It has been a wonderful year for our Opera course at the Academy – with stellar productions of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro – and also one of the most successful, with many of our 2023 students winning prizes and going on to exciting endeavors.

Earlier in the year, Brazilian baritone Vitor Bispo won a handful of prizes including the Academy’s Pavarotti Prize; and the Audience Prize, Special Prize of the Accademia Chigiana Siena, and Special Prize of the International OpernWerkstatt at the Tenor Viñas singing competition in Barcelona. In February Vitor won the Clonter Opera Prize, which marks the third year in a row where an Academy student has taken home this prestigious award. We were also delighted to see tenor George Curnow take home first prize at the Dunraven Welsh Singer of the Year Award 2023 and joint second prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards in April, and Ukrainian baritone Oleksandr Ilvakhin awarded second prize at the Certamen Nuevas Voces Ciudad de Sevilla competition at the end of last year.

Several graduating students will be taking part in renowned professional opera programmes following their time at the Academy; with soprano Luiza Willert and bass Hovhannes Karapetyan heading to the Mascarade Emerging Artists Programme in Florence; mezzo-soprano Georgia Mae Ellis joining the National Opera Studio; Vitor Bispo joining the Bayerische Staatsoper Opernstudio; and Ryan Vaughan Davies joining the Jette Parker Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House. Ryan also recently covered the role of Tamino in Welsh National Opera's production of The Magic Flute.

‘Royal Academy Opera functions as a bridge between study and the professional world, and we are therefore delighted to see that the superb talent of our current opera students is being recognised in the profession, both here in the UK and abroad. We can’t wait to see them take their next steps and forge exciting careers.’

Brenda Hurley, Head of Opera

We look forward to hearing soprano Cassandra Wright and bass-baritone Michael Ronan performing as part of the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus; tenor Magnus Walker and bass Wonsick Oh performing in concerts and festivals as Oxford Lieder Young Artists; and tenor Samuel Kibble performing in the Garsington Festival Chorus this summer. We are also excited to see baritone Jacob Phillips singing the role of Marullo in Opera Holland Park’s new production of Rigoletto later this month, and perform as part of the Tiroler Landestheater ensemble in Innsbruck next season.

Furthermore, it’s brilliant to see our 2022 graduates enjoying continuing success across the world:

  • Julia Martinez, mezzo-soprano: Judith Neilson Young Artist Programme in Cape Town Opera, 2023
  • Kathleen Nic Dhiarmada, soprano: Irish National Opera Studio, 2022-23
  • Bernadette Johns, mezzo-soprano: cover in Arminio, Jette Parker Artists Programme, Royal Opera House, May 2023
  • Maximilian Lawrie, tenor: International Opera Studio, Zurich Opera, 2022-24
  • Liam Bonthrone, tenor: Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Opernstudio 2022-24
  • Patrick Keefe, baritone: Joint winner of the John Christie Award, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2022
  • Sophie Sparrow, soprano: Mascarade Emerging Artists programme, Florence, 2022-23
  • Edward Reeve, Repetiteur Fellow: Jette Parker Artists Programme, Royal Opera House, 2022-24
  • Harry Rylance, Repetiteur Fellow: winner of the Accompanist’s Prize, Kathleen Ferrier Awards, 2023

Our termly opera performances at the Academy give the public a chance to hear the stars of tomorrow on stage, in productions directed and conducted by leading artists. This month, Royal Academy Opera performs Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio, 16-19 May – click here to book tickets.

Image 1: Royal Academy Opera's production of Le nozze di Figaro, March 2023

Image 2: Vitor Bispo and Luiza Willert performing in Le nozze di Figaro, March 2023

Image 3: Jacob Phillips and Ryan Vaughan Davies performing in The Rake's Progress, November 2022

Image 4: Georgia Mae Ellis and Michael Ronan performing in Le nozze di Figaro, March 2023