helen medlyn & penny dodd

helen medlyn - bio


click genre or use scroll bar:

cabaret shows
theatre
opera
musicals
variety/light music concerts
vocal symphonic works/classical concerts
oratorios
narrations
recordings
mistress of ceremonies/guest speaker
charity involvement
film/television appearances, radio plays/stories
directing/performance masterclasses
arts administration
skills acquisition


Helen Medlyn

Helen Medlyn is a girl who's hard to define. She's a self-described Jill Of All Trades, having been - at one time or another - a jazz chanteuse, a dancer, an actress, a musical theatre performer, a narrator, a classical concert singer, a voice-over artiste, an opera diva and a cabaret entertainer...sometimes, all in the same performance! Using her innate sense of fun, her musicality and her love of language she's been acclaimed both here and overseas for stamping her own style on all that she does! Whether she's standing serenely, statue-like, on the concert platform singing the major classical repertoire with a symphony orchestra or she's slithering, bosoms akimbo, over a grand piano and steaming up a few spectacles with a torch song or two, Helen loves to to be up there.

Just a few highlights from her varied body of work include playing Prince Orlovsky in "Fledermaus" for Opera Australia; portraying Concepcion in "The Spanish Hour" for NBR NZ Opera; singing Herodias in "Salome" with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, understudying Brangaene in "Tristan and Isolde" for the English National Opera; performing Gillian Whitehead's vocal cantata "Alice" with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (written especially for Helen); singing Elgar's "Sea Pictures" with the NZSO in Osaka and in Malvern, Elgar's birthplace with the Chandos Symphony Orchestra; singing Brahms's "Alto Rhapsody" with the London Philharmonic Choir and the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur; performing Mahler's "Song of the Earth" both with the APO and the NZSO; taking the role of Joy Gresham in the play "Shadowlands" at the Mercury Theatre; portraying Mrs Parker in the play "Daughters of Heaven" for the Auckland Theatre Company; playing Fraülein Schneider in "Cabaret" for the ATC; and creating and performing her 'hell' cabaret shows with Penny Dodd.

Although Helen embarked on her professional career in 1981 as a dancer in the NZ tour of "Evita", her performance work remained sporadic. Through the '80's, she took major roles in productions for the Mercury Theatre, Centrepoint Theatre and Auckland operatic societies but still retained her "day job". However, in 1989, Helen walked away from being a television and radio producer at the advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, and launched herself into a full-time professional performing career with her opera debut as Marthe in the Mercury Theatre's production of "Faust".

Honoured with being made an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate in 2002, Helen is now established as a regular guest artist with opera companies and orchestras throughout Australasia, Asia, America and Britain and continues to garner flattering critical acclaim for her distinctive performances.  

"Is there anything Helen Medlyn...New Zealand's favourite mezzo...can't sing?"
- William Dart, New Zealand Herald

"Helen Medlyn gives with passion, irony and a glorious voice. Her range is awesome, her charm and wit palpable."
- Susan Budd, New Zealand Herald.

"Medlyn has a great stage presence...an artist who understands the power and the meaning of the words and the music she uses."
- John Daly-Peoples, National Business Review


click here for helen's current schedule


helen medlyn - cabaret shows

Hell, Man - Herald Theatre, Auckland, also at Tauranga Festival, Christchurch Festival, Nelson Festival, Taupo Erupt Festival, excerpts at Karaka, Festival of Colour in Wanaka, excerpts at Waikato University, Blossom Festival in Hastings
raising hell - Herald Theatre, Auckland
hellcats - The Winter Garden, AK05 Festival, Auckland also at Fuel Festival in Hamilton
hell for leather - Herald Theatre, Auckland; Tauranga Festival
hellbent - Herald Theatre Auckland, Otago Festival Dunedin, Illot Theatre Wellington
hells belles - Taranaki Arts Festival New Plymouth
to hell with love - Maidment Studio Auckland
hell on heels - Maidment Studio Auckland; NZ International Festival of the Arts Wellington
tell me the truth about love - Downstage Theatre Wellington

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helen medlyn - theatre

"Liddy", role of Liddy, Unitec, Auckland
"The Hungry City", soloist, Watershed Theatre, Auckland
"Daughters of Heaven", role of Mrs Parker, Auckland Theatre Company
"The Rose Tattoo", role of Bessie, Mercury Theatre, Auckland
"Shadowlands", role of Joy Gresham, Mercury Theatre, Auckland

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helen medlyn - operas

Jenufa, role of Starenka, NBR New Zealand Opera
Hansel and Gretel, roles of The Mother and The Witch, NBR New Zealand Opera (New Zealand Tour)
Salome, role of Herodias, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (concert version)
Time Pieces, comprising The Spanish Hour, role of Concepcion and Ticked Off, role of Carlotta, Southern Opera
Faust, role of Marthe, NBR NZ Opera
Tristan and Isolde, role of Brangäne, English National Opera (understudy)
Boris Godunov, role of Innkeeper, NBR New Zealand Opera Der
Rosenkavalier, role of Annina, New Zealand Festival
Clemenza di Tito, role of Annio, Auckland Chamber Orchestra (concert version)
Falstaff, role of Mistress Quickly, NBR New Zealand Opera
So Far..., soloist, Inside Out Productions
Die Fledermaus, role of Prince Orlovsky, NBR New ZealandOpera
La Traviata, role of Flora, Alan Smythe Special Events
Cavalleria Rusticana, role of Lola, Opera New Zealand
Das Rheingold, role of Flosshilde, State Opera of South Australia
Die Walküre, role of Schwertleite, State Opera of South Australia
Götterdammerung, role of Flosshilde, State Opera of South Australia
The Spanish Hour, role of Concepcion, Opera New Zealand
Gianni Schicchi, role of Zita, Opera New Zealand
The Valkyrie, role of Siegrune, Sydney Symphony/ABC (concert version)
Fledermaus, role of Prince Orlovsky, Opera Australia
The Magic Flute, role of Third Lady, Opera Australia
Rigoletto, role of Maddalena, National Opera of New Zealand
Katya Kabanova, role of Glasha, New Zealand Festival
Hansel and Gretel, role of Mother, National Opera of New Zealand
Rigoletto, role of Maddalena, Opera Australia
Rigoletto, role of Maddalena, Opera New Zealand
Faust, role of Marthe, Opera New Zealand
Madam Butterfly, role of Kate Pinkerton, Opera New Zealand
Rigoletto, role of Maddalena, Opera Queensland
The Medium, role of Flora, Co-opera
Freud's Dora, Dora's Dream Voice (soloist), Paul Booth/Anatoly Frusin
The Magic Flute, role of Third Lady, Opera New Zealand
The Marriage of Figaro, role of Marcellina, Auckland Metropolitan Opera
Turandot, chorus, Mercury Theatre Auckland
The Barber of Seville, role of Berta, Mercury Theatre
Faust, role of Marthe, Mercury Theatre
Don Giovanni, chorus, Mercury Theatre
Riders to the Sea, chorus, Mercury Theatre
Madam Butterfly, chorus, Mercury Theatre

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helen medlyn - musicals

Oliver, role of Widow Corney, Auckland Theatre Company
High Society, role of Margaret Lord, Auckland Theatre Company
The Sound Of Music, role of Mother Superior, The Court Theatre, Christchurch
Into the Woods, role of Jack's Mother, the Auckland Theatre Company
Cabaret, role of Fraulein Schneider, the Auckland Theatre Company
Let's Do It, soloist, Mercury Theatre Auckland
Carousel, role of Nettie, Mercury Theatre
Fiddler On The Roof, role of Fruma Sarah, Mercury Theatre
Sweet Charity, role of Nicky, Mercury Theatre
Tomfoolery, soloist, Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North
Jesus Christ Superstar, role of Mary Magdalene, Mercury Theatre
Evita, chorus, New Zealand Tour

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helen medlyn - variety/light music concerts

Last Night of the Proms, Hawkes Bay Orchestra, Napier 2009
LATE Christmas Cabaret, Lion Foundation Events Centre, Auckland War Memorial Museum
Last Night of the Proms, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland 2009
Last Night of the Proms, Vector Wellington Orchestra, Wellington 2009
Cabaret Concert, The Queensland Orchestra, Brisbane Town Hall, Brisbane 2009
Symphony at the Basin, Vector Wellington Orchestra, Wellington 2009
Last Night of the Proms, Southern Sinfonia, Dunedin 2009
Summer Matinee, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Government House Gardens, Auckland 2009
Vinesongs, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Cable Bay Winery, Waiheke Island 2009
Sealord Opera in the Park, Nelson 2009
Last Night of the Proms, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland
Israel's 60th Birthday Celebrations, Auckland
Cabaret Concert, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch
Dame Kiri and Friends, Sealord Opera In The Park, Nelson 2008
A Night At The Movies, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland 2007
An Afternoon In Vienna, Vector Wellington Orchestra, Wellington 2007
Sealord A Night With The Stars, Nelson 2007
Lakeside Concert, Rotorua 2007
Classics At Sunset, Black Barn, Hawke's Bay Orchestra, Havelock North
Auckland On-Stage Exhibition Opening, Auckland Public Library
Anzac Tribute, Christchurch Symphony, Christchurch Town Hall
Opera In The Garden, Whangarei 2006
SkyCity Symphony Under The Stars 2006, Auckland Domain
Sealord A Night With The Stars, Nelson 2006
Last Night of the Proms 2005, Southern Sinfonia, Dunedin
SkyCity Starlight Symphony 2005, Auckland Domain
Arts Foundation of New Zealand Forums - Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch
"The Warehouse Concert", New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, Montana Warehouse, Auckland
Opera In The Garden, Whangarei 2004
Government House Garden Concert, Wellington Sinfonia, Wellington
Wild West, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Town Hall
Music and Laughter, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Bruce Mason Theatre
From Carmen to Carmina, NBR Opera New Zealand, Aotea Centre, Auckland
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's 21st Birthday Party, Auckland Town Hall
SkyCity Starlight Symphony 2003, Auckland Domain
Elvis and the Devil, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, Christchurch Festival
Heartland Tour, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, North Island Provincial Centres
Makin' Whoopee, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Canberra
Last Night of The Proms, Auckland Town Hall ('95,'97,'99)
Songs of the Auvergne, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Canberra
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Summer Matinee, Government House Auckland ('93,'94,'95,'99)
Picnic at Mudbrick, Waiheke Island
Martinborough Music Festival of Gershwin
CLEAR Stage and Screen Broadway Baby, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Aotea Centre, Auckland
Schweppes' Showtime, Auckland Domain
There's No Business Like Show Business, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Town Hall
Six of One, Half-a-Dozen of The Other, Manifesto, Auckland
Philips Opera In The Park, Auckland Domain ('95,'96)
Makin' Whoopee, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Town Hall
CLEAR Stage and Screen On A Clear Day, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Aotea Centre, Auckland
Bizet 2 Broadway, Hero Festival, Maidment Theatre, Auckland
Last Night of the Proms 1995, Dunedin Sinfonia (now Southern Sinfonia), Dunedin Town Hall
Caltex Light Side series Makin' Whoopee, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Aotea Centre, Auckland
Candlelight Opera Concert, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Hagley Park
Bizet to Broadway, Hero Festival, Maidment Theatre
Auckland Philharmonia Night at the Auckland Zoo
Corbans Winery Summer Matinee, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Corban's Winery, Henderson
The Wintergarden Concert, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Domain
Friends of Auckland Opera Italian Dinner, Cin Cin On Quay
Ladies For Lunch, Albert's Restaurant, Aotea Centre Lunchtime Concert
Carols with The Animals with the Auckland City Brass Band, Auckland
Friends of Auckland Opera Bouquet of Roses, Aotea Centre Foyer
Cockeyed Optimist, Albert's Restaurant, Aotea Centre Lunchtime Concert
We'll Meet Again, Clifford House, Auckland
Caltex Light Side Series West End Magic, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Aotea Centre 1992

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helen medlyn - vocal symphonic works/classical concerts

Handel "Lucrezia" (cantata), St Matthew's Chamber Orchestra, St Matthew-In-The-City, Auckland
Eve de Castro-Robinson "Len Songs" in "A Resonance of Emerald", Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Auckland
Prokofiev "Alexander Nevsky" and Karl Jenkins "The Armed Man", Christchurch City Choir, Christchurch
Mahler "Fünf Rückert Lieder", Manukau City Symphony Orchestra, Telstra Clear Events Centre, Manukau City
Prokofiev "Alexander Nevsky", Christchurch City Choir, Christchurch
Eve de Castro-Robinson "Len Songs", Taranaki Festival, New Plymouth
60 Years The Gala, Mahler "Resurrection", New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Arias and Arabesques, Manukau City Symphony Orchestra, Manukau
"Helen Medlyn in recital with Penny Dodd", Auckland Public Library
Elgar "Sea Pictures", Chandos Symphony Orchestra, Malvern, UK
Lunchtime Recital, Rosemary Barnes (piano) - Waikato University
Berlioz "Les Nuits d'Été", Wellington Sinfonia - Masterton, New Plymouth and Wanganui
Schubert Recital, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - Wellington Town Hall and Auckland Town Hall
Eve de Castro-Robinson "Len Songs", New Zealand Festival, Wellington
Elgar "Sea Pictures", New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - Osaka, Japan
Gillian Whitehead "Alice" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Auckland Town Hall
Bernstein Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" - New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - Michael Fowler Centre
Mahler Symphony No. 8 - Eugene Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - Eugene, Oregon, USA
Mahler Symphony No. 3 - New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia - Auckland Town Hall
Mahler Symphony No. 2 - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Auckland Town Hall
Elgar "Dream of Gerontius" - Auckland Choral Society/ Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Auckland Town Hall
Mahler "Das Lied von der Erde" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Auckland Town Hall
Prokofiev "Alexander Nevsky" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Auckland Town Hall; Southern Sinfonia - Dunedin Town Hall
Canteloube "Songs of the Auvergne" - Canberra Symphony Orchestra
Elgar "Sea Pictures" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Auckland Town Hall; Canberra Symphony Orchestra
Handel "Lucretia" - New Zealand Chamber Orchestra - St Mary's Church Wellington, Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland
Respighi "Il Tramonto" - New Zealand Chamber Orchestra - St Mary's Church Wellington, Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland

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helen medlyn - oratorios

Elgar "Dream of Gerontius", Angel Jenkins "The Armed Man", alto soloist
Beethoven 9th, alto soloist
Beethoven Missa Solemnis, alto soloist
Bruckner Mass, alto soloist
Handel Messiah, contralto soloist
Verdi Requiem, mezzo soloist
Bach St Matthew Passion, mezzo soloist
Rossini Petite Messe Sollonelle, mezzo soloist
Mozart Coronation Mass, alto soloist
Mozart Requiem, alto soloist

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helen medlyn - narrations

Stravinsky "A Soldier's Tale" - New Zealand Chamber Orchestra Walton
"Façade" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Poulenc "Babar the Elephant" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Kleinsinger/Tripp "Tubby the Tuba" - Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

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helen medlyn - recordings

Bernstein Symphony No 1 "Jeremiah" - NZSO under James Judd (NAXOS 8559100)
"darling, it's hell" - Helen Medlyn (voice), Penny Dodd (piano), Neil Hannan (double bass)

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helen medlyn - mistress of ceremonies/guest speaker

NAPTA Awards, Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland (MC)
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Guild, Old Government House Gardens, Auckland (MC)
Tuahine Club, Hamilton Events Centre, Hamilton guest speaker)
Rotary Club, Remuera, Auckland (guest speaker)
Athene Club, Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland guest speaker)
Aorangi Club, Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland guest speaker)
Marketing Magazine Marketing Awards - SkyCity New Zealand Room (MC)
NZ Association of Language Teachers' Conference - Langham Hotel (guest speaker; speech given: "Watch Your Language")
Ponsonby Probus Club, Freemans Bay, Auckland (guest speaker; speech given: "A Woman and her Music")
Friends of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Ellerslie War Memorial (guest speaker; speech given: "A Woman and her Music")
Zonta International 8th Biennial Conference, "Daring To Dream", Spencer On Byron, Takapuna (guest speaker; speech given: "A Woman and her Music")
"New York, New York" - SkyCity Auckland Room for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Guild (MC)
"Queen of the Whole Pacific" - SkyCity Theatre for the Aids Foundation of New Zealand (MC)
Sandy Short Memorial Lunch - VGB, Parnell (MC)
"A Russian Encounter" - the Hyatt for the Auckland Philharmonia Guild (MC)
"From Carmen to Carmina" - the Auckland Town Hall for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (MC)
Bayleys Gala Dinner and Opera Auction - the WestpacTrust St James Theatre for the NBR New Zealand Opera (MC)
"Mosaic of the Arts" - Eden Park for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, NBR NZ Opera and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (MC)

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helen medlyn - charity involvement

Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, "Music for the Children", Centrestage, Orewa, Auckland
Royal Forest and Bird, "Concert for the Birds", Playhouse Theatre, Glen Eden, Auckland
StarJam - "Simply The Best", Manukau City, Auckland
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Noel Coward and Other Naughtiness, Auckland
NZ Aids Foundation - "Queen of the Whole Universe", Aotea Centre, Auckland
NBR NZ Opera - Ayrlies Garden Concert, Auckland
Variety Club - Meet the Diva after the Opera ("Faust")
The Great New Zealand Spelling Bee, playing for the NZ Aids Foundation
Look Good, Feel Better "The Cotton Club" - Hyatt Hotel, Auckland
Auckland Philharmonia Summer Concert - "For Your Ears Only", Old Government House Gardens
Auckland Philharmonia On-Line Auction - Singing Lesson with the Diva
28th NZ Aids Foundation Gala Dinner - Auckland Town Hall
"Tsunami Dinner" - SkyCity Auckland Room, Auckland
Look Good, Feel Better "Diamonds and Divas" - Hyatt Hotel, Auckland
"Save Matiatia" - Waiheke Island, Auckland
Dame Kiri and Friends - Aotea Centre, Auckland
Vodafone Aids Media Awards - Carlton Hotel, Auckland
Plunket Society Parnell Fashion Week Launch - The George, Auckland
Aids Foundation Auction - Chiaroscuro Gallery, Auckland
Variety Club Caregivers' Luncheon - Stamford Plaza Hotel Auckland
Variety Club Gastrocomique - Heritage Hotel, Auckland
Opera New Zealand Auction - Sheraton Auckland Hotel and Towers
Deutz Aids Media Awards - Carlton Hotel, Auckland
Aids Foundation Circle of Friends Memorial Garden - Western Springs, Auckland

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helen medlyn - film/television appearances, radio plays/stories

radio plays - Shanty and The Angel; Run Out; Life of Nellie Edmonds stories - Rainy Day Purples; Romantic; Watermark

film - "Tommyknockers", doctor "Jack Be Nimble", nurse

television -The Great New Zealand Spelling Bee, celebrity guest, TVNZ "Dame Kiri and Friends", soloist, TVNZ "Give Us A Clue", celebrity guest, TV3 "Songs For Christmas", soloist, TVNZ "Shortland Street", role of Fiona Brannigan, South Pacific Pictures

television commercials - Herald On Sunday, Natural Gas, Diamond Pasta, Golden Fruit, Chatelle Brandy, Television One Network News, Bluebird Rashuns, Lazyboy Chairs, Sunday Star Times.

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helen medlyn - directing/performance masterclasses

"Curtain Up", Labour Weekend Workshop Tutor with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Opera Factory, Auckland
Centre City Music Theatre, Summer School Tutor, Senior College, Auckland
"The Old Maid and The Thief", Auckland University Drama Students
"Murder, Murder" (from "Jekyll and Hyde"), NZ National Singing School

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helen medlyn - arts administration

Governor - Arts Foundation of New Zealand

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helen medlyn - skills acquisition

drama - actors' space - tutor: Raymond Hawthorne
acting for television - tutor: Maggie Maxwell
singing - vocal teacher: Janice Webb; vocal coach: Rosemary Barnes  

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Contact Helen and the Hell HQ Team Here