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Mario Dobernig - Conductor


On a quest to make a difference, innovator Mario Dobernig is one of the most inspiring music makers of his generation.  Mario is Artistic Director and Conductor in Chief for the Victoria Chorale, the Art of Sound Orchestra, and co-artistic director of the Albury Chamber Music Festival.  He has conducted among others the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Kapfenberger Symphoniker and Orchestra Calliope, and at prestigious venues and festivals in Europe, the Middle East, China and Australia. 

Mario was awarded his PhD in 2014, holds Master degrees in Percussion, Conducting and Musicology as well as Bachelor Degrees in Percussion and Music Education. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and is an adjudicator for the Belvedere International Singing Competition. 

Discography includes online releases for ABC Classics and being a featured guest on various radio programs around the globe.  Mario has produced a number of highly successful festivals in Australia and Austria and also organises unique exchange tours for cultural groups between Australia and Western Europe.  He enjoys conversations in English, German, French and Italian, and has a keen interest in geopolitics.

Join us as we capture the spirit of Christmas at 5pm on Sat Dec 9 at St Paul's Cathedral.


You'll hear Vivaldi's thrilling Gloria and brilliant carols selected from the last 30 years.  Get your voices ready for the ones with audience participation!

It will be a memorable performance with dynamic Mario Dobernig leading the combined forces of Victoria Chorale, the Art of Sound Orchestra and soloists Eliza Bennetts-O'Connor and Syrah Torrii.  Other highlights include the very special guest artists, Margaret Haggart OAM and John Bolton-Wood AM.

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Eliza Bennetts O'Connor - Soprano

Eliza Bennetts O’Connor is a Melbourne-based soprano praised for her ‘sweet and delicate tone.’
Eliza has performed with Victorian Opera, iOpera, e21, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Bons Ventos Baroque and Kew Philharmonic across a range of concert, opera and baroque repertoire.

Her recent solo credits include Cupid - Venus & Adonis (Blow), Belinda - Dido & Aeneas (Purcell), Tytania - A Midsummer Night's Dream (Britten), Rosita - Un Mari a la Porte (Offenbach), soloist - The Fairy Queen (Purcell) and First Fairy - The Selfish Giant (Bruckard). Her recent chorus credits include L'Incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi), Guillaume Tell (Rossini), Dialogues des Carmélites  (Poulenc) and The Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček)

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Syrah Torii - Mezo-Soprano

Japanese-Australian mezzo-soprano Syrah Torii holds a Master of Music (Opera Performance) from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. She has performed major roles in Little Women (Jo March), L’incoronazione di Poppea (Ottone), Hänsel und Gretel (Hänsel), and Die Zauberflöte (Third Lady).

Syrah is a recipient of the 2023 Victorian Opera Emerging Artist Prize. She was a Developing Artist in Melbourne Opera’s Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme 2022/23, and a semi-finalist in the 2023 Herald Sun Aria Competition.

She has performed in Idomeneo (Chorus, Idamante study cover) with Victorian Opera and Opera Australia, Melbourne, Cheryomushki (Masha), The Butterfly Lovers (Ensemble), Elektra (Chorus) with Victorian Opera, and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Chorus) with Melbourne Opera.

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John Bolton Wood AM - Baritone

John Bolton Wood made his UK debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Bosun in Billy Budd. In Australia he has appeared as a principal artist with Opera Australia, and all the State Opera companies,and Symphony



As Old Deuteronomy in the original Australian production and Asian tour of

Cats, he sang an astounding 1498 performances. He has won 5 Green Room Awards – for Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Colonel Frank (Die Fledermaus), Major-General Stanley (Pirates of Penzance), Lord Mountarar (Iolanthe) and Germont in La Traviata.


Other notable engagements include Dr Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Welsh National Opera and the title roles in Rigoletto and Gianni Schicchi for Opera New Zealand. 


Roles for Opera Australia include Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, Alcindoro/Benoit in La Bohème, The Preacher in Batavia, Pooh-Bah, Sir Joseph Porter, Somarone in Beatrice and Benedict, Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Melitone in La Forza del Destino, Sacristan in Tosca.


John is a respected adjudicator, mentor and teacher and was a guest lecturer in voice at the International Academy of Voice in Cardiff from 2007-2011. Deservedly, he was awarded an AM for service to opera in 2009.

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