21 Nov 2017

Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2017 - Winner Announced

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 (Orphéeaux 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 (Don Giovanni), Oebalus (Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus), Basílio and Don Curzio (Le nozze di Fígaro), Secondo soldato in ( L’incoronazione di Poppea), Goro (Madama Butterfly) and Pluto in Orphée aux nfers. 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.

Keval Shah (winner accompanists' prize) with Emma Stannard (winner Bampton Young Singers' Competition 2017) (1).jpg Keval Shah (winner accompanists' prize) with Emma Stannard (winner Bampton Young Singers' Competition 2017).

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.

Looking ahead to 2018, Bampton Classical Opera’s 25th anniversary season opens with a concert on 7th March to celebrate the legendary soprano Nancy Storace. Anglo-Italian soprano Nancy Storace (1765-1817) was renowned for her vocal prowess and remarkable stage presence, enjoying a glittering career across Europe. Recruited for the Emperor Joseph II’s new Italian opera company in Vienna, she came to the notice of the leading composers of the day, above all Mozart who created the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro specifically for her. Bampton Classical Opera marks the bicentenary of her death with an appealing concert of music associated with her, including arias sung by rising star Jacquelyn Stucker, currently a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera.

BCO’s summer production will be Nicolo Isouard’s Cinderella, the hugely popular predecessor to Rossini’s version, thereby continuing Bampton’s remarkable exploration of rarities from the classical period. Isouard died in Paris in 1818 and so this new production also marks his bicentenary. Born in Malta in 1773, Isouard was renowned across Europe, composing around 42 operas, many of which were published and widely performed. As a young man and following the success of his first operas which were performed in Italy, Isouard became director of the Teatru Manoel in Valletta, Malta. Moving to Paris in 1799, Cendrillon of 1810 was one of his many successes at the Opéra-Comique and was performed across Europe to huge acclaim, and especially in Germany and Austria, until knocked off its perch by Rossini’s La Cenerentola in 1817.

Cendrillon is designated as an Opéra Féerie, and is in three acts, to a libretto by Charles Guillaume Etienne, after the fairy-tale by Charles Perrault. The Bampton production will be sung in a new English translation by Gilly French and Jeremy Gray. With his gifts for unaffected melody, a sharp sense of parody in the music for the step-sisters, several appealing ensembles and always beguiling orchestration, Isouard’s Cinderella is ripe for rediscovery. Performances will be conducted by Harry Sever and directed by Jeremy Gray:

The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire: Friday, Saturday 20, 21 July 2018
The Orangery Theatre, Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire: Monday 27 August 2018
St John’s Smith Square, London: Tuesday 18 September 2018