Joseph Arthur


Amid the COVID-19 shutdown, Monash University student and professional opera singer, Shoumendu Schornikow, is making the most of his break from work.

The 31-year-old works with Opera Australia as a principal artist and like so many others, has found himself at a loose end with work closed indefinitely.

“The whole opera industry has been impacted quite severely by the coronavirus situation,” Schornikow said.

“No gatherings means no performances, so all the works off for the foreseeable future.”

However, despite the indefinite suspension of all upcoming performances, the masters of teaching student has found a significant silver lining.
Shoumendu and his wife have a four-month-old daughter named Rani, and with work postponed, he has all the time in the world for her.

“It’s obviously not ideal to lose a big chunk of work, but it is a real silver lining that I’m home with my wife and daughter all day,”he said.

“Around my studies I can essentially just be a Dad the rest of the time and I’ve often thought to myself, ‘it would be good to have a bit more time (with my daughter)’ and this situation has kind of forced that to happen.

“I’m really enjoying getting to devote a lot more time to my daughter.”

Between his Master of Teaching - Primary Education studies and full-time Dad duties, Shoumendu has been keeping his voice finely tuned in preparation for his return to performing post COVID-19.
He said the extra time to practice has given him the opportunity to work on the basics of performing, something difficult to practice when on-stage full-time.

“When you’re performing full-time you often don’t get as much time to focus on technique because you’re working on the next role and being on stage has its own demands,” he said.

“So it’s good to go back to basics, focus on basic techniques…and I believe when the opera eventually goes back, I’ll be in tip-top shape and ready to go.

“The little one quite enjoys the singing as well, so I’ve still got a captive audience at home.'