlands Opera Appreciation Group, and was a soloist for The Church on the Mall recital series in Wollongong. In the 2010 City of Wollongong Eisteddfod she won the Doris Smith Memorial Trophy for Art Song, and was a finalist in the Opera section.

In August, 2011, Kate was invited back to South Africa to perform Mozart’s Requiem with the Rheinberger Chamber Choir. The following year she again performed the Requiem with other Mozart excerpts at the Wollongong Town Hall with the Illawarra Choral Society, alongside singers from Opera Australia.

In 2012 Kate was guest artist for the Sydney Male choir, and she performed Vivaldi’s Gloria in Wollongong for the Illawarra Choral Society’s 2013 concert series. She was recently soloist at Shellharbour Council’s Carols by Candlelight. Future engagements include the role of Gianetta in The Gondoliers for Rockdale Opera, La Boheme with New England Opera in January, 2014, and an Opera Gala Concert in Bowral in February, 2014.