rohThe Royal Opera is delighted to announce the five singers who will join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in September 2017.

American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker

Korean soprano Haegee Lee

Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina

Korean tenor Kuno Kim

British baritone Dominic Sedgwick

The singers were selected from more than 365 applicants from 61 countries. The audition process began in August 2016, with applications processed through the YAP Tracker website. Sixty-seven applicants were selected to sing in the first of three further rounds, with 27 progressing to the second round, which involved a one-to-one coaching session with David Gowland, Artistic Director of the Programme. A final shortlist of 12 singers auditioned first in a rehearsal room and then on the main stage in front of a panel comprising Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera, Oliver Mears, Director of Opera Elect, Peter Mario Katona, Director of Casting, David Gowland, Artistic Director of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, Siri Fischer Hansen, Administrator of the Programme, and international soprano Yvonne Kenny.

The five new Young Artists will join the five singers who continue on the Programme into their second year next Season: American soprano Francesca Chiejina, British mezzo-soprano Angela Simkin, New Zealand tenor Thomas Atkins, Hungarian baritone Gyula Nagy and South African bass Simon Shibambu. British conductors James Hendry and Matthew Scott Rogers and British répétiteur Nick Fletcher also continue on the Programme for their second year next Season. A new stage director to succeed Gerard Jones will be selected at interviews in March.


The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme supports the artistic development of young professional singers, conductors, directors and repetiteurs. The Young Artists are an international group of outstanding professionals at the start of their careers who have undertaken formal training and have already worked with professional companies. They are not students, but contracted, salaried employees of the Royal Opera House, who work here full-time over two years.

There is no age limit for those on the Programme, but when choosing the Young Artists the audition panel takes into consideration the stage individuals have reached in their careers and where they will be in terms of career development and age after working for two years on the Programme.

The Young Artists work on productions for The Royal Opera, singing small  roles  and  covering larger roles or joining the music or directing staff. They also receive coaching in all opera disciplines. They work with Royal Opera music staff, a wide range of freelance music and language coaches and visiting singers, directors and conductors. Every facility of the Company is made available to them so that their talents are nurtured through total immersion in the life of The Royal Opera and the Royal Opera House. For further information, visit


Aigul Akhmetshina (Mezzo-soprano)

Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina was born in Bashkortostan and graduated with honours from the vocal department of SBEI UAC College. She studies with Nelly Yusupova Gabdelhaevna. She is a member of the International Union of Musicians of the Interregional Shalyapin Centre (Ufa branch). Competition successes include Third Prize in the D. Kabalevsky International Competition in Samara, an award and Bronze Medal respectively in the 10th and 14th Youth Delphic Competition of Russia and First Prize in the B.T. Shtokolov International Vocal Competition in St Petersburg, the Fedor Shalyapin International Vocal Competiton in Ufa and the New Opera Competition in Moscow. She has also won the Talented Youth Support Award for contribution to the Development of Culture and Art in the Russian Federation. She has participated in the Estate Stellare festival of Russian music and dance in Italy and in masterclasses with Ildar Abdrazakov, Barbara Frittoli and Delfo Menicucci.

Konu Kim (Tenor)

Korean tenor Konu Kim began his musical education at the age of six, studying piano and violin. He graduated with a Master of Vocal Music degree from Kyung-Hee University in Seoul and continued his studies at the Korean National Opera Academy and in Germany. Competition successes include First Prize in the Montreal International Music Competition and in Operalia, Second Prize in the Seoul International Music Competition and prizes in the Marmande International Opera Singing Competition in France, the G.B. Rubini, Marcelo Giordani and Zandonai International Singing Competitions in Italy and the International Moniuszko Vocal Competition in Poland. Opera appearances include Nadir (Les Pêcheurs de perles) at the Korean National Opera and Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Landestheater Rudolfstadt. He has also sung at Carnegie Hall.

Haegee Lee (Soprano)

Korean soprano Haegee Lee studied at Seoul National University, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance, and at Le Conservatoire National de Région Pierre Barbizet in Marseilles, graduating with first class honours. She studies with Isabelle Vernet. Competition successes include First Prize in the Concours de Bach in Marseilles and Second Prize in the first Korean Classical Singers Association International Vocal Competition in Seoul. In music theatre she has sung Christine (The Phantom of the Opera), and she has performed extensively in concert and recital in Europe, with highlights including a L’Europe de la Culture du Bel Canto à Giacomo Puccini concert, a performance as one of two semi-finalists of the Concours Reine Elisabeth in Waterloo, a Hymnes à Maria concert in Marseilles, a recital with the Une heure ensemble in St Rémy de Provence and the premiere of Chanson de Geisha at the conference Henri Tomasi, du lyrisme méditerranéen à la conscience révoltée.

Dominic Sedgwick (Baritone)

British baritone Dominic Sedgwick studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Robert Dean. Previously he read Theology at Clare College, Cambridge. He is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and a Drake Calleja Scholar, and has received support from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Help Musicians Sybil Tutton Awards, the Kathleen Trust and the Worshipful Companies of Grocers and Goldsmiths. Competition successes include winning the Three Choirs Felicity Lott competition and being a finalist for the Stuart Burrows International Voice Award. He has performed in a masterclass with Joyce DiDonato for her Barbican Spotlight series and also appeared in public masterclasses with, among others, Simon Keenlyside, Ann Murray and Susan Bullock. Opera roles include Robert (Iolanta) and Junius (The Rape of Lucretia) at the Guildhall School, the title role of Owen Wingrave for British Youth Opera, Scherasmin (Oberon) with the LSSO at the Barbican, Dr Falke (Die Fledermaus) for Opera Danube, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) as a Longborough Festival Opera Young Artist, a season with the Glyndebourne Chorus and performances at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and for Garsington Opera. He has also performed extensively in recital in London and around the UK. Future engagements include creating Damyan in Julian Philips’s The Tale of Januarie for the Guildhall School and covering Harlequin (Ariadne auf Naxos) as part of the Glyndebourne Festival, where he returns this summer to sing in the Chorus.

Jacquelyn Stucker (Soprano)

American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker studied at Furman University, Bard College and New England Conservatory. She studies with Lorraine Nubar. Competition successes include winning the Anna Case MacKay Career Advancement Grant and Ruth Freehof Award from Santa Fe Opera, third place in the Docia Goodwin Franklin Award in the Lyndon Woodside New York Oratorio Society Competition, finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (New England Region) and semi-finalist in the Young Concert Artist International Auditions, Her opera experience includes Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) at Lyrique-en-Mer Festival, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) and the title role of The Cunning Little Vixen at New England Conservatory, the title role of Theodora for Music at Marsh Chapel, Boston University, and Meridian in the world premiere of UnShakeable for Santa Fe Opera. She has performed extensively in concert, with orchestras including those of the Handel and Haydn Society and Back Bay Chorale. Future engagements include Oberto (Alcina) for Santa Fe Opera, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with Boston’s Back Bay Chorale, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Harvard University and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Beethoven’s concert aria Ah, perfido! with Grand Harmonie and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Handel and Haydn Society.

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