Following the final on Saturday 6 April, the Handel Singing Competition announced mezzo-soprano Eszter Balogh as the 2019 winner. Alongside Eszter, the finalists were Patrick Terry (countertenor), David de Winter (tenor) and William Thomas (bass) and the final took place at St George’s, Hanover Square in London in front of a live audience. Eszter Balogh won first prize – supported by The Carne Trust - winning £5000, and the second prize of £2000, supported by London Handel Festival audiences, was awarded to countertenor Patrick Terry. The Audience Prize, supported by Angela Hyde-Courtney, was presented to William Thomas, and the Selma D and Leon Fishbach Memorial Awards went to William Thomas and David de Winter. The adjudicators for this year were Catherine Denley, Michael George, Rosemary Joshua and Ian Partridge, who were chaired by Jane Glover. The four finalists presented all-Handel programmes accompanied by the London Handel Orchestra, conducted by Laurence Cummings.
In addition to the cash prizes, the Competition supports the continuing professional development of the Finalists by offering them guaranteed performance opportunities. All four of the 2019 Finalists will be invited to give a lunchtime recital in the 2020 London Handel Festival in addition to a showcase concert with Laurence Cummings on 19 September this year. As the winner, Eszter Balogh will be invited to give a recital for the City Music Society in October, and also to be a soloist in the Messiah for the Huddersfield Choral Society in December with Jane Glover and the Orchestra of Opera North. Eszter Balogh and Patrick Terry, as first and second prize winners, will also be invited to give a lunchtime recital in the Halle Handel Festival in Germany next year. This year’s London Handel Festival features over 20 past Finalists.
Samir Savant, Festival Director, says: "Congratulations to both Eszter and Patrick for winning the first and second prizes in the Handel Singing Competition, a wonderful achievement. I have been impressed with the very high standard this year, and I look forward to working with all four Finalists in future years."
Laurence Cummings, Musical Director, says: “We had a fantastic Final on Saturday. Four remarkable singers with phenomenal voices and such dramatic range. Bravo to everyone! I am thrilled that we will get to work with Ezster, Patrick, William and David again.”
The Handel Singing Competition launched in 2002 and has since become an integral part of the London Handel Festival. The competition this year received over 170 applications from 25 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Israel and the US. Previous finalists include Iestyn Davies, Lucy Crowe, Grace Davidson, Tim Mead, Christopher Ainslie, Rupert Charlesworth and Ruby Hughes. The Handel Singing Competition is generously sponsored by Prof. Schumann GmbH.