A lot of hard work and training has paid off for one Geurie opera singer who has been awarded $25,000 and the prestigious honour of the Dame Heather Begg Memorial Award.
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Nathan Bryon, a talented tenor, who is currently finishing up his Artist Diploma at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music told the Daily Liberal how "surreal" it had felt to receive that phone call.
"It was really special, this wasn't something where we filled in an application or anything, they just called me and it was a bit of a surprise," he said.
This award is offered each year to an emerging singer from Australia or New Zealand and honours Dame Heather Begg DNZM OBE, a mezzo-soprano whose own operatic career spanned the globe.
Mr Bryon has had a successful year, having received the 2023 Australian Music Foundation Yvonne Kenny Award and is the San Francisco District Winner of The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.
The award has supported the careers of Samuel Dundas, Janet Szepei Todd, Amina Edris, Jeremy Kleeman, Emily Edmonds, Lauren Fagan, Nicholas Jones, Fleuranne Brockway and Filipe Manu.
Mr Bryon said the money would go towards travel expenses for when he auditions as well as continuing to develop his skills in different languages.
"It will help with emerging opportunities and to develop my craft," he said.
Having spent the past two years in America, the singer is excited to come back to Geurie for Christmas.
"I'm really looking forward to that, it will be my first time back home since I left," he said.
Mr Bryon first went to America when he was still a student at Dubbo Senior College for a summer programme in Washington DC.
"It really feels full circle that I got to come back and learn over here," he said.
Mr Bryon credits his success to the support he has had around him.
"I was very, very lucky to have the right people around, that was a big part of it," he said.
With no set plans ahead, Mr Bryon wants to continue taking it one day at a time.
"Opera isn't something you just run out of the gate and do, it's a long haul career that you continually improve at, so I'll keep taking it step by step," he said.
He wanted to thank his parents for always supporting his dream and for driving him to all his different lessons and auditions.
"So many people have gotten me to this point in my career and I couldn't be more thankful," he said.
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