28 June 2024

News from Samling Artists – June 2024

We are thrilled that tenor Dafydd Jones has won this year’s Gold Medal in the Royal Over-Seas League’s 72nd Music Competition at Wigmore Hall, becoming the first singer to win this prestigious competition since Morgan Pearse won in 2013. Dafydd wins £15,000, in addition to the £5,000 prize for winning the singers’ category. ROSL music competition artistic director Geoff Parkin said: ‘In a set of exceptional performances from all the musicians, Dafydd impressed the jury with his magnetic stage presence, stunning voice control and interpretation of his programme of music by Welsh and French composers, and we are proud to welcome him to the ROSL list of Gold Medal winners.’

That’s not all though, as Dafydd was joined on stage for his prize-winning performance by Francesca Lauri, who was awarded the £5,000  collaborative pianist prize.

Pictured above, Dafydd and Francesca on stage at Wigmore Hall after the final. Photo credit: Samling Institute

Dafydd joins us for this year’s Samling Artist Showcase at Wigmore Hall on 7 November and you can also see him online in the title role of Albert Herring with Opera North which is now available to stream for free on Opera Vision.

Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Laureate

Congratulations to Julien Van Mellaerts who was presented with The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Laureate during a gala concert at Opera Holland Park. This award is worth NZ$60,000 (around £30,000) and honours a New Zealand singer whom the Foundation has nurtured, who has achieved sustained excellence and who will continue their career into the future. In her press statement, Dame Kiri said:

‘You are a very worthy recipient, and we are so very proud of what you have achieved to date on and off the concert stage. Aside from your many competition successes, we were so impressed with your tireless work creating the Whanau concert which benefited so many of your colleagues and your initiative and professional approach to the planning of the song recital series at Opera Holland Park which provided valuable performance opportunities for so many young singers.’

National Opera Studio

Rachel McLean is one of the twelve singers who have been selected for a coveted place in the 2024/25 National Opera Studio. She will receive nine months of intensive training and performance opportunities along with financial support.

The Glasshouse – 2024/25 Season

The Glasshouse (formerly Sage Gateshead) and Royal Northern Sinfonia have announced their 2024/25 season. Nicky Spence is the tenor soloist in a community performance of Child of Our Time on Sunday 24 November and Jennifer France joins the orchestra on 1 January for their traditional New Year’s Day concert.

English Touring Opera

ETO have announced their autumn tour with performances in Snape Maltings, Saffron Hall, Hackney, Buxton, Exeter and Poole.

Aoife Miskelly is Bird in Judith Weir’s one-act opera Blond Eckbert and Amy J Payne is the mezzo-soprano soloist in a staging of romantic song cycles ‘Do not take my story for a fairytale’ which forms the second half of the show.

Kitty Whately is Lyel, Hannah Sandison is Spring Beauty Amy J Payne is Bobylikha, Neil Balfour is Maslenitsa and Harry Grigg joins the ensemble in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snowmaiden.


Ella O’Neill has released her debut album with long-standing duo partner Laurence Kilsby. ‘Awakenings’ follows a journey from childhood through to adulthood, exploring romantic, sexual and emotional awakenings. The album is out now on streaming platforms and available on CD from early July. Ella and Laurence be performing the programme at Wigmore Hall on 15 September.

Catriona Morison has released a CD with soprano Katharina Konradi and pianist Ammiel Bushakevitz, performing duets by composers including Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Ernest Chausson, Pauline Viardot, Gabriel Fauré and Camille Saint-Saens. Writing in Gramophone Magazine, reviewer David Patrick Stearns writes that the album is ‘something to cherish… charming, effortlessly musical and with such enterprising repertoire.’

Morgan Pearse appears with the BBC Concert Orchestra on a recording of Charles Villiers Stanford’s orchestral songs marking the centenary of the composer’s death.

Other news

Olivia Boen made her Elbphilharmonie debut as the Peri in Robert Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri and next season, she makes her first appearance with the Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra singing Les Illuminations with Mark Wigglesworth.

Grace Maria Wain reached the semi-finals of the Elizabeth Connell Prize for sopranos and mezzos.

Pumeza Matshikiza received a feature interview in The Times on 26 June talking about her appearance in the Classical Pride festival (subscription required)

Olivia Warburton is featured in the ‘Rising Stars’ column in this month’s BBC Music Magazine: