News & Views
Audition Oracle – Wed 16 Jan 2019 @ 8:05
Innovative Singing Competition Will Challenge Unconscious Bias in Opera and Judge Artists By Voice Alone
Throughout 2018 Audition Oracle pledged and awarded a minimum of £300 every month to individual artists to help with performance preparation and creating their own performances. In totally we award approximately £6,000 worth of support with our final December winner soon to be announced! For 2019 Audition has decided to financially support the creation of an innovative competition with the aim of not only supporting voices requiring further training but also creating pathways for existing and emerging artists to connect to the profession.
Press Release: Launch of By Voice Alone
Opera: By Voice Alone
We are pleased to announce the launch of an innovative new singing competition taking place in London in 2019.
‘By Voice Alone’ offers classical singers the chance to take part in a major competition without the age limits, restrictions and requirements of many other contests, and to be heard by representatives from the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and The Grange Festival. In a major step towards tackling unconscious bias in casting, the first round is a blind audition, with no names, CVs or headshots – ensuring all applicants are judged by voice alone. Applications open at the end of January with the first auditions taking place in March and April.
The competition’s primary aims are to discover and support raw talent and to open up the singing profession to artists from as diverse a pool as possible. By beginning the three-stage competition process with a blind audition, By Voice Alone offers an alternative to the more traditional audition and casting processes and removes the typical markers of success that are often used to determine a candidate’s suitability for a position. Consequently, singers are judged not by their CVs, prior experience, age or background – but purely by their vocal ability. Melanie Lodge, the competition’s creator, hopes that this will open up the classical singing profession to those who have found themselves overlooked in the past.
“We hope that By Voice Alone will be the first step towards making a significant and measurable change to the levels of diversity represented on the UK’s concert, oratorio and opera stages. We want to see more BAME artists on stage, more disabled artists on stage, and more artists with a range of backgrounds and training. We feel strongly that achieving this will create a richer artistic offering for audiences, and as young people from diverse backgrounds see something of themselves reflected on stage, we’re confident it will encourage them and their families to engage more with classical music, too.”
The panel for the first round will comprise judges recommended by the UK’s major opera houses and summer festivals, many of whom will attend in person for the second round. Confirmed jurors include David Gowland (Royal Opera House), Michelle Williams (English National Opera), Kathryn Joyce (Welsh National Opera), Sarah-Jane Davies (Scottish Opera) and Scott Cooper (The Grange Festival.)
“What has been overwhelmingly exciting is the willingness of these companies to embrace the ethos behind By Voice Alone,” said Melanie. “Almost all the major houses and summer festivals are keen to be involved, and even those who can’t be there in person at the competition have been incredibly responsive and supportive of our shared aim of widening access to the profession. It’s something that we can all get behind and work together to make happen. We’ve met with a lot of encouragement from companies who are keen to lead change, and who see By Voice Alone as an exciting opportunity to collaborate and disrupt the industry in a really positive way. This is all about finding and nurturing raw talent, and giving singers who might have previously been invisible a platform to showcase their potential in a very real way.”
In addition to the opportunity to be heard by industry professionals, there is a prize fund of £5,000 on offer. This includes two ‘Raw Talent Encouragement Awards’ of £500 each that will be made from the first round, in recognition of two singers with outstanding vocal potential that would benefit from further training. The remaining prizes will be awarded at the competition final on 20th May.
Audition Oracle – Mon 24 Dec 2018 @ 9:00
Filipa Portela - Soprano
Filipa Portela, Portuguese soprano, has recently finished the Master of Arts program in Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, under the tuition of Helen Lawson. She finished her Bachelor Degree, also at the RCS, in 2017 with a First Class Honors Degree. Filipa participated in the National Singing Competition of Official Music Conservatoires in 2010, in which she won the Prize for Best Interpretation of Portuguese Composer. In July of 2017, Filipa won the 1st prize of the 19th Interpretation Competition of Estoril. She has since then given many recitals in classical music festivals and participated in concerts as a soloist with orchestras in Portugal. Filipa is currently developing a self-directed opera production and freelancing as singer and performer.
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Audition Oracle – Thu 22 Nov 2018 @ 18:00
This month we are delighted to announce Irish tenor John Porter as our latest Audition Oracle Singers Preparation Award winner. Audition Oracle are delighted to be able to contribute to John’s preparation of Anthony in Sweeney Todd with Northern Ireland Opera. Performances will take place in February of Next year. Book your tickets here!
John Porter - Tenor
Hailing from Donegal, Ireland, John is a graduate of Royal Academy Opera and University of Ulster. He currently studies under the tutelage of, Rosa Mannion, Catrin Wyn-Davies and Audrey Hyland. Also an alumnus of the Georg Solti Accademia and Les Azuriales, John has found professional advance as a former Young Artist for Garsington Opera and Northern Ireland Opera. More recently he was declared a finalist in Accademia Teatro alla Scala competition.
Operatic roles include: Rodolfo | La bohème, Nemorino | L’elisir d’amore, Basilio | Le nozze di Figaro, Nadir | The Pearl Fishers, Rinuccio | Gianni Schicchi, Beppe | Rita, Spoletta | Tosca and Ulysses | Ulysses, A Musical Odyssey (Laurence Roman; première) and opera scenes including: Bill | Flight, Graf Albert | Die tote Stadt, Pylade | Iphigénie en Tauride, Il Duca | Rigoletto and Alfred | Die Fledermaus. This season he has performed Tony | West Side Story for The Bath Festival, Pedrillo | Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Diva Opera, Kornélis | La princesse jaune for Northern Opera Group and Borsa | Rigoletto for Northern Ireland Opera whilst simultaneously covering Il Duca and looks forward to joining Northern Ireland Opera again to perform Anthony in their production of Sweeney Todd
On the concert platform, John has performed works including personal favouritesBach’s St John Passion; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. Also confident in recital John enjoys breathing life into characterful song cycles such as Schubert’s Schwanengesang, Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, and Finzi’s Til Earth Outwears.
John is grateful for the support he has received in his career thus far including that of The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, The Kathleen Trust, The Richard Lewis Jean Shanks Trust, The Nicholas Berwin Charitable Trust, and The International Opera Awards Foundation.
Further information about John can be found on his Audition Oracle Profile.
Audition Oracle – Sat 20 Oct 2018 @ 15:21
Llio Evans - soprano
Highlights in recent season include Celia, Iolanthe, for English National Opera; Iris, Semele, for Garsington Opera; and The Little One in the UK premiere of The Golden Dragon (Peter Eötvös) for Music Theatre Wales. She also sang the soprano solo in Janáček's The Danube, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and made her debut at the Royal Albert Hall as a soloist in the Festival of Welsh Male Voice Choirs.
Other roles include Musetta (Opera D’amore) Clorinda, La Cenerentola (HighTime Opera); Blonde, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Pop-Up Opera); Yum-Yum, The Mikado, Gretel, Hansel and Gretel (Co-Opera Co.) and Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro, and Pamina, The Magic Flute, (Opera’r Ddraig). She has also covered roles for Garsington Opera including Despina, Così fan tutte and Mimi, Vert-Vert.
A regular on the concert platform, highlights include Mendelssohn Elijah (St John's Smith Square, Three Choirs Festival with Philharmonia Orchestra), Bach Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Ensemble Cymru) and Arwel Hughes' Gweddi with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes for BBC Radio 3. Llio is also an accomplished recitalist having performed recitals for Garsington Opera, Cardiff Music Festival, Swansea Music Festival, Llandeilo Music Festival and Ensemble Cymru. Llio can be heard singing the role of Barbeon the Chandos recording of Arthur Sullivan's The Beauty Stone with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
In the current season Llio makes her debut with English Touring Opera as a Witch, Macbeth, understudies the role of Ilia, Idomeneo, and performs Cilla in their education project Waxwings. In the summer of 2019 perform Zerlina in Don Giovanni for Longborough Festival Opera.
Further information about Llio can be found on her personal website and on her Audition Oracle Profile. Llio is managed by Steven Swales Artist Management.
Audition Oracle – Thu 20 Sep 2018 @ 7:45
David Horton - Tenor
Further information about David can be found on his personal website and on his Audition Oracle Profile. David is managed by Mark Kendall Artist Management.
Audition Oracle is committed to supporting opera, choral and classical singers in all aspects of their career. Throughout 2018 Audition Oracle are awarding a minimum of £300/month to individual singers in order to help them turn up to their next professional engagement fully prepared.