Deborah Cheetham


Lyric Soprano, Composer

Last Victorian Opera performance

Gorngany in Parrwang Lifts the Sky, June 2021

Parrwang Lifts the Sky Digital Access premiered on Saturday 19 June and is available on-demand until Sunday 19 December.

Last 3 major performances

  • Gorngany, Paarwang Lifts The Sky - Cheetham, Victorian Opera, 2021
  • Soprano Soloist, Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace - Cheetham, MSO, 2019
  • Morning Star, Milnjiya, River of Stars - Górecki, WA Ballet, 2018


  • BMusEd, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
  • DUniv, University of South Australia
  • AMusA - Flute

Age when you started singing

I cannot recall a time when I wasn’t singing.

Favourite opera

So difficult to choose. Puccini - Tosca, Verdi - Traviata, Gounod - Faust, Bellini - Norma and ANYTHING Dame Joan Sutherland happened to be singing at the time.

Favourite opera role to perform

Ella, Pecan Summer - Cheetham

A fun fact not many people know about you

I collect model trains (mostly Hornby, 00 gauge).

What do you like to sing in the shower? 

I like a good Bonnie Tyler power ballade from time to time but these days it’s usually some thematic material from what ever I happen to be composing at the time. 

Awards Media

  • Order of Australia 2014
  • JC Williamson Life Time Achievement - 2019
  • Melbourne Prize for Music - 2019
  • Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for service to music in Australia - 2019
  • Merlyn Myer Prize for Composition - 2018
  • Ariel Andrews Memorial Award  - 2017
  • Victorian Women’s Honour Roll - 2016
  • Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll - 2019
  • Rotary Club Melbourne Vocational Award - 2013
  • Limelight Magazine’s Critics Choice Artist of the Year - 2019
  • Life Time Membership at the Melbourne Recital Centre - 2018

Media Quotes

“Soprano Deborah Cheetham…performing the most achingly beautiful Italian and French arias…treating us with her gorgeous singing” The Age (Australia)

“Deborah Cheetham’s creation of Pecan Summer as composer, librettist and director is extraordinary” Arts Hub 2011 (Australia)

“Milnjiya is rich in every sense. Cheetham’s glorious voice fills the air with the lament that is Gorecki’s Sorrowful Songs.” The West Australian

Pecan Summer, Act 2 Ella (Deborah Cheetham) and Alice (Jessica Hitchcock). Image by Jorge de Araujo
Milnjiya, Milky Way - River of Stars. Deborah Cheetham with Adam Alzaim, WA Ballet. Image by Sergey Pevnev
Deborah Cheetham as Gorngany in Parrwang Lifts The Sky - Victorian Opera
Deborah Cheetham in Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace. Image by Laura Manariti