The Grange Festival today announces that it will present a major new singing competition, The Grange Festival International Singing Competition, formerly The Hampshire National Singing Competition, last held in 2013 and widely regarded as a major forum for young talent from around the country.

As the first country house opera company to present such a competition, the ambitious undertaking underlines The Grange Festival’s desire to extend its work outside the summer opera season, offering a broader and more dynamic range of events than ever before, as well as its artistic vision to nurture the careers of young singers.

The Grange Festival International Singing Competition offers emerging talent under the age of 33, the chance not only to win significant cash prizes and a role in a future production by The Grange Festival, but the opportunity to give public performances culminating in the chance to sing with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Grange Festival’s Orchestra in Residence. Entrants will have the chance to draw on the experience of members of the distinguished jury through seminars and masterclasses, a significant part of the competition experience.

Dame Felicity Palmer is the Patron of The Grange Festival International Singing Competition. She will also sit on the jury, which is chaired by the Grange Festival’s Artistic Director, Michael Chance. Joining them are director John Copley; internationally acclaimed accompanist and coach Roger Vignoles; Managing Director of Groves Artists Jonathan Groves; Head of Concerts and Programming at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Heather Duncan and Director of Artistic Administration at The Grange Festival, Scott Cooper.

Participants will have the chance to win significant cash prizes – including £7,500 for the overall winner, £5,000 for the second prize and £2,500 for the third – as well as roles in future productions by The Grange Festival. All other finalists will win £1,000, and winners of the Song Prize and the Audience Prize will win £2,500 and £2,000 respectively.

All entrants to the competition will be mentored during the rounds by jury members, and will take part in masterclasses with them, placing the working process of preparing and making music at the heart of the competition.

Michael Chance, Artistic Director of The Grange Festival, says: “Our new competition aims to provide a supportive showcase for burgeoning talent and offers a high-profile opportunity for young singers, keen to pursue careers in both opera and song, in a supportive and celebratory environment. We are delighted that Dame Felicity Palmer, such a magnificent and versatile artist in her own right, has agreed to be our Patron and join a distinguished jury which will share such a wonderful range of experience with our entrants. We are thrilled, too, that our resident orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, is working with us to deliver an exciting final round in the jewel of a theatre at The Grange.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, says: “Nurturing emerging artists is at the heart of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s remit, so we’re delighted to extend our partnership with The Grange Festival and work with these young artists as Orchestra in Residence for the final round of the competition.”

Dame Felicity Palmer says: “A good voice (even a beautiful one) is obviously desirable for a singer. More important, I believe, is what a singer does with the voice given them: how it is used technically and artistically and whether or not he or she seeks to communicate with it. Singing has to be about communication - through voice, text, music, body, heart and soul.”

For full details on how to apply and application criteria, applicants should visit www.thegrangefestival.co.uk

The closing date for entries is 10 April 2017 and the public rounds take place on 10 and 24 September at The Grange Festival.

 

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