Classical music’s best and brightest come to Tyalgum

Xenia is the next big thing in Australian opera

SHE’S BEING touted as the next big thing in opera, and anyone who wants to confirm that for themselves can hear Lyric Mezzo Soprano Xenia Puskarz Thomas sing at Flutterbies Cafe on Saturday, July 8.

She will sing among others Purcell, Gounod and Mozart.
Puskarz Thomas had been a violinist with Queensland Youth Orchestras for almost six years (she plays with Queensland Youth Orchestra 2 and her sister Eugenie plays the cello with the Queensland Youth Symphony). However, she has recently been plucked from the orchestra to sing and she’s developing a following, not to mention creating a buzz.

Queensland Youth Orchestra director John Curro, says Puskarz Thomas is not renowned for her violin playing but when he first heard her sing he was enraptured.
“She’s a huge talent. She just knocked me off my feet,” Curro says.

Puskarz Thomas is in her third year of a four-year Bachelor of Music degree at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, where her voice teacher is Margaret Schindler.

While Puskarz Thomas is focused on her studies, she’s chuffed with the attention, but says she is doing what comes naturally and what she loves to do.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says. “Everything I do is involved in music and I want to be an opera singer.”

While still at school Puskarz Thomas did work experience with Opera Australia when they came to Brisbane, taking lessons with soprano Taryn Fiebig.

“I am obsessed with opera,” Puskarz Thomas says. “It’s always very emotional and very complicated and I love it.

You have to act and sing and opera is always a huge spectacle with a ridiculous plot. Nowadays, I cry at every opera.”

Since venturing into her singing career Xenia has been a featured soloist with several orchestras; since 2013 she has been a soloist in regional and interstate tours and recordings with Queensland Youth Orchestras, she has appeared as a guest artist with The Camerata of St. Johns Home Concert and was recently named by the Courier Mail as one of “Queensland’s 50 Best and Brightest.”

Performing with Xenia in the Tyalgum concert will be her sister, cellist Eugenie Puskarz Thomas, who has worked with the Queensland Youth Symphony for several years, and has played with the Brisbane Philhamonic Orchestra as well as many other ensembles and string quartets.

Completing the line-up will be Pianist Elli Welsh who completed a Bachelor of Music at The Queensland Conservatorium last year and is currently studying a Master of Music Studies under the guidance of internationally renowned teacher and performer Natasha Vlassenko.

Elli will perform a selection of solo items including Debussy, Mozart and more. The three artists will perform solo items as well as a trio. These include Elegie by Massenet, Bach Cantanta and some well known items by Puccini.

“These concerts are becoming a popular and unique opportunity for music lovers to see some of Australia’s emerging classical and opera stars perform in the very up-close-and-personal venue of Flutterbies,” said Solar Chapel from Hearts Aflame Productions.

“In years to come, I have no doubt that Xenia, Eugenie and Elli will be gracing the stages of the world’s best concert halls and opera houses so it’s a privilege for Hearts Aflame Productions to be able to bring them together in Tyalgum.”
The Flutterbies Cottage Café concert will be presented in the olde world surrounds of The Little Shop Next Door from 2.30pm on Saturday, July 8. Tickets are priced at $45 per person including afternoon tea or $35 per person for the show only.

Places are strictly limited so early reservations are recommended. Phone Hearts Aflame Productions on 0488 713 241 or book online at