Cheryl Barker

© Keith Saunders


Cheryl Barker pursues an active opera and concert career.  In Australia, she appears regularly with Opera Australia, where her roles have included Nedda (Leoncavallo I pagliacci), the Countess (Mozart Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì (Puccini La bohème), Violetta (Verdi La traviata), Donna Elvira (Mozart Don Giovanni), Tatyana (Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin), all three sopranos in Puccini Il trittico, Desdemona (Verdi Otello) and the title roles in Puccini Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Janáček Jenufa, Dvořák Rusalka and Strauss Arabella.  She has also sung Mimì, Antonia (Offenbach Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) for the Victoria State Opera, Violetta for Opera Queensland, and Madama Butterfly and Violetta for New Zealand Opera.

Internationally, Cheryl is particularly noted for her performances of Madama Butterfly, singing this role for English National Opera, De Vlaamse Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Dutch National Opera, Houston Grand Opera and the Opéra National de Paris.

Cheryl appears regularly on the recital and concert platform and her many recordings include Madama Butterfly, Katja Kabanova, Rusalka and The Makropoulos Case for Chandos.

Cheryl was awarded the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.



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    DVORAK: Rusalka (Rusalka)

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Dec 12

    Opera Australia / Richard Hickox

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    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Nov 12

    ANACEK: The Makropulos Case (Emilia Marty), English National Opera / Sir Charles Mackerras

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    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Oct 12

    JANACEK: Katya Kabanova (Katya), Welsh National Opera / Carlo Rizzi

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    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Oct 12

    PUCCINI: Madam Butterfly (Madam Butterfly), Philharmonia Orchestra / Yves Abel

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    Label: Melba

    Release Date: 01 Aug 12

    PUCCINI: Opera Excerpts, Orchestra Victoria / Richard Bonynge

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    Great Opera Arias

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Jul 12

    Great Opera Arias: Cheryl Barker, London Philharmonic Orchestra / David Parry

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    03 Mar 18 Hamlet / Adelaide Festival Adelaide Festival Theatre
    Stage Noise

    “Ophelia’s rejection and subsequent disintegration have rarely been as affecting as played and sung by Lorina Gore. Her initial athleticism and physical confidence add a dreadful #metoo element to what happens and the result is genuinely shocking – even though we know what’s coming.

    This is also in part due to Cheryl Barker’s Gertrude. She is a woman who knows she’s a political parcel, passed around the royal court and as immaterial as any chattel. Her dignity and compassion towards Ophelia are a painful contrast to how she is treated and the two women excel in their portrayals, both vocally and histrionically.”

    Diana Simmonds, Stage Noise, 3 March 2018

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    24 Jul 14 Adriana Lecouvreur
    Opera Holland Park
    “The diva in the title role is Cheryl Barker, who holds the stage and sings her two big arias with a balance of emotion and poise”

    Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 25th July 2014

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    22 Feb 14 Elektra: 22 February 2014
    Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Opera House
    “As her straight-laced sister Chrysothemis, yearning for the return of some semblance of normality, Cheryl Barker is absolutely ideal and the perfect vocal and dramatic foil. Her glittering soprano matches Goerke note for note, soaring over the orchestra with no sign of fatigue. Her radiant recollection of her friends at the well with their babies (set to another waltz) is heart-breaking.”

    Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine, 23 February 2014 

    “Cheryl Barker brought a different style of warmth and projection, finely glazed and less elemental. “

    Peter McCallum, Sydney Mornign Herald, 24 February 2014 

    “Elektra requires three female singers of the highest calibre and Cheryl Barker provided the third of these. Adding to a string of highly acclaimed Strauss roles, her portrayal of Chrysothemis, Elektra’s conventional sister who is more interested in acquiring a husband and children than bloody revenge, provided a foil to the histrionics of her mother and sister. With soaring, lyrical upper notes, her voice and feminine appeal acted as a striking contrast.”

    Heather Leviston, Sounds Like Sydney, 25th February 2014 

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    01 Oct 12 Salome / October 2012
    Opera Australia

    “This performance, combining impressive vocal clarity, power and stamina alongside theatrical persuasiveness, opens a new horizon of possibilities in the darker dramatic roles and was as compelling as anything she has done, right up to the lurid A-sharps of her consummating kiss.”

    Peter McCallum / Sydney Morning Herald / 15 October 2012

    “Heading a uniformly strong cast is soprano Cheryl Barker, who offers a magnificent performance as Salome. Conveying her character’s intense sexuality, her acting assuredly moves between capricious petulance, manipulative coquettishness and unhinged erotic obsession.”

    Murray Black / The Australian / 15 October 2012

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    01 Jul 12 Die Tote Stadt / Opera Australia
    Sydney Opera House, July 2012

    “As Mariette, Cheryl Barker had the combination of strength and warmth that has become her hallmark. In the first act, the warmth manifested itself as a generous vibrato, but she sang the climactic aria of the final act with all the dramatic focus and power demanded by the 19th-century operatic musical tradition on which Korngold draws.”

    Peter McCallum / Sydney Morning Herald / 2 July 2012

    “Soprano Cheryl Barker plays the dual roles of Marie and Mariette. Her richly coloured timbre and energetic portrayal capture the latter’s beguiling nature while her pure-toned intensity make a haunting impact as Marie.”

    Murray Black / The Australian / 2 July 2012

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    01 Oct 11 Tosca
    Opera Queensland / October 2011

    “You can’t have a great Tosca without a great Tosca, and renowned Australian soprano Cheryl Barker turns in a fine rendering of the title role in Opera Queensland’s final mainstage presentation for the year.
    Since her launch as Mimi in Baz Lurhmann’s landmark La Bohème back in the 1990s, Barker has built an impressive international career, boasting engagements with such blue-chip houses as the Paris Opéra and London’s Covent Garden. On Saturday, a first night Brisbane audience had the opportunity to sample her talents in what is probably the ultimate diva role in the repertoire.
    Perhaps most impressive was the comparatively subtle shading that Barker brought to a character usually associated with histrionics. The Tosca we were offered was no harpy. Rather she was a strong-willed, affectionate, impulsive woman caught in a particularly nasty nexus of political and sexual intrigue. Barker’s portrayal demonstrated ample stagecraft, especially the intensity of her stillnesses in the second act, as the heroine mentally grapples with her choices. The voice impressed with its power and variety of colourings employed, including choices to speak rather than sing some phrases for dramatic effect. Above all, Barker’s sensitive musical phrasing was in evidence in the celebrated aria Vissi d’Arte, sung as the heroine finds herself about to become the victim of what is in effect a contractual rape. The last note was heaved into a despairing groan of protest, a moving touch.” / 17 October 2011



Wozzeck Marie

The Turn of the Screw The Governess / Miss Jessel

Adriana Lecouvreur Adriana

Rusalka title role

La Vida Breve Salud

The End of the Affair Sarah

Jenufa title role
Katya Kabanova title role
Jenufa title role
The Makropoulos Case Emilia Marty

Tosca title role
Madama Butterfly Cio-Cio San
Turandot Liu
Il Tabarro Giorgetta
Suor Angelica Suor Angelica
Gianni Schicchi Lauretta
La Boheme Mimi, Musetta
Manon Lescaut Manon

Christmas Eve Oskana

Capriccio Countess
Salome title role
Arabella title role
Der Rosenkavalier Marschallin

Eugene Onegin Tatyana
Pique Dame Lisa

The Midsummer Marriage Jenifer

Otello Desdemona
La Traviata Violetta

Francesca da Rimini title role