Royal Academy Opera (RAO) students took part in The Pavarotti Prize, one of the Academy’s most generous prizes for students on the verge of entering the profession. To participate, students must prepare contrasting pieces from mainstream operatic repertoire and perform to a panel of experts.

Supported by longstanding Academy donors Joseph and Jill Karaviotis, this year’s competition featured 11 final-year RAO students vying for the grand prize of £8,000 with a runner-up prize of £3,000. The panel was comprised of the Academy’s Head of Opera Brenda Hurley, Christine Jane Chibnall, Jean Rigby, Joseph Karaviotis and Kate Baylis.

The winner of the 2023 Pavarotti Prize was baritone Oleksandr Ilvakhin, who performed Onegin’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and ‘Cavatina di Slook’ from Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio.

Soprano Clara Orif was presented with the runner-up prize for her performances of ‘Air du Cours-la-Reine’ from Massenet’s Manon and ‘Ah! non credea mirarti... Ah! non giunge’ from La sonnambula by Bellini.

In Vienna, Academy alumni had great success at The International Helmut Deutsch Lied Competition. This competition is Vienna’s first and only regularly held competition for singers, dedicated exclusively to the Lied and Austrian composers. Recent Academy graduate and bass baritone Florian Störtz won first prize for singing and the audience prize. He was accompanied by pianist Mark Rogers who also graduated from the Academy this year. As part of his prize, Florian will be given the opportunity to perform concerts together with Helmut Deutsch, one of the most in demand song recital accompanists, in 2023/24. They follow fellow Academy alumni Hiroshi Amako who won this prize in 2021.

In picture: Clara Orif and Oleksandr Ilvakhin