LAUNCESTON singer Nick Tolputt has already made history as the only countertenor student at the University of Melbourne's Conservatorium during his three-year degree course.
When the former St Patricks College student and Launceston actor turned up at the conservatorium in 2011, he was the first countertenor student at the prestigious national training facility for eight or nine years.
As he prepares for his last year of study in Melbourne, Mr Tolputt has every intention of continuing his history-making ways.
He was recently awarded the Dorothy N. Glover Music Trust Scholarship - a $10,000 Northern Tasmanian music trust scholarship.
He hopes it will pay for lessons in Switzerland with Andreas Scholl, one of the world's best known proponents of the specialised countertenor level of singing.
``The countertenor voice is the rarest of voice types,'' Mr Tolputt said while home on university summer holidays.
``Its range is that of an alto or mezzo.''
Countertenors are men who mostly come from the baritone range who have the physical prowess to train to produce the trademark falsetto which has become an unusual and sought after skill in the world of opera.
It took Mr Tolputt a while to decide on this artistic path.
He completed the first year of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Tasmania double majoring in English and philosophy after being heavily involved in the local theatre scene.
His arts degree was deferred when he was accepted as a Bachelor of Music student at the Melbourne Conservatorium two years ago majoring in classical voice.
But he successfully auditioned for the Melbourne university as a baritone.
``A couple of months before I found out that I had been accepted my music teacher here in Launceston - Benjamin Martin - said `you should think about singing countertenor'.
``Most people by the time they get to the conservatorium have gone through the AMEB examination system, they are familiar with their voice tone and have developed a repertoire - I was just discovering what I could do,'' he said.
Before Mr Tolputt returns for his final year of study in Melbourne, he will be guest performer at Saturday's Gravelly Beach Australia Day foreshore fun day.