Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Young opera singers in showcase at St Mary’s

Young opera singers in showcase at St Mary’s

A HENLEY charity that specialises in giving young opera singers a start is staging a concert to showcase their talents later this month.

After a year restricted to mainly online offerings, Opera Prelude is going live again with an evening of song at St Mary’s Church in Hart Street on Saturday, June 26.

Amanda Sadler, the charity’s head of programming and artist development, said: “This will be a summer evening of operatic arias and duets, introducing the newest cohort of Opera Prelude young artists and some of the finest talent emerging on the operatic stage.”

Each year the charity invites singers under the age of 30 to apply for its young artist programme.

This offers professional and financial support to conservatoire-trained singers with an academic background in the early stages of their careers. Successful applicants are taken on for a period of two years during which they are offered a range of performance opportunities.

Other support available includes mentoring by Opera Prelude alumni, contact with industry professionals, a masterclass with a top-flight singer and the chance to compete for the Opera Prelude Singers’ Prize.

Mrs Sadler said: “Our aim is to help bridge the gap between studying at music conservatoire and embarking on a full-time career.

“The music industry and especially newly trained young people have been hit extremely hard during the pandemic, so Opera Prelude is trying more than ever to find ways of supporting them.

“Live performance is so crucial for developing musicians and this event will be the first opportunity to present a new cohort of emerging operatic talent.”

Auditions for the young artist programme were held at St Mary’s in March and eight new singers have now been added to the charity’s roster, some of whom will be performing on June 26 and at an afternoon picnic-style lecture-recital on Friday, July 16.

Two of the young singers, soprano Milly Forrest and tenor Glen Cunningham, are also performing at this summer’s Garsington Opera festival.

Milly, who previously studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, said: “During the last year I worked at Watford General Hospital as a porter for patient transfers and frequently sang to patients and staff to boost morale. It was one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences I have ever had.”

Tickets for the June 26 concert cost £55. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start and the programme includes selections from Mozart, Puccini, Bizet, Monteverdi, Handel, Tchaikovsky and Strauss.

The July 16 event, titled Songs from the Garden, is taking place at a private address in Fawley, directions to which will be confirmed on booking.

Gates open at 3pm and the event, which includes afternoon tea, will run from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

Pianist Natalie Burch will accompany the singers.

Tickets cost £40. For more information and to book, visit www.operaprelude.org

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