• arts & culture

8 July 2016

Victorian soprano Helen Noonan passed away last week, having made a lasting mark on both stage and screen.

A trained actress, Noonan joined the cast of Prisoner in 1981 as receptionist Wendy Scott. She later appeared on I Can Jump Puddles, The Flying Doctors and Blue Heelers, amongst other things.

She was best known as a star of opera and music hall, however, and performed at home and abroad to wide acclaim.

Noonan's landmark role was the Ghost of Opera in Chamber Made Opera's Recital. She drew critical plaudits from around the world for her 75-minute solo performance, which travelled from London and Edinburgh, to Caracas and Costa Rica, to Hong Kong and all over Australia. Noonan was co-creator of this work with Douglas Horton and David Chesworth.

Amongst her career highlights was the role of Dame Nellie Melba in Peach Melba (Playbox), written specifically for Noonan by Therese Radic and featuring Melba's repertoire. She also appeared The Heiress, The Cars that ate Paris, Sweet Death and in Chamber Made Opera's Motherland, which played at the 2002 Melbourne Festival.

Her many music theatre appearances included The Venetian Twins, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and Closer than Ever at the Sydney Opera House. She was cast as Carlotta, the neurotic diva in The Phantom of the Opera, a role she performed over 1400 times.

Noonan performed a host of self-devised and written cabaret shows and recorded two albums, Women's Song and A Classic Case of Love

"She was a beautiful voice in my life and an inspiration. May she rest in peace," writes Therese Radic.

Noonan was an artistic force that will be sorely missed.