Bernadette Johns

Award: Sybil Tutton Award

Year: 2020

Genre: Classical

Instrument/voice type: Mezzo soprano

Location: Royal Academy of Music

Bernadette Johns is a prize-winning mezzo-soprano whose performances span opera, song, oratorio and choral repertoire. She studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Giles Underwood and Joseph Middleton, and looks forward to joining Royal Academy Opera in September 2020.

In 2020 Bernadette was selected as a Leeds Lieder Young Artist and was a finalist in the Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award, both with duo partner Alexandra Standing. Bernadette previously won the Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Song Prize in 2019, and was a finalist in the Somerset Song Prize 2019 with duo partner Hamish Brown. As a member of the Academy Song Circle Bernadette has performed assorted recitals at the Italian Cultural Institute and Austrian Cultural Forum.

Bernadette recently performed as the alto soloist in Bach’s St Matthew Passion alongside Nicholas Mulroy and Matthew Brook. She was an Academy Bach Scholar for the 2019 ‘Bach the European’ concert series at the Royal Academy of Music, solo performances including B Minor Mass with Masaaki Suzuki, St Matthew Passion with Trevor Pinnock, ‘Actus Tragicus’ with Philippe Herreweghe, and assorted cantatas with John Butt. Other recent performances include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai and Mozart’s Requiem.

On the operatic stage Bernadette has portrayed Octavian (Strauss/Der Rosenkavalier), Sesto (Mozart/La Clemenza di Tito), Marcellina (Mozart/Le nozze di Figaro), Idamante (Mozart/Idomeneo), Giovanna Seymour (Donizetti/Anna Bolena) and Vespetta (Albinoni/Pimpinone).

Bernadette is grateful for the support of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust and the Royal Academy of Music towards her Master’s studies, and to Help Musicians UK and the Clive & Sylvia Richards Charity for supporting her studies with Royal Academy Opera.
I am delighted to be a recipient of the Sybil Tutton Opera Award from Help Musicians. This award will significantly support me as I study on the Advanced Diploma in Opera at the Royal Academy of Music, a course which will help me in achieving my long-standing ambition of being a professional opera singer. On this course, I can build up a portfolio of roles, work with renowned directors and conductors, and prepare for professional auditions, so to be well-equipped to enter the professional world. Funding from Help Musicians will allow me to truly dedicate my time to my studies and my development as an artist, as there will be less pressure to support my living costs alongside my studies. I am particularly grateful for this award at such a precarious time in the classical music industry.