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‘Superb variety…’
‘The standard was excellent… as always. A very enjoyable evening’
‘Exciting opportunity to hear some fine voices and possible national or international stars of the future’

Audience feedback from previous years

Past winners include Alfie Boe (1998)

 


Opera Prize – Promo
(To book an e-ticket for this show, please scroll down)

 


Opera Prize – Results

 

As ever, Clonter’s starts the year with the Opera Prize, sponsored by the Ann Driver Trust, where 6 singers, nominated by the UK’s leading conservatoires, come head to head.

As predicted, in February we are still working digitally, but akin to the recitals, we feel that it is still of huge benefit to provide the nominees with a recording opportunity, as well as KEEPING YOU ENTERTAINED during this 3rd Lockdown.

Sticking to the normal year’s calendar, we have pre-recorded the 6 nominees’ 3 arias, and they have been edited together, to present to you the usual Opera Prize format, whereby you get to vote, alongside our panel of judges, collectively acting as one member. Your vote is crucial!

The other panel members include representatives from Glyndebourne, and The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, and international soprano, Joan Rodgers CBE, as well as Clonter’s founder, Jeffery Lockett.

You will be treated to arias by 14 composers, from George Frideric Handel to John Adams, with Mozart and Bizet making a number of appearances.

You will also be treated to the customary appearance of Stephen Reynolds, playing his Clonter Fantasia. If you can spot the 17 snippets of different operas, 2 tickets to next year’s Opera Prize will be yours (when we HOPE to be back to ‘normal’!), as well as 1 ticket (out of the 107 Socially Distanced seats available for this year) once we are open again. Fingers crossed for June/July! We’ll keep you posted.

We are delighted to welcome Anna Meadmore, to step into the shoes of Isobel Flinn, as our compère extraordinaire, but this year we are asking the nominees to present their own arias, so you get to know them a little. This is something that has proved to be of value from the recital series, as well as the professional recording opportunity. Leading on from this, the prizes will be a bit different this year. The winner will receive a cheque for £1.5K and be offered a professionally recorded recital (worth £1,000), with individually edited arias, to send to agents and opera companies. The runner up will also receive a recorded recital opportunity, and individually edited arias.

After the concert, we will ask you to send us your vote, and these will be collated in the usual way, and the winner announced the following week.

We very much hope you will be able to join us – ‘Come’ & Cast Your Vote.

 

Past Winners

Past Winners Include

Alfie Boe (RCM) 1998 (pictured here), Camilla Tilling (RCM) 1999, Kate Royal (GSMD) 2003, Kathryn Rudge (RNCM) 2009, Natalya Romaniw (GSMD) 2010, Anush Hovhannisyan (RCS) 2012, Kang Wang (RNCM) 2014, Alexey Gusev (RCS) 2017, Emma Webster-Mockett (RCS) 2018, Alexandra Lowe (GSMD) 2019, and Lauren Young (RCS) 2020 (pictured above)

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Panel Members

Joan Rodgers CBE – Soprano (Pictured here), Steven Naylor – Director of Artistic Administration at Glyndebourne, David Gowland – Artistic Director, Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, Covent Garden, Clive Timms – Clonter’s Former Music Director, Paul Wingfield – Head of Vocal & Operatic Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Jeffery Lockett MBE – Clonter’s Founder

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Compère

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.

 

Accompanists

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.

 

José Javier Ucendo (for Lea Shaw (Mezzo-Soprano) RCS)

After studying in Castellón with Juan C. Cornelles, Javier graduated in Masters of Music in 2016 from the Estonian Academy of Music (Prof. Ivari Ilja and Ave Sikk) and in 2018 in MMus Accompaniment from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Prof. Fali Pavri and Scott Mitchell). He is currently a student of the Alexander Gibson Opera School of the RCS in the MMus Répétiteur course. He is also the Organist and Musical Director of the Cadder Parish Church. Recent engagements include: Trouble in Tahiti, Dead Man Walking, Le Nozze di Figaro and The Rape of Lucretia (RCS), accompanist for NYCOS and the Oxford Lieder and Scottish Opera Emerging Artists concerts. Javier is a grateful recipient of the RCS Trust and the Sam Hutchings Trust scholarships. He was awarded with the Sam Hutchings Accompaniment Fellowship and the Alex Menzies Memorial Fund Prize for accompanists in 2018. He is also a recipient of the 2019 Roderick Brydon Award, winner of the 2019 Elgar-Spedding Lied duo prize with Lauren Young and the 2020 James H Geddes Bursary for Repetiteurs.

 

Nominees

Annie George (Mezzo-Soprano) RWCMD

Mezzo-soprano Annie George is in her final year at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s ‘David Seligman Opera School’ studying with Colette McGahon. Annie’s studies are supported by a Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarship, a John Rath and John Underwood Scholarship, The Alastair and David McWilliam Memorial Bursary for Singing and a Help Musician’s Sybil Tutton Opera Award. Annie’s roles include Madame Flora in Menotti’s The Medium, Zweite Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote and the Minkswoman in Dove’s Flight. Annie sung the role of Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte under the direction of Carlo Rizzi at the ‘Welsh National Opera’ Gala in November 2019 and the role of Zeftka in Janacek’s The diary of one who disappeared alongside Nicky Spence and Simon Lepper. She is thrilled to perform the roles of Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro in March 2021.

 

Michael Gibson (Tenor) RCM

Glasgow born tenor Michael Gibson is studying at the Royal College of Music’s Opera Studio under the tutelage of Janis Kelly. He is an Aldama scholar and is supported by the Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarships Trust, the Cross Trust, the Robertson Trust and Help Musicians UK. Michael previously graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, completing a Bachelor of Education in Music, and more recently the Royal Northern College of Music, where he completed his Master’s under Peter Alexander Wilson. Recent roles include Azael L’enfant Prodigue, Ecclitico Il mondo della Luna at the RCM Opera Studio and Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi at the RNCM. In opera scenes he has performed as Idomeneo Idomeneo, Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress, Fenton Falstaff, Lyonel Martha, Frederick The Pirates of Penzance, Jaquino Fidelio, Novice Billy Budd, Anatol Vanessa and Fritz L’amico Fritz. Last summer, Michael was a member of the Glyndebourne chorus for their productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia and La damnation de Faust. As an oratorio and concert soloist, Michael has performed works including Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Bach’s St John Passion and B Minor Mass, Finzi’s Dies Natalis and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. He has also given performances of song cycles including An die ferne geliebte, Winter Words, Ludlow and Teme and Die schöne Müllerin.

 

Ossian Huskinson (Bass-Baritone) RAM

Bass-baritone Ossian Huskinson studies with Mark Wildman and Iain Ledingham, at the Royal Academy of Music, where he is one of the Academy’s 2019/20 Bicentenary Scholars. He has won 1st prize in the Academy’s English Song Prize, and recently earned 2nd place in the Pavarotti prize. Previous roles with the Academy include Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Le Philosophe Chérubin, Sarastro Die Zauberflöte and King René Iolanta for Royal Academy Opera. In Summer 2019 he sang in the chorus of La damnation de Faust and Il barbiere di Siviglia with Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Ossian will play the role of Don Alfonso in Academy’s Spring production of Così fan tutte. He also looks forward to playing Zaretsky and covering the role of Gremin in Garsington Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin as part of their Young Artist Programme in Summer 2021.

 

Katherine McIndoe (Soprano) GSMD

Katherine is a soprano from New Zealand, studying on the Opera Studies programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Yvonne Kenny. She was a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, a member of the inaugural Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Singer Development Programme, and has been a Britten-Pears Young Artist twice. She has performed at the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, Snape Maltings, Sadler’s Wells, and live for BBC Radio 3. She holds a Master of Performance with Distinction from the Guildhall and a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the New Zealand School of Music. Her recent roles include Susanna Il segreto di Susanna, Iolanta Iolanta, the Governess The Turn of the Screw, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte, Marcellina Le nozze di Figaro, Tatyana Eugene Onegin, and Giulietta I Capuleti e I Montecchi. In 2021, she will sing Barbarina in Dove’s The Little Green Swallow at the Guildhall.

 

Pasquale Orchard (Soprano) RNCM

New Zealand soprano Pasquale Orchard was a 2019 Dame Malvina Major Emerging artist with NZ Opera. Pasquale graduated from the New Zealand School of Music with First Class Honours in 2017 and completed her Masters of Musical Arts in 2019. In 2018 Pasquale was the PACANZ National Young Performer of the year and was a finalist in the IFAC Handa Australian Singing competition, receiving a full tuition scholarship for the Masters programme at the Royal Northern College of Music completing her Masters of Music with distinction in 2020. Currently completing her Post-Graduate Diploma, Pasquale is generously supported by the Lady Maria Fisher Scholarship, the George Henry Peters Scholarship. And the José and Rafton Smallwood Award. In December of 2019 Pasquale made her international debut as Soeur Constance in the Royal Northern College of Music’s production of Dialogue des Carmelites and in 2020 she revisited the role of the Vixen in their socially distanced production of The Cunning Little Vixen.

 

Lea Shaw (Mezzo-Soprano) RCS

Lea Shaw is an award-winning Mezzo-soprano from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Colorado. She is studying her Masters of Opera at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, having received both her Bachelor of Music (1st class honours) and Masters of Music studying with Helen Lawson. She has performed diverse repertoire worldwide with conductors such as Marin Alsop, John Butt, and Sir Andrew Davies, and created works with James Macmillan in close collaboration.Throughout her time at the Alexander Gibson Opera School she has performed the roles of Bianca The Rape of Lucretia, Polly Peachum Die Dreigroschenoper, Mère Jéanne Les Dialogues des Carmélites, and is this year performing the roles of Sesto Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Minskwoman Flight and L’Enfant L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. She is a grateful recipient of the Maurice Taylor Opera Scholarship, a Sybil Tutton Award from Help Musicians UK, and a grant from the Dewar Arts Awards to enable her studies.

 

Programme

Annie George – Mezzo-Soprano (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama)
Acerba voluttà Cilèa’s Adriana Lecouvreur Ciller
Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix Samson et Dalila Saint-Saëns – Click here to watch
Una voce poco fa Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia Rossini

Michael Gibson – Tenor (Royal College of Music)
Dies Bildnis Die Zauberflöte Mozart
La fleur que tu m’avais jetée Carmen Bizet – Click here to watch
Where e’re you walk Semele Handel

Lea Shaw – Mezzo-Soprano (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
O La Pítoyable Aventure L’Heure Espagnol Ravel
Am I In Your Light Doctor Atomic Adams
Parto, Parto, ma tu, ben mio La Clemenza di Tito Mozart – Click here to watch

Katherine McIndoe – Soprano (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)
Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante Carmen Bizet
Atchevo eta prezhde ne znala Iolanta Tchaikovsky – Click here to watch
No word from Tom… I go to him! The Rake’s Progress Stravinsky

Ossian Huskinson – Bass-Baritone (Royal Academy of Music)
Bravo signor padrone… Se vuol ballare Le nozze di Figaro Mozart
When my cue comes, call me A Midsummer Night’s Dream Britten – Click here to watch
Quand la flamme de l’amour La jolie fille de Perth Bizet

Pasquale Orchard – Soprano (Royal Northern College of Music)
Song to the Moon “Mesiku na nebi hlubokem” Rusalka Dvořák – Click here to watch
Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen Der Freischütz Weber
O mio babbino caro Gianni Schicchi Puccini

 

Interlude Pianist

Stephen Reynolds

Stephen Reynolds has been heard as a pianist and composer in concerts and broadcasts across Europe and the UK. His compositions feature in Stephen Hough’s English Piano Album (Hyperion)​. He was a prize winner at the Gian Baptista International Piano competition in Vercelli, Italy in 1972. His association as a pianist/accompanist for Clonter Opera began in 1974, as a consequence of his association with Mezzo-Soprano Betty Bannerman (Jeffery Lockett’s mother) at the Royal Northern College of Music.

 

 

‘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 – https://www.clonter.org/support-us/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 – boxoffice@clonter.org. Please be aware that the box office is currently only being manned on a Wednesday and Friday.

*If you are a Friend or Patron, a link will be sent to you the day before the event, i.e. it is not necessary for you to book.

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