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Commentary

22 Jul 2019

Garsington Opera: Five Young Singers Win Prestigious Awards

Winners of this year’s prestigious Leonard Ingrams Foundation awards are mezzo-soprano Bianca Andrew and tenor Oliver Johnston. These awards support, encourage and nurture the best young artists involved in the creative process of bringing opera to the stage, and are made in memory of Garsington Opera’s founder Leonard Ingrams, to ensure the continuity of his vision.

Three further awards to emerging young artists have also been won: the Helen Clarke Award by baritone Seán Boylan, the Simon Sandbach Award by baritone Kieran Rayner and the Christine Collins Award to soprano Josephine Goddard. These awards are made in recognition of their extraordinary talent, musical skill and contribution to the 2019 Garsington Opera productions.

These young singers were part of the 2019 Alvarez Young Artists’ Programme which provides invaluable training and performance opportunities to those singing small roles or in the chorus at Garsington Opera. As well as performing on stage, these artists have understudy opportunities, and participate in masterclasses, training seminars on professional development and public recitals.

Bianca Andrew who understudied the title role and sung the principal role of Flamel in Fantasio said: “As an opera singer still at the beginning of her career, there are always the inevitable expenses that arise for auditions, coaching, lessons and travel. This award will go a long way in allowing me to prepare my work to the highest level in the seasons ahead.”

Oliver Johnston who has sung principal roles in previous seasons and understudied and performed the role of Jeník in The Bartered Bride said: “Understudying Jeník was an amazing experience, giving me the chance to explore some Czech repertoire for the first time in a safe and supportive environment. Garsington invests so much in their young artists and covers and thanks to this investment and amazing support I felt well prepared to step onto the stage when the time came.”

Seán Boylan who understudied and performed the title role of Don Giovanni and was in the chorus commented: “Receiving the Helen Clarke Award is a great honour which provides me with timely practical support and I am deeply grateful. An undeniable love of opera, support of young talent and an infectious community spirit make Garsington a truly unique experience.”

Kieran Rayner chorus member and understudy for the Prince of Mantua in Fantasio said: “I’ve loved working with Garsington - fantastic music, a beautiful setting, and incredibly talented and generous staff, crew, creatives and fellow cast. It is a real pleasure to be part of the Garsington family.”

Josephine Goddard chorus member and understudy for the role of Mařenka in The Bartered Bride said: “I’m indebted to Garsington for all the opportunities they have given me this year and I will be putting this generous award towards making some new recordings and having some singing lessons.”

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