Bampton Classical Opera is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 Young Singers’ Competition is mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard and the runner-up is tenor Wagner Moreira. The winner of the accompanists’ prize, a new category this year, is Keval Shah. The decision was reached after an exciting final on Sunday 19 November at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford. The adjudicators were renowned British singers Bonaventura Bottone and Jean Rigby. Conductor and accompanist from the Royal Opera House, Paul Wynne Griffiths, was an additional adjudicator in the preliminary rounds.

Emma is awarded £1,500 and Wagner £600. Keval Shah is awarded £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 singers currently studying or working in the UK. 58 young singers aged between 21 and 32 entered this year’s Competition, and 22 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 Corinne Cowling (soprano), Kamilla Dunstan (mezzo-soprano), Wagner Moreira (tenor), Emma Stannard (mezzo-soprano), Samuel Pantcheff (baritone) and Olivia Warburton (mezzo-soprano).

Emma’s varied programme included ‘Que fais tu blanche tourterelle’ (from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette); Belsatzar, Op.57 (Schumann); ‘Parto, parto’ (from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito); ‘The Highland Balou’ (from Britten’s Charm of Lullabies); ‘Polo’ (from de Falla’s 7 canciones populares españolas).

The judges were impressed with Emma’s overall performance, and her partnership with Keval Shah. Bonaventura Bottone said: “We were looking for a well-chosen balanced programme where the singers engaged with the text creating the character and atmosphere of the pieces from the outset, sung within their vocal capabilities. Emma fulfilled this criteria in her prize-winning performance. The balance of her performance was superbly supported by Keval Shah who underpinned Emma's programme with effortless musical poise.”

Emma Stannard recently completed her studies with Royal Academy Opera, under Yvonne Howard and Joseph Middleton. With RAO she performed the roles of Ruggiero, Alcina, Hanna, May Night, Poppea, L’incoronazione di Poppea and Junon, Orfee aux enfers. Emma has since performed the role of Minerva in Il ritorno d’UIisse and Pepa in Goyescas for Grange Festival, was a Britten-Pears Young Artist at the Aldeburgh Festival and toured the Verdi Requiem with Merry Opera Company. In January 2018, she will return to MOC as Cherubino in performances of Le Nozze di Figaro. She is supported by Help Musicians UK.

Wagner Moreira is a member of Royal Academy Opera where he studies with Richard Berkeley-Steele and Iain Ledingham. He obtained a BMus degree from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and a MA from the Royal Academy of Music. He has performed the roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Oebalus in Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus, Basílio and Don Curzio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Fígaro, Secondo soldato in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Goro in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Pluto in Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers. Recent concerts include Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St John Passion.

Winner of the 2017 Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform, Keval Shah performs extensively as a song accompanist, with recent appearances including Aldeburgh, Edinburgh Fringe, Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder Festivals. He studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music, graduating from both institutions with Distinction, and is currently a Fellow at the Academy. Engagements in 2017/18 include Wolf’s complete Mörike Lieder and Italienisches Liederbuch, and debut recitals at the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and at the Heidelberger Frühling. Keval is an Oxford Lieder Young Artist and a Britten Pears Young Artist, and is grateful for the support of the Winifred Christie Trust, Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Viola Tunnard Memorial Trust. www.bamptonopera.org

 

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