Last week auditions for the Help Musicians UK Opera Awards (supported through the Sybil Tutton Trust) auditions were held at the National Opera Studio. The awards support advanced training at the UK’s most prestigious opera courses at institutions such as Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Welsh International Academy of Voice, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Academy of Music.
Students performed in front of an illustrious panel chaired by Soprano Valerie Masterson CBE current vice-president of British Youth Opera and former principal soprano with the ENO, Mezzo Soprano Jean Rigby who also has a long association with the ENO, lyric tenor Nigel Robson noted for his Britten performances, and Bass- Baritone Henry Waddington regular singer at Glyndebourne Festival.
"It is rather wonderful to think 17 singers will be assisted in their studies- some special ones too- watch this space." - Jean Rigby
The standard of auditions was high and total of 17 awards were made ranging from £2,500 - £4,500. The £5,000 Richard Van Allan Award for an outstanding male opera singer was awarded to Baritone Benjamin Lewis. Also a previous Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award recipient, Benjamin has been recently employed in the Grasington Opera Chorus and will be training at National Opera Studio from September.
Soprano Emma Stannard who will take a place on the Royal Academy of Music’s Opera Course says: "Thank you to everyone at Help Musicians UK and the Sybil Tutton Trust for this award. It is so gratefully received and will make such a difference to my last year of study."