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Opera Prize 2021
Sponsored by Ann Driver Trust
Sat 6 February, 7pm

It is not long now until this year’s Opera Prize. Just two weeks away.

This year’s is going to be a little different, but the singers need your support more than ever. 5/6 were able to come to Clonter to record on the stage, with one recorded across the border in Scotland. With the added bonus of our lovely new compère, Anna Meadmore. Turning a negative into a positive, what we would never be able to do under normal circumstances is to ask the singers to introduce their own arias, but this year they are going to do just that, enabling you to get to know the participants a bit better.

We very much hope you will join us, and cast your vote.


Opera Prize – Promo

(To book an e-ticket for this show, please scroll down)



Anna Meadmore

Anna has been a regular supporter of Clonter for many years, and since 2000, the assistant to Robin Humphries and Stephen Reynolds at the Opera Prize concert. She started her singing career with Glyndebourne Festival chorus in Angers, Grenoble and Paris, and was the second soprano soloist in Wagner’s opera “Das Liebesverbot” at Bayreuth. For 10 years she was a member of the BBC Singers, doing the Daily Service live from All Souls, Langham Place, as well as tours, recordings and Proms. As a finalist in both the Richard Tauber and Kathleen Ferrier competitions, she was invited by John Elliot Gardner to be a soloist with the Monteverdi Choir, singing in France, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium, and BBC Proms. She sang with Opera North, and for English National Opera understudied the role of “Jennifer” in Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage, with Lesley Garrett, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Anna was also principal soprano in Gilbert and Sullivan concerts, touring Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, beginning at the Sydney Opera House, followed by 47 concerts on a US and Canada tour, including the Lincoln Center, New York, UCLA California, and Queen Elizabeth Center, Vancouver. Her solo work with the English Bach Festival included staged productions at the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Opera House and Palace of Versailles, and recordings of Vivaldi for E.M.I. After moving to Cheshire, Anna was soprano soloist in “Voices for Hospices” performances of the Verdi Requiem and Haydn’s Creation, in simultaneous broadcasts for Radio 2. She gave a Manchester Mid-Day Concert recital, accompanied by Robin Humphreys, and further recitals at Jodrell Bank Planetarium and for the Knutsford Literary Festival at Tabley House. For Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra she has sung works by Mozart and Ravel, as well as the Strauss “Four Last Songs” with the Stockport Symphony Orchestra. For Wilmslow Opera she sang the principal soprano roles in La Traviata, La Sonnambula and Faust, and appeared for two years in the Manchester production of Phantom of the Opera, singing the role of “Carlotta” more than 150 times. As presenter, and adjudicator Anna has worked with “Music for Youth” at concerts in the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall London, and the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and compèred a “Millennium Prom” in Leeds Town Hall for the British Federation of Music Festivals. She is currently Chairman of the NW Region of the British Federation of Festivals.



Robin Humphreys

Robin Humphreys is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and a holder of the prestigious Diploma in Professional Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied piano accompaniment with David Lloyd. Appearing in concert both as a soloist and an accompanist for over 35 years, he now pursues a successful career as an accompanist and répétiteur, the breadth of his repertoire being reflected in television and radio broadcasts ranging from BBC Radio 3 to Emmerdale! At the RNCM, Robin is a senior music coach within the School of Vocal Studies, for whom he was also chief répétiteur on the majority of college productions from the late 1990s until 2013. He has appeared with the Manchester Camerata in the world premiere of “A Feast of Fables” by Paul Reade, has been Musical Director for Feelgood Theatre Productions and, from 1990-2000, Opera & Concert Productions (Worldwide) Ltd with whom he toured throughout the Gulf, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East. Robin has a particularly close association with Clonter Opera Theatre in Cheshire, where he regularly works as Assistant Musical Director and accompanist. He is also an accompanist member of the British & International Federation of Festivals.


Panel Members

Joan Rodgers CBE – Soprano

Joan Rodgers is equally established in opera, concert and as a recitalist. She has appeared in concert with conductors including Solti, Barenboim, Mehta, Harnoncourt, Mackerras, Ashkenazy, Salonen, Rattle, Elder and Bolton. She has appeared in recitals and concerts throughout Europe and the USA. Operatic engagements have included performances at all the major UK opera houses as well as in Paris, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Her many recordings include albums of songs by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Wolf, Fauré and Mozart and the three Mozart Da Ponte operas with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic. Joan Rodgers received the Royal Philharmonic Society award as Singer of the Year for 1997, the 1997 Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance in opera for her performance as The Governess in the Royal Opera’s production of The Turn of the Screw and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Liverpool University in July 2005. Joan Rodgers was awarded the CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List.

Steven Naylor – Director of Artistic Administration at Glyndebourne

We are so delighted to be welcoming Steven back into the fold, albeit virtually. One of the upsides of Covid-19! Steven Naylor read music at Cardiff University and continued his postgraduate studies in piano and piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music. He was given a Countess of Munster Award for further study with Geoffrey Parsons and completed his training at The National Opera Studio. He was the winner of The Royal Overseas League Accompanist’s Prize in 1985. He combined a successful career as an accompanist and opera coach working at Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam and Canadian Opera. In 2000 he was made a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music. Steven was appointed Director of Artistic Administration at Glyndebourne since 1998 and to date has collaborated on 21 seasons of productions for the Festival and Tour. In 2010 he was responsible for the development of the highly successful Jerwood Young Artist Programme.

David Gowland – Artistic Director, Jette Parker Young Artists Programme

David Gowland is Artistic Director of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. He has been associated with the Royal Opera House’s Young Artists Programme since its inception in 2000, initially as Director of Musical Preparation and from 2006 as Artistic Director. He regularly accompanies the Jette Parker Young Artists in recital. Gowland studied at the Royal College of Music, where he won several prizes for piano accompaniment, and at the National Opera Studio. He joined the Glyndebourne music staff in 1987, winning the 1988 Jani Strasser Award, and worked there for 20 years. He was Head of Music Staff at the Grand Théâtre de Genève 1989–96, assisting such conductors as Bruno Bartoletti, Bruno Campanella, Mark Elder, Philippe Jordan, Emmanuel Plasson, Jeffrey Tate, Christian Thielemann and Edo de Waart. He has worked as assistant conductor/senior coach with companies including Paris Opéra, Dutch National Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Rome Opera, Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, Teatro Real, Madrid, and the festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Chorégies de Orange, Salzburg and Wexford. He was senior coach on Der Ring des Nibelungen under Tate in Australia. Concert work has included the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals and the BBC Proms. Gowland is a visiting tutor with National Opera Studio, British Youth Opera, Scottish Opera Emerging Artists, New National Theatre Tokyo and all the major British conservatories. He is a regular jury member for national and international competitions and has given masterclasses in Holland, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

Clive Timms – Clonter’s Former Music Director

Clive Timms studied at Birmingham University and the London Opera Centre. He joined the music staff of ENO after a season with WNO and was subsequently appointed Assistant Music Director of Opera North on the company’s inception in 1978. For these companies he conducted a large number of performances of a varied operatic repertoire. He retired from the Guidhall School of Music & Drama in 2012 after 22 years as Head of Opera Studies, where in 2007 he was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for his work in the Opera Department. He was responsible for many notable productions, often of unusual and stimulating repertoire, the majority of which he conducted, latterly Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and the European première of Ned Rorem’s Our Town – and he continues to coach aspiring singers at the Guildhall School. His association with Clonter dates back to 1989 but more recently he has conducted the productions of La cenerentola, Lucia di Lammermoor, Hansel and Gretel, Die Fledermaus, Faust, Così fan tutte, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème and Don Giovanni.

Paul Wingfield – Head of Vocal & Operatic Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Paul has worked and performed with most of the leading UK opera companies including Royal Opera House, Opera North, English National Opera, Opera Holland Park and Birmingham Opera Company. He was a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House in 2012–14. During his time at the Royal Opera House he conducted numerous productions in the Linbury Studio Theatre and on the main stage, as well as numerous concerts. He was mentored by Sir Antonio Pappano and acted as his assistant conductor on Carmen, Gloriana and Die Zauberflöte. He regularly returns to the Royal Opera House to work with both opera and ballet productions. Recent work includes critically-acclaimed performances of Turn of the Screw (Bury Court Opera), La bohème (Opera Holland Park) and Goldilocks and The Three Pigs (The Opera Story) and as assistant conductor for The Skating Rink (Garsington Opera). He returns to Garsington in 2021 for Eugene Onegin. Paul is Head of Vocal & Operatic Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Jeffery Lockett MBE – Clonter’s Founder

Jeffery Lockett was born into a musical family. His mother, Betty Bannerman was a mezzo-soprano, and his father, Derek Lockett was treasurer and on the court of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Jeffery’s parents regularly hosted fundraising concerts in a music room his father created at their home in Cheshire. Jeffery read agriculture at St John’s College, Cambridge before carrying out National Service. After leaving university he joined the Milk Marketing Board as an agricultural consultant and ran the family Dairy Farm at Swettenham Heath. After attending a cattle auction in 1974, he had been impressed by the theatrical aspect of the arena and it inspired him and his wife, Anita, to hold a charity concert in one of the barns. He invited the Abbey Opera Group to bring an evening of operatic excerpts to his farm in Cheshire. A barn full of straw bales was converted for the night into an auditorium and the proceeds went to Cancer Relief. Since then Clonter Opera has expanded to become a 400 fixed seated auditorium with orchestra pit and undercover dining facilities for 400 people. Jeffery project managed every part of the expansion and was actively involved with all the building work. Anita created the costumes for many of the early concerts and later productions and is still involved with many aspects of production management. Clonter Farm Music Trust was founded in 1991. Jeffery became a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music in 1990; Master of the Musicians’ Company from 1990 to 1991; he was made Member of the British Empire for Services to Music in 2003 and in 2006 Clonter Opera received an MEN Theatre Award. In 2012 he received a Doctor of Music from the University of Chester in recognition of his outstanding contribution to opera.


Past Winners of the Opera Prize



‘Pay What You Feel’ Policy

Having presented our digital outreach programme for free for the first half of Covid-19, we have now adopted a mechanism that is helping keep the prospect of theatres reopening globally a possibility, and that any new content is purchased on a ‘Pay What You Feel’ basis. This also enables us to offer this FREE to Friends and Patrons of Clonter.

Become a Friend –

E-Tickets £5, £10, £20, FREE for Friends and Patrons of Clonter

There is no booking fee applicable for this event.

The link to the performance will be detailed on your e-ticket, which will be emailed to you upon purchase.

This event will be broadcast ‘live’ at 7pm on Saturday 6th February, but the show will be available for one week following broadcast.

If you have any queries, please contact our box office – Please be aware that the box office is currently only being manned on a Wednesday and Friday.

More Info –

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