Grange Festival International Singing Competition names semi-finalists

The Grange Festival International Singing Competition has named its semi-finalists for 2019. 12 singers have been selected to take part, with the competition spread across two days: 21 and 31 October.

It marks only the second instalment of the event, with the inaugural edition in 2017 won by soprano Rowan Pierce.

“I have to thank and congratulate every single candidate for making such a magnificent effort and opening all our minds to what the future of opera and song and oratorio is going to sound like,” said artistic director and CEO Michael Chance, as he discussed the selection process for the semis. “It promises amazing things.”

The twelve semi-finalists are: Samantha Clarke, soprano (UK), Kiandra Howarth, soprano (Australia), Claire Barnett-Jones, mezzo soprano (UK), Helen Charlston, mezzo soprano (UK), Yulia Sokolik, mezzo soprano (Russia), Alexander Simpson, countertenor (UK), Ted Black, tenor (UK), Michael Gibson, tenor (UK), Jaeil Kim, tenor (Republic of Korea) , Elgan Llyr Thomas, tenor (UK), Jerome Knox, baritone (UK), Blaise Malaba, bass (Democratic Republic of Congo).

Successful singers will win a booking at the Grange Festival, as well as GBP10,000 (€11,300) for first, GBP5,000 for second and GBP2,500 for third.

As for the competition structure, in the semi finals on 21 October each singer will perform a ten-minute programme accompanied by piano or harpsichord. Six finalists will then sing with the Academy of Ancient Music, conducted by Peter Robinson, at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on 31 October.

The jury includes such notable names as soprano Felicity Palmer, Jette Parker Young Artists Programme artistic director David Gowland, opera critic Hugh Canning, and Bergen National Opera director Mary Miller.