Anna Dowsley has established herself as one of the most exciting mezzo-sopranos to emerge from Australia in recent years. She often performs leading roles with Opera Australia while appearing on the concert stage with major Australian orchestras.
As a principal artist with Opera Australia, she has been very privileged to work twice with the acclaimed and eminent stage director Sir David McVicar, first debuting the role of Cherubino and most recently performing Dorabella in his new productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte at the Sydney Opera House. In both these productions, she was honoured to share the stage with prominent Australian sopranos Nicole Car and Taryn Fiebig.
Last year, Anna completed a successful role debut season as Rosina in Opera Australia’s 2016 mainstage production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, under the baton of Andrea Molino, alongside Italian baritone Paolo Bordogna and American tenor Kenneth Tarver.
For the 2017 Opera Australia season, Anna appeared in recital with her partner Jonathan Abernethy in Sydney, and also performed in concert performances of Parsifal, staring Jonas Kaufmann. She made her New Zealand Opera debut in 2017, performing the role of Pitti-Sing in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Anna also made her Lucretia debut (Britten's The Rape of Lucretia) in August 2017, working again with Sydney Chamber Opera and acclaimed stage director Kip Williams. Anna also performed for the first time with Sydney Symphony Orchestra for their 2017 season (Pelléas at Mélisande) under the baton of Charles Dutoit.
In 2015, while completing her final year in Opera Australia’s Young Artist Program, Anna made other important role debuts including Siebel and Tebaldo while also appearing in the popular Great Opera Hits summer concert series, Sydney Festival’s Opera in the Domain and Melbourne’s Mazda Opera in the Bowl.
Anna travelled to Germany in late 2015 to compete as one of forty-two selected international finalists in the prestigious singing competition Neue Stimmen, and returned in October last year to participate in their Masterclass program. More recently, Anna was invited to participate as a 2017 Britten-Pears Young Artist in a week long Strauss Masterclass with Angelika Kirchschlager and Malcolm Martineau.
Prior to her young artist position with Opera Australia, Anna was the recipient of a number of prestigious Australian vocal prizes and scholarships, including the 2012 Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship (Opera Foundation Australia) and the 2012 Marianne Mathy Scholarship (Australian Singing Competition). With the support of these earlier scholarships, Anna travelled abroad in 2013 to pursue private studies in the United States and Europe. Highlights included participating in the International Vocal Arts Institute opera program in Virginia, the Siena Music Festival in Tuscany and a personal invitation from the legendary soprano Renata Scotto to participate in her Opera Studio at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
Anna’s invitation into OA’s Young Artist Program marked her debut at the Sydney Opera House in January 2014, performing the role of Zaida (Il Turco in Italia) to critical acclaim; this debut also awarding Anna a prestigious Green Room Award nomination. During her first few months as a Young Artist, Anna was also thrilled to observe Kasper Holton’s rehearsals of his Eugene Onegin production, while covering the role of Olga. During the winter season she was on the road with the OA’s Regional Tour of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, performing the role of Papagena to 26 towns and theatres around Australia.
With other opera companies, Anna made her international debut in Japan, performing the role of Dorabella (Così fan tutte) for Tokyo Arts Foundation. She has often performed with Sydney Chamber Opera, including her striking performance in their boldly staged-version of JS Bach’s solo cantata Ich habe genug.
Frequently appearing as guest soloist with Australian choirs and orchestras, Anna has extensive experience of oratorio repertoire including Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Mendelssohn's Elijah. In the Australian Ballet’s 2013 “Vanguard” season, she was the mezzo-soprano soloist for their ballet Bella Figura, performing excerpts of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Anna was guest artist in the 2015 Brisbane Baroque Festival's Heavenly Handel gala concert, performing a selection of Handel arias with Queensland Symphony Orchestra, recorded live for ABC Radio. She was invited to return to Brisbane in December 2016 to co-host and perform in QSO’s popular Spirit of Christmas concerts.
For the 2018 Opera Australia season, Anna will appear as Garcias in their production of Don Quichotte, starring acclaimed bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, and also returns to the role of Zaida (Il Turco in Italia) at the Sydney Opera House, She will be performing with Sydney Symphony Orchestra again (Beethoven's Mass in C), and looks forward to singing with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for the first time (Beethoven's Ninth Symphony).