Student Renata Zilli Montero is singing at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Supriya Kasaju
Student Renata Zilli Montero is singing at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Supriya Kasaju

Macquarie University student to perform at Sydney Opera House

A visit to the Sydney Opera House is top of the must-see list for most international students but Renata Zilli Montero of Mexico is actually performing in its Concert Hall later this year.

“Last session I attended the Sydney Opera House’s 40th anniversary concert,” says Renata, who is studying both a Master of International Relations with the degree of Master of International Trade and Commerce Law.

“While I was there, chatting with my friends, I mentioned I used to sing opera, and that I love classical music. My friend told me to check the website of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs for any opportunities to sing for them.” She applied, not realising that the choir was planning performances at the Opera House.

Her audition for the choir was the same day as a major assignment was due. Thankfully the choir’s general manager rescheduled her audition, and within days Renata was invited to join the choir’s 2014 Festival Chorus as Soprano 1, performing in the Opera House in October and December.

It will be the biggest performance of Renata’s singing career and her mother is flying from Mexico to see her debut on one of the most famous stages in the world. Meanwhile in Mexico, her Opera House performance is gathering buzz.

“I think the biggest venue I had performed in was at the Luis Elizondo Theatre in Monterrey, Mexico. Nothing as big and famous as the Sydney Opera House,” Renata says. “I’m here because of all the people who helped me.”

Renata loves Macquarie University’s multicultural atmosphere. Photo: Sze Kai Chen

Away from rehearsals, Renata, who has a Macquarie University International Scholarship, loves the multicultural atmosphere of her chosen campus as much as living in the city that the Sydney Opera House calls home. She first came to Australia on an exchange two years ago and, “fell in love with the place.”

“Multiculturalism is one of the greatest things that Macquarie has exposed me to. I believe it is a privilege to be seated in the same room with classmates and professors from all over the world. It is an enriching and unique experience,” she says.

And while her singing talent has propelled her to the Opera House’s stage, she continues to focus on studying and is ready for the challenge of juggling rehearsals with her assessments and exams.

“Music plays one of the biggest roles in my life; as I see it as my mate,” she explains. “I seek music in all dimensions and aspects of my life. I find music relaxing and find relief in it. I am able to express my happiness through music.  But when I was a teenager, I was unsure if music could guarantee economic stability and independence. I do not regret the switch because I love my degree and all the experiences I’ve gained during my studies. It has made me who I am today.”


Renata will be performing Belshazzar’s Feast in October and Carols at the House in December. Buy tickets from the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs website.

The Master of International Relations with the degree of Master of International Trade and Commerce Law is designed for both lawyers and for those with a strong interest in international business, environmental and commercial law, and international affairs.

Macquarie University has one of the most generous scholarship programs in Australia, and provides opportunities each year to many students to undertake studies here.