Lyric Soprano

Joanna McWaters

Years at WHS
• 1983-1986

Journey after School
After school, I went on to gain a Bachelor of Music at Adelaide University. I was in the middle of my Honours Year when I successfully auditioned for the first Australia & New Zealand Touring Company of “Phantom of the Opera” which I stayed with for just over a year. I was then offered a scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese at the Taiwanese National Normal University which enabled me to take up the offer of studying by invitation with renowned singing teacher and soprano, Helen Chen Lee. After that, I lived in Luxembourg and undertook Postgraduate Performance Studies at the Conservatoire in Luxembourg. I now live back in Adelaide with my husband, who is also an opera singer, and 3 children and still visit Sellicks Beach, where I grew up, as often as I can.

Career highlights
The main two that spring to mind are performing the title role in “Madama Butterfly” to a sold out house in the Festival Theatre and meeting Tim Winton after performing the role of Dolly Pickles in the World Premiere of “Cloudstreet” both for the State Opera of South Australia. I have also had the privilege of touring all around our beautiful country in both metropolitan and regional areas and have performed in many countries overseas.

Favourite Subject
That’s a tricky one as I enjoyed a wide range of subjects. I loved music, obviously, because of my profession, but I also really loved metalwork and tech drawing because of the creativity involved and the challenges. I was the only girl to do Year 10 metalwork which was also cool. I believe I topped the class that year!

Favourite School memory
I loved my shifts as a DJ on the school radio station 5WX. I also really enjoyed Sports Days and inter-school sport. The Ski Trip was also a huge highlight!

Advice for WHS students
School is just the beginning of your adventures, not the be all and end all. Learn as much as you can while you are at school but remember that learning is a lifelong journey that just keeps getting better!

Photo credit – Photografeo