Prudence E Dunstone - Mezzo Soprano

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Prudence Dunstone has performed many principal roles with the State Opera of South Australia and the Australian Opera, in operas including Rigoletto, Die Walküre, Lucia di Lammermoor, Death in Venice, The Gondoliers, The Magic Flute, Carmen, La Traviata, Salome, Falstaff, Eugene Onegin and Le Nozze di Figaro. Highlights have included the title role in Handel’s Ariodante, Katisha in The Mikado and Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera. She has also prepared the role of Penelope in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria for De Nederlandse Opera. Ms Dunstone appeared as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music for the Sydney Vocal Arts Centre.

Ms Dunstone has made recital broadcasts for the ABC, and sung as a soloist with ABC orchestras for performances including The Messiah and Schubert’s Mass in C. She has appeared as a soloist with the Adelaide Harmony Choir in the St Matthew Passion, and in Sydney with the Philharmonia Choirs for the Mozart Requiem, C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater. She has performed Berlioz’s song cycle Les Nuits d’Été with the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, and has also performed as a soloist with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

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In 2008, Ms Dunstone performed the song cycle Fünfzehn Gedichte aus ‘Das Buch der hängenden Gärten’ by Schoenberg with pianist Miss Maryleigh Hand in Adelaide.  

Engagements in 2009 included full length recitals (with pianist Maryleigh Hand) in Sydney and Adelaide (to raise funds for the Adelaide Eisteddfod Society) entitled Reflections of Nancy Thomas, featuring the repertoire of the celebrated English contralto. The programs included Dvorak’s famous Gypsy Songs, Op. 55, performed in a new English version devised by Miss Dunstone.

In 2010, Maryleigh and Prudence collaborated in the recital, Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness, which included works by Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Barber and Burleigh. In 2011, they performed the recitals Robert, Clara & Johannes: Love & Friendship,  and Sweeter than Roses; and in  2012, A Tribute to Kathleen Ferrier and Youth and Love, all in Sydney. In 2013, they performed A Winter Romance, featuring songs by Duparc, Elgar, Richard Strauss and nineteenth century Italian composers, and in 2014, they appeared as part of Art Song Canberra’s concert series.

Prudence Dunstone studied in Adelaide at the Elder Conservatorium first as a flautist, and then as a singer, graduating with First Class Honours. She studied  with the acclaimed Australian soprano, Marilyn Richardson. She held a cadetship with the State Opera of South Australia from the Music Board of the Australia Council, and then moved to Sydney to work with the Australian Opera, where she was a member of the ESSO Young Artists Development Program. She later studied singing in London with Gita Denise and in New York with Daniel Ferro.


An Australian Postgraduate Award enabled Ms Dunstone to undertake a PhD in musicological research at the University of Newcastle. Her topic was concerned with performance practices in early nineteenth century Italian vocal music for women, and included a full thesis with five discs of recorded live concerts, illustrating the research. Ms Dunstone has had work published by Cambridge Scholars Press (London) and in Australian Voice.

Ms Dunstone has taught singing to undergraduates and postgraduates at the Wesley Institute (now Excelsia College), NSW. She has also lectured in harmony and counterpoint, musical analysis, orchestration and aural studies at tertiary level. She has taught singing since 1984, preparing students for AMEB, HSC and tertiary examinations and auditions. She has been an adjudicator for the National Amateur Song Contest and Lake Macquarie Eisteddfod (2001); Warringah Eisteddfod (2003), The Sydney Angels Singing Competition (2003), and the Cowra Eisteddfod (2015).

© Prudence Dunstone 2016.   email contact: