After graduating from the WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS, Dimity Shepherd made her professional operatic debut for OPERA AUSTRALIA in 1998 singing the role of Rosina in the company’s OZ OPERA production of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, performances of which OPERA~OPERA wrote, …as wondrously delicious a Rosina as I ever hope to encounter.
He subsequent appearances for OPERA AUSTRALIA included Cherubino in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO and the role of Rebecca in the premiere seasons, in the MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL and the SYDNEY FESTIVAL, in LOVE IN THE AGE OF THERAPY.
Other early appearances included creating the title role in Jonathan Mill’s THE GHOST WIFE in the world premiere seasons at the Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney festivals and at London’s BITE02 festival at the BARBICAN CENTRE, performances of which the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD said, Dimity Shepherd in the title role, was evocative, illusory, extraordinary, while THE TIMES said, Dimity Shepherd is brilliant in the role. She creates a heartbreaking, yet flawed figure and her vocal insensity underlines the music’s strange lyricism., and THE GUARDIAN wrote, Shepherd is absolutely compelling…the musical and dramatic core of the piece… and lead roles in world premiere productions of CROSSING LIVE and THE CHILDREN’S BACH for CHAMBER MADE OPERA.
She has gone on to become a regular principal artist for VICTORIAN OPERA, originally making her debut for the company as Orphee in Gluck’s ORPHEE & EURYDICE in 2007, and since, appearing in the lead role of Alice in THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, as Arsamene in Handel’s XERXES and Nireno in JULIUS CAESAR, Mercurius in JS Bach’s DER STREIT ZWISCHEN PHEOBUS UND PAN and Cherubino in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO for which she was awarded a 2013 GREEN ROOM AWARD, Flora in LA TRAVIATA, Lucy in the company’s seasons of THE THREEPENNY OPERA in Melbourne and Sydney, and Jazz in the premiere production of HOW TO KILL YOUR HUSBAND (AND OTHER HANDY HOUSEHOLD HINTS), the lead role of Clara Johnson in the world premiere production of MIDNIGHT SON, the Second Secretary in NIXON IN CHINA, three principal roles in Sondheim’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, The Begger Woman in SWEENEY TODD, roles in the premiere productions of BANQUET OF SECRETS, and THE RIDERS, the Forester’s Wife and the Owl in THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN and The Nursemaid in Ernst Toch’s THE PRINCESS & THE PEA.
Of her HELPMANN AWARD nominated performances for the same company as Kathchen in THE BLACK RIDER the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD wrote …extraordinary., and SIMON PARRIS: MAN IN A CHAIR said, Shepherd’s stylised portrayal is at the heart of the humanity of the piece and her vocals are exquisite… a gorgeous vocal delight.
While of her performances for VICTORIAN OPERA, during 2018, in the premiere season of LORELEI, for which she received a GREENROOM AWARD nomination, THE AGE said, as a siren, as a singer, as a woman … Shepherd most accomplished.
Her roles for OPERA QUEENSLAND include Maddalena in RIGOLETTO, Stephano in ROMEO & JULIET and Tisbe in LA CENERENTOLA, performances of which BRISBANE NEWS said, …as the…certainly not ugly stepsisters…also the most impressive singer and performer… And her engagements by the STATE OPERA OF AUSTRALIA have included Pearl in THE SUMMER OF THE SEVENTEENTH DOLL and Nettie Fowler in CAROUSEL.
Shepherd’s roles for MELBOURNE OPERA include Carmen, the THE AUSTRALIAN writing of her performances, Shepherd’s realisation was recklessly compelling… She was in splendid voice confirming herself as one of our finest singing actresses., the role of Smeaton in ANNA BOLENA of which SIMON PARRIS: MAN IN A CHAIR reviewing said, Elevating the stature of this role with her highly committed performance, talented singing actress Shepherd once again shows why she is one of Melbourne’s most valued stage performers and Emilia in Rossini’s OTELLO, in 2019, for which she received a GREENROOM AWARD.
Other operatic engagements have included a return to the Second Secretary in the AUCKLAND FESTIVAL‘s production of NIXON IN CHINA, and Anne in Heggie’s TO HELL & BACK for GERTRUDE OPERA.
Her concert appearances include Sculthorpe’s STRING QUARTET NO.13 ISLAND DREAMING in the 2002 SYDNEY FESTIVAL, Vaughan Williams’ SERENADE TO MUSIC as part of the opening events of the MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE, MESSIAH for the ROYAL MELBOURNE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY and for the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY, of which THE AUSTRALIAN wrote, In terms of generating empathy, Dimity Shepherd’s account of He Was Despised was the finest I have seen., Charles Gaines’ SOUND TEXT for the MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL and a solo recital in the program of the 2019 PORT FAIRY SPRING MUSIC FESTIVAL.
Of her work as soloist in Goliyov’s AYRE, in the program of the FREMANTLE ARTS FESTIVAL, THE AUSTRALIAN wrote, In an evening of fine performances, Dimity Shepherd stole the show with her transfixing account… Shepherd inhabited these songs with total conviction, capturing the vast breadth of their emotional range.
Of her performances in the world premiere of Katy Abbott’s HIDDEN THOUGHTS II: RETURN TO SENDER with the FLINDERS QUARTET, streamed live by MELBOURNE DIGITAL CONCERT HALL, CLASSIC MELBOURNE wrote, Dimity Shepherd’s entrance heralded the beginning of a fearless bravura performance of sung and spoken material. She possesses a vocal production encompassing an extraordinary range of colour; from pure top notes to earthy lower chest notes and even instrumental timbres that included a nasal evocative of reed instruments from the Middle East, her voice embodied the emotional resonance of the text. She assumed the vocal timbre of the letter writer from young and unsophisticated to mature elderly.
Most recently Shepherd was engaged by OPERA AUSTRALIA, during 2021, for the title role in the national touring production of CARMEN, return to her award winning performances in LORELEI for VICTORIAN OPERA‘s seasons in Melbourne and Brisbane, and appear as The Cat in the company’s season of Respighi’s SLEEPING BEAUTY.
And of her performance in the ROYAL MELBOURNE PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY‘s MESSIAH, ARTS REVIEW said, Singing her material with searing and emphatic sculptural class, mezzo-soprano Dimity Shepherd shared the joy of engagement with her own music generously … Drawing palpable meaning and belief from the text, Shepherd exhibited every bit of the seasoned artist she is and nailed a magnificent He Was Despised to embed in one’s memory.
2022 includes her engagement as the vocalist in the AUSTRALIAN BALLET‘s Melbourne and Sydney seasons of ANNA KARENINA, she will give performances as both Fricka and Schwertleite in MELBOURNE OPERA‘s production of DIE WALKÜRE, as Die Erste Dienerin in ELEKTRA for VICTORIAN OPERA and appear as soloist in MESSIAH for the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
© Weaver Artist Management 2021
Antonio e Cleopatra – Hasse