Shelley Hayton made her stage debut for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of South Australia in 1986. Since then she has performed on many and varied stages and lent her vocal talents to many South Australian operatic productions. In doing so she has been the worthy recipient of several major Awards including The State Opera of South Australia Aria Award; the Alma Doxford Aria Award; and the Mezzo-Soprano Award at the Royal South Street Competitions in Ballarat.
Shelley studied Voice at Elder Conservatorium (Adelaide), the Victorian College of the Arts, the Melba Conservatorium (Melbourne), and at the Sydney Conservatorium. While at the Sydney Conservatorium she was chosen to have Lieder coaching with world-renowned Wolfram Christ (Berlin Philharmonic), performing Brahms’ Zwei Gesänge with him in June 1996.
She made her principal debut with State Opera of South Australia in the critically acclaimed Australian Premiere of Nixon in China for the 1992 Adelaide Festival. In August 1992, Shelley appeared at the Sydney Opera House as a finalist in the Australian Singing Competition (a bit like an Opera version of Australian Idol!) and was invited to join the Australian Opera (Company) as a result. She has also been a chorus member with State Opera of South Australia and the former Victorian State Opera.
Shelley created a tribute program ‘Ada Crossley’, to remember the great Australian Contralto of that name for Gippsland’s Tarraville School Centenary, which she later presented at Mietta’s, Rippon Lea and The Town Hall, Melbourne; and Urrbrae House, Adelaide. She has also performed as a principal artist with Rockdale Opera in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2001, in The Tales of Hoffmann, Ruddigore, Patience, The Barber of Seville, and Cavalleria Rusticana. She has also performed as Alto Soloist with The Sydney University Graduates Chorale and other Choral groups. She has sung, with soloists from Opera Australia, the Beethoven Mass in C Minor with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Tom Woods.
Shelley understudied four roles for the recent South Australian production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2004. 2005 saw her fulfilling a lifelong wish to perform the role of ‘The Mother Abbess’ in The Sound of Music and in March 2006 she sang the role of the ‘Third Lady’ in The Magic Flute for North Sydney Opera.
In July 2006 Shelley was a member of the original cast recording for the musical Angels, which was workshopped on Broadway, (New York City) in September 2006.
Shelley taught Voice for 9 years at the School of Creative Arts, Christian City Church, Oxford Falls, and now teaches privately specialising in the rehabilitation of hurt/injured voices – both for Singers and Voice Specialists. She also shares (or passes on) her knowledge in this area by training other Vocal Teachers in her techniques! She has also been exceptionally busy over the last 6 years undertaking further training in pastoral care and ministry, finally signing off with her qualifications at the end of 2007.
2007 also saw Shelley put her exceptional talent into more tangible projects by going into the studio to make her first albums – not only in singing some of her favourite numbers but also in penning 5 of her own original songs! She has also organized and performed in a number of concerts for charity and, in perhaps one of the highlights of it all, had the opportunity to perform in South Korea in April of 2007 to much acclaim.
This year Shelley has also performed a number of times at ‘Bar Me’, Jazz Cellar, in Sydney’s Kings Cross taking the opportunity of extending her repertoire and introducing herself to a different audience.