NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Announces Young Singers’ Competition Winner

16/11/2015

Bampton Classical Opera  Announces Young Singers’ Competition Winner

Bampton Classical Opera has just announced that the winner of the 2015 Young Singers’ Competition is Russian soprano Galina Averina, and the runner-up Welsh soprano Céline Forrest. The decision was reached after an exciting final on Saturday 14th November at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford.  The adjudicators were tenor Bonaventura Bottone, and conductors Andrew Parrott and Peter Robinson, who is also a vocal coach at the Royal Academy of Music.  Galina is awarded £1,500, and Céline £500.

This biennial competition was first launched in 2013 to celebrate Bampton Classical Opera’s 20th birthday, and is aimed at identifying the finest emerging young opera singers currently working in the UK. 67 young singers aged between 21 and 30 entered this year’s Young Singers’ Competition, and 26 were selected by the judges to progress through to the first (closed) round.  From this six singers were chosen to compete at the public final in the Holywell Music Room.  The finalists were Galina Averina (soprano), Alex Otterburn (baritone), Barbara Cole Walton (soprano), Céline Forrest (soprano), Chloë Treharne (mezzo-soprano), and Capucine Daumas (soprano).

Galina Averina is a Russian soprano currently in her second year of Opera School at RCM with Dinah Harris. She is supported by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation UK and an Independent Opera Voice Scholarship. Notable prizes include Junior Prize in Les Azuriales Opera International Singing Competition in Nice (2013), the 6th Prize and the Audience Prize in Francisc Viñas International Contest in Barcelona (2015). Galina is a Samling Artist – 2015. She made her international debut as Despina in Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2013. In 2010-2013 she worked as a soloist in Perm State Opera and Ballet Tchaikovsky Theatre. Future engagements include Adele Die Fledermaus and Dalinda Ariodante at RCM Britten Theatre.

Her varied programme included How fair this place (Rachmaninov), ‘Al destin, che la minaccia’ from Mitridate, re di Ponto (Mozart), ‘My Dear Marquis’ from Die Fledermaus (J Strauss), ‘Marfa’s Aria’ from The Tsar’s Bride (Rimsky-Korsakov), ‘Ich hab in Penna einen Liebsten wohnen’ from Italienisches Liederbuch (Wolf).

The judges were impressed with Galina’s excellent overall performance.  Bonaventura Bottone said: “Galina gave a winner’s performance on Saturday evening. She showed us technical ability in the Rachmaninov, with her approach to the final upper lying phrase sung with beauty and ease. Her characterisation throughout her programme constantly spoke to the audience,…she imbued her performance with charm and wit..”

Runner-Up

Céline Forrest hails from Swansea, South Wales.  She completed both her undergraduate and Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music i9n London, and iis currently a young artist at the National Opera Studio. Operatic roles include the title role Suor Angelica and Female Chorus Rape of Lucretia. She has also participated in a number of masterclasses given by distinguished artists including Susan Bullock, Dennis O’Neill and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Awards include the Richard Lewis Award 2014 and the Pavarotti Prize, and she represented Wales in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Céline’s studies are generously supported by Welsh National Opera, the Amar-Franses and Foster-Jenkins Trust, Lisa Newick and Christopher Ball.

The Competition is assisted by grants from the Ashley Family Foundation, Alfred Caplin Charity Settlement, Mr & Mrs J.A. Pye’s Charitable Settlement, and with generous support from Hilary and Alun Reid Evans.

Jim Pritchard reviewed a recent Bampton Classical Opera performance for Seen and Heard – review here

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