Opera / Concert

Gary is a world-class singing teacher in his own right and one of the best vocal coaches in Australia. His understanding of the mechanism of the voice is intertwined with his passion for helping a singer to deliver clarity of text, a beautiful free sound, and compelling story telling. Gary is perceptive to all the challenges faced by singers having been a singer himself as well as an extensive knowledge of the operatic repertoire from a conductors point of view. My voice has been under the best care with Gary for the past four years. I have grown and been nurtured by a mentor who has a genuine passion and thirst for exceptional theatre and opera. I am convinced that our work is the reason why I have been accepted as a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, the most prestigious Opera Academy in the United States.
Rebecca Gulinello - Opera / Concert Performer


Opera Australia Production
"The Pirates of Penzance"
Photo: www.lightboxphotography.com.au
As a professional singer for the last ten years I have had my fair share of hurdles to jump, as most of us do.  The support I have had from Gary May in the four years I have studied with him, has been an invaluable help in being able to jump right over and well clear of those never ending career hurdles.  His incredible piano skills, his in depth scientific knowledge of vocal anatomy and his endless repertoire of music make him an extremely well-rounded teacher.  Not only has he helped me build a reliable and solid vocal technique, he has also given me the confidence and self belief that is required to keep getting out there and do what we do.  He is both a mentor and a teacher to me.  Even when I am off performing in another state, he always takes the time to pick up the phone and advise me on whatever dilemma I might be facing at the time.  I look forward to every lesson and always leave feeling thoroughly worked and inspired.  Gary May is a rare find and I would not be hitting the heights that I am in my career without him.

Rosie Harris - Opera / Concert / Musical Theatre Performer

To say that Gary is one of those "rare find" teachers and mentors is an understatement. Gary has the capacity of being able to convey the physiological changes in our bodies when we are singing in a way that is easy to understand and apply. He has an uncanny way of knowing when the timimg is right to impart his knowledge relative to our own personal vocal development. His extensive knowledge of the operatic repertoire, together with his musicality and accompanying skills contributes to his "hands on" approach. He is a teacher who is always committed to his students with their progress at the forefront of his mind. Often lessons would begin with the words : "I've been thinking about ....." "How can we improve .... make this easier .... make this richer .... make this less taxing on the voice....?" to name a few. Gary's attendance at rehearsals and performances is further evidence of his committment. I've studied with Gary for a number of years now and I can say with confidence that he has definitely helped me not only to grow as a person, but also contributed greatly to where I am with my voice today.

Phillip Calcagno - Opera / Concert Performer


Melbourne Opera Production
"The Barber of Seville"
Photo: David Wyatt www.capturingimages.com.au

Royal Melbourne Philharmonic
"Dido and Aeneas"

After graduating from the VCA in 2005 I found it difficult to keep motivated and focused on my singing. My technique was suffering and I felt that I was going backwards. In Gary I have been able to find a teacher who is committed to my development as a performer and constantly searching for ways to give me a technique that will serve me as a classical singer. He has given me confidence in many areas of performing and auditioning, and especially an understanding to trust in my own vocal abilities. Every lesson feels like a great vocal workout without any muscle pain or constriction! I am so grateful to Gary for his contribution to my many successes as an opera singer including acceptance into The Victorian Opera’s Young Artist Programme for 2010.

Emily Uhlrich - Opera / Concert Performer

Gary’s extensive musical knowledge, sound set of ears and unique insight into the singer’s body and mind means he can decipher what needs to happen to help a singer realise their true potential.  I commenced lessons with Gary to explore the operatic tenor repertoire, quite a shift in direction after a professional career in musical theatre. Thanks to Gary I have been able to break down and understand the essential technical issues involved in classical voice production. These include the role of the abdominal muscles in sound production and breath management, a lower larynx position and the understanding of a speaking component (common to all styles of singing) which has allowed a smooth transition into the world of opera. His motivational teaching style and operatic background as a conductor, chorus master and repetiteur have helped me develop the necessary artistry required for this new career direction. I now have access to an easier top, a richer vocal sound and succeeded in breaking into the Australian operatic scene.

Paul Biencourt - Opera / Concert / Musical Theatre Performer

Victorian Opera Production
"Rembrandt's Wife"
Photo: Jeff Busby

Andres ( Hakan Hagagard - right )
Santa Fe Opera Production "Wozzeck"
In late 1997, it became clear to me that hidden in this pretty ordinary baritone was a tenor just waiting to get out. Equally clear was that to do this I needed a teacher with a reputation not just as a musician, but also as an expert technician. In Gary's capable hands I successfully made the transition, and now am singing in houses across Europe and the United States. The technique that Gary teaches has afforded me independence, freedom and confidence to solve my own problems, even in the most difficult circumstances when my teacher is not at hand.

Michael Smallwood - Opera / Concert / Cabaret Performer


It is an absolute necessity for a singer to have a second pair of ears. These ears have to be 100% trustworthy to tell you honestly when you sound like a dog and more importantly to let you know when you are on the right track. I certainly found this with the wonderful Gary May. I have learnt from him on and off for the past ten years and have always found him to be incredibly supportive in both roles as teacher and mentor. I know that if I walk into a lesson tomorrow, my voice is in good hands - using safe and reliable technical practices.
I can highly recommend Gary as an extremely fine instructor of the voice.

Sally-Anne Russell - Opera / Concert Performer


David in cabaret  
Chapel Off Chapel  
Gary May was my vocal coach for four years. I was recommended to him via a fellow cast member of The Phantom of the Opera. Gary's no nonsense approach to breathing and support were really the biggest changes he made for me. It was as if he took the mystical teaching of my past and with clear, easily understood exercises removed a lot of the excess thoughts and physicality associated with my perception of how to sing. The result is that now I have vocal freedom, a solid legitimate top C and a belief that I can sing now in either operatic or musical theatre / belt style without damaging my instrument. My fear of the high notes is almost gone.

David Rogers-Smith - Opera / Musical Theatre / Cabaret Performer

I studied with Gary May for eighteen months from 1999 - 2000, having had great difficulty making the transition from baritone to tenor repertoire. His teaching offered a general approach to singing which stressed the importance of freedom and placement. Within a short time much of the repertoire that I had previously sung with some difficulty became more accessible. He helped me to find and maintain the tenor tessitura without undue tension or vocal strain. Due to Gary's teaching I arrived in Europe with a strong technical foundation upon which to further my career.

Adrian Dwyer - Opera / Concert Performer


Australian Singing Competition
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra