Bass Stephen Bennett was a member of The Leonine Consort, and subsequently a founding member of The Song Company. In 1986 he joined The Australian Opera’s Young Artist Development Program and then became a principal bass with this company. In 1992, Stephen left The Australian Opera to pursue a freelance career. He has sung with Scottish Opera, Canterbury Opera, Opera New Zealand, Victorian State Opera, Lyric Opera of Queensland, State Opera of South Australia, Western Australian Opera, Pinchgut Opera and Opera Australia.
Stephen’s operatic roles include: Don Giovanni, Leporello, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Sarastro and Speaker in The Magic Flute, Publio in La clemenza di Tito, Achilla in Julius Caesar, Mephistopheles in Faust, Arkel in Pelléas and Mélisande, Colline in La bohème, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, and Claggert in Billy Budd. In 2000, he won the Victorian Arts Centre Green Room Award for Best Operatic Artist in a Featured Role for his performance as John Claggert in Billy Budd.
Stephen Bennett also appears regularly in concerts and recitals with the state symphony orchestras and choral societies, and for orchestras and choirs in New Zealand. In 2000, he sang in Rudolf Tobias’ Des Jona Sendung with the WDR Orchestra in Cologne. His concert repertoire includes the Mozart Requiem, the Verdi Requiem, Bach’s B Minor Mass, St John Passion, St Mathew Passion, Christmas Oratorio, many cantatas including the solo cantata BWV 82 Ich habe genug, Haydn’s Creation and Handel’s Messiah, Samson, Joshua, and Acis and Galatea.
In recital and for radio broadcast, Stephen has sung Schubert’s song cycles Die Winterreise and Schwanengesang, Brahms’ Four Serious Songs, Poulenc’s Chansons Gaillardes, Finzi’s Let us Garlands Bring, and many recitals of songs by Strauss, Wolf, Schubert, Britten and other composers. He appears on ABC Classics recordings of Semele of Handel, Fairy Queen of Purcell and Dardanus of Rameau.
For Opera Australia in 2011, he sang Nilakantha in Lakmé and Leporello in Don Giovanni, appeared as Elviro in Xerxes for New Zealand Opera, as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte for Opera Queensland and as Christus in Bach’s St. John Passion for Sydney Philharmonia. In 2012, he sang The Speaker in The Magic Flute for Opera Australia and appeared in concert in Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart and New Zealand.