Obituary: Mezzo-Soprano Jacqueline Dark Dies at 55

By Francisco Salazar

On Oct. 3, 2023, Australian operatic mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark died at the age of 55.

The mezzo-soprano passed away in a Sydney hospital and the news comes a year after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and had previously undergone surgery and chemotherapy.

Dark was born in Ballarat and completed a physics degree. She went on to to teach in the field for about a decade before making the move to singing. She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts and began an extensive singing career appearing at some of Australia’s most prestigious opera companies including Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, and Pinchgut Opera. She also appeared with the Wiener Staatsoper and Opera Hong Kong as well as many of Australia’s leading orchestras and choirs.

Throughout her career, Dark performed operas by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Strauss, Rossini, and Wagner. She was also a well-known musical theatre performer and toured “The Sound of Music” in Australia. She also performed in the world premieres of Moya Henderson’s “Lindy,” an opera based on the death of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s baby Azaria, and Richard Mills’ Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. For her acclaimed performances, Dark won the Green Room Awards and the Helpmann Award.

Dark also appeared in the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” and was a guest panelist on ABC’s music quiz show “Spicks and Specks.”

In a statement, Pinchgut Opera said, “We are heartbroken to hear of the death of Jacqui Dark. She was a dear colleague and a close friend of all of us at Pinchgut Opera. She created the roles of Berenice in Vivaldi’s ‘Farnace’ (2019) and Venus, Filena and Morfeo in Cavalli’s ‘The Loves of Apollo and Dafne’ (2021) for us. Her irrepressible humour and zest and energy made her one of the greatest of all Australian mezzos. Her versatility and flexibility on the stage was matched only by her immense musicality. She will be sorely missed by all of us here at Pinchgut. We send our love to her family and dear ones.”