AND THE WINNER IS… Saturday night saw Mezzo Soprano, Lauren Young crowned as Clonter’s 2020 Opera Prize winner. Lauren was representing the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The runner up prize… went to Soprano, Sian Dicker, representing the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the Audience Prize went to Mezzo Soprano, Stephanie Maitland, representing the Royal Northern College of Music.

The awards were presented by Internationally acclaimed Soprano, Lee Bisset (Clonter Alumni), who most generously expressed her gratitude to Clonter for providing her with her first operatic debut. Other panel members – David Gowland (Artistic Director of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), and Clive Timms (former Clonter Music Director, and Head of the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama). The fourth panel member this year was Paul Wingfield, Director of Vocal Studies and Opera at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, who will be taking over the baton from Clive Timms for the summer opera production this year.

Also this year Clonter reluctantly accepted, the compere extraordinaire, Isobel Flinn’s request to be allowed to retire after more than a decade of delighting audiences with her dry wit, as well as font of knowledge. Here’s wishing her a well earned retirement.

Clonter’s 2020 Opera Prize also saw record audience numbers, which was a most encouraging start to the year.