A selection of testimonials for Mr Yurisich
Associate Professor Stewart Smith - Associate Dean (Music)
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University
As an artist, undoubtedly Mr Yurisich is one of the very finest singers ever to have emerged from Australia, and at the height of his career he was rightly considered amongst the very best in the world. His discography, with the finest conductors and on the most prestigious labels, is testament to this, as is his long and illustrious performance diary, which similarly featured the highest profile performances at all of the major opera houses. Not only did Mr Yurisich possess the most commanding and beautiful of instruments, his natural acting ability and his formidable intellect made him the benchmark Verdi baritone of his generation. He retired from professional singing at the very height of his powers and from then on focussed on various educational pursuits.
He made a lasting contribution to the training of young opera singers through the Australian Opera Studio. This elite and intense programme produced some of the very finest singers we have today. Mr Yurisich had a clear vision as to what this programme should entail, and successfully assembled a talented team around him to deliver on this. The very backbone of the training however, and the lasting success of the programme, was undoubtedly provided by Mr Yurisich himself. I am particularly interested in the work of master-teachers, and through observing the work of these professionals for the past thirty-five years, I can confidently state that I have never seen more inspirational and more brilliant teaching than that provided by Mr Yurisich.
Mr Yurisich is also a successful businessman, and balancing books and writing detailed reports seem relatively straightforward tasks for him. He is a national treasure and one of Australia’s greatest artists and fiercest intellects. He is also a fascinating interlocuter and a man of culture and wide experience. His friends and students adore him, and no doubt appreciate his no-nonsense approach to life and living also.
Brad Cohen - Artistic Director of West Australian Opera
I have known Gregory Yurisich since 1998, when we worked together on a recording of Puccini’s Toscain London for the Chandos label.
Gregory’s major international career as a baritone, working at the highest echelons of our profession, bears ample witness to his talent, preparation and sensibility. He has been an ornament to Australian operatic culture for the past decades and a major Australian export to the industry abroad.
In my tenure as Artistic Director of West Australian Opera since 2015, I have also had the opportunity to observe the results of Gregory’s activities as a singing teacher. In that period, he has been my first recommendation for any young singer seeking technical and vocal wisdom, training and development. His teaching has complemented our company’s Young Artist program, and he and I have collaborated on occasion in appraising and responding to a young singer’s search for development.
In these two areas – as a performer and as a teacher – I can vouch for Gregory’s tenacity, skill and expertise, coupled with talent and a passion for singing and the operatic artform. He is a major presence and I recommend Gregory Yurisich to your consideration.
Andrew Foote - Head of Vocal Studies
Conservatorium of Music, University of Western Australia
It is with pleasure that I recommend to you Gregory Yurisich – a colleague I have known since c1990 and worked with on a few occasions as a junior colleague (West Australian Opera), a contracted external artist (Australian Opera Studio), and as a teaching peer.
Mr Yurisich had an international reputation as an operatic and concert performer of the highest standards – evidenced by his frequent return appearances in major operatic principal roles within the world’s leading opera houses. Prior to his move to Europe, I saw him at the (then) Australian Opera in a small comedic role of a bumbling priest in which he not only sang beautifully but acted with a sense of real comic timing. Subsequent return visits to Perth at the peak of his performing career displayed musical and theatrical excellence within the title roles Falstaffand Rigoletto. More recently, and after his retirement from international singing, I had the pleasure of hearing a concert of Finzi Song cycles in August 2013 which I still reference to my university students as an exemplar of concert practice. In my estimation, during his extensive career of performing and recording with many of the leading artists of the late 20thcentury there was a very small number of his peers who met or exceeded Mr Yurisich’s musical and vocal artistry. A cursory internet search will provide far greater breadth and detail and requires no further comment from me.
Upon his retirement from full-time singing, Mr Yurisich returned to Perth, Western Australia, and co-founded the Australian Opera Studio, a specialist establishment which taught and refined a broad range of skills to a small cohort of predominantly post-graduate singers. It was in this context that I have had most contact with him. During its all-too-brief decade of operation (closed due to funding cuts) I considered The Studio a de facto Graduate Diploma or Professional Masters program for elite singers. In this unique Australian intensive program, largely devised and delivered by Mr Yurisich, the singers were exposed to the entire spectrum of operatic and concert skills (language and music coaching, vocal technique, musicianship, acting, fencing, etc) and each highly-intensive block of instruction – which I observed seemed to mirror the demands of the industry – culminated in numerous full productions of operatic works and recitals each year. It is noteworthy that of the singers selected for this elite program, all have proceeded into the opera profession, and most continue as principal artists with distinction both internationally and nationally. I consider this a testament to the selection process and the level of instruction under Mr Yurisich’s guidance and instruction.
Within the context of The Studio, and in Masterclasses that Mr Yurisich has delivered at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in the past few months, I have observed what I consider a gifted teacher’s heart. Mr Yurisich understands the text, the music and the techniques required to bring these aspects together at the highest level. He has a wonderful “ear”, strong views and opinions, insight and instincts borne out of his extensive experience as a performer and teacher, and uncompromising standards. More than this, he has the ability to communicate thoughts, ideas and concepts in an encouraging manner that constantly strives for excellence.
Emma Matthews - Head of Classical Voice and Opera Studies
West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University
I’m honoured to have been asked to write this testimonial for Mr Gregory Yurisich. Mr Yurisich has had a remarkable career as an internationally acclaimed opera singer. Since retiring from the stage, he has had an equally accomplished career as a singing teacher. He has had many students who have gone on and are having successful performance careers after being in his studio. Mr Yurisich has been teaching for over 25 years and his knowledge of the voice and its workings is incomparable.
I first met Mr Yurisich in January this year when we instantly realised that we both shared a passion for teaching and wanting the best for our students. As a result of this meeting, Mr Yurisich has run a series of Masterclasses at WAAPA (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, ECU). They have been most insightful and very well received. I have sent students of mine to Mr Yurisich for advice on vocal health issues and he has always been generous and helpful in his response. I, as a new teacher, have found his methods and teaching language most informative and inspiring.
I consider Mr Yurisich to be a trusted colleague, his expertise on singing technique, stage craft and characterisation is inspirational. I am very grateful to him for making my transition from a performance career to teaching at WAAPA a much easier process. He has always been helpful and supportive.
Mr Yurisich is loyal, passionate and very sought-after teacher. I highly recommend him as a colleague and as a gentleman.