News & Views

Opera: By Voice Alone

Audition OracleWed 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.

Kings Place


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.

Contact information

For further information and for branded materials, please contact Melanie Lodge at [email protected]/07838101766, or visit the By Voice Alone website at

By Voice Alone


Soprano Filipa Portela receives Audition Oracle award

Audition OracleMon 24 Dec 2018 @ 9:00

This month we are delighted to announce Portuguese soprano Filipa Portela as our latest Audition Oracle Singers Preparation Award winner. Audition Oracle are delighted to be able to contribute towards Filipa's production costs for mounting performances of La Voix Humaine at the Edinburgh Festival in 2019.
Filipa Portela - soprano | Audition Oracle Award
(c) David Mar Photography

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.
To follow Filipa's latest news please visit her Audition Oracle Profile and her website

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Irish Tenor John Porter receives latest Audition Oracle Award

Audition OracleThu 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 | Audition Oracle

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.



Meet our latest Audition Oracle award winner Llio Evans

Audition OracleSat 20 Oct 2018 @ 15:21

This month we are delighted to announce Welsh soprano Llio Evans as our latest Audition Oracle  singers preparation award winner. Llio has been a long standing member of Audition Oracle and we are delighted to be able to contribute to her preparation for future engagements. These include her debut with English Touring Opera as a Witch in Macbeth, understudying the role of Ilia, Idomeneo, and performing Cilla in their education project Waxwings. In the summer of 2019 Llio performs Zerlina in Don Giovanni for Longborough Festival Opera.
Llio Evans - soprano | Audition Oracle Award Winner

Llio Evans - soprano

Welsh soprano, Llio Evans, gained a first class honours degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama before going on to study with Dennis O'Neill at the Wales International Academy of Voice. A winner of numerous awards including Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize, Dame Anne Evans Award, and the Russell Sheppard Intercollegiate Award, Llio is a British Youth Opera and Welsh National Youth Opera alumna and a former Alvarez Young Artist at Garsington Opera where she was a recipient of the Leonard Ingrams Award.

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.


Tenor David Horton Awarded Audition Oracle Bursary

Audition OracleThu 20 Sep 2018 @ 7:45

Our latest Audition Oracle Singers Preparation Award goes to tenor David Horton to support his preparation of the lead tenor role for C. V. Stanford’s rarely performed opera The Travelling Companion with New Sussex Opera later this year. The performances include a professional debut at both Cadogan Hall and Saffron Hall, as well as a world premiere recording of the piece.
David Horton - tenor | Audition Oracle Bursary

David Horton - Tenor

Tenor David Horton hails from Devon and is a recent graduate of the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). During his time there, he studied under the tutelage of Scott Johnson and was a grateful recipient of a scholarship from the RCS Trust. Previous training includes a BMus Hons from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and a year spent in Sydney, Australia, studying under Dr Rowena Cowley.
Earlier this season David received critical acclaim for his portrayal of the title role in Candide with Iford Arts/Opera Della Luna. Other recent roles include Henry Crawford for Waterperry Opera’s production of Mansfield Park, Vandedendur/King Theodorefor West Green House's new production of Candide, Moon/King of the East, The Enchanted Pig (Hampstead Garden Opera); The Lover/The Friend/The Preacher, The Vanishing Bridegroom (British Youth Opera); Eisenstein, Die Fledermaus (RCS Opera); Tristan, Le Vin Herbé (RCS Opera) and a number of roles in English Eccentrics (British Youth Opera). Upcoming engagements include the role of Defendant in Sullivan’s Trial by Jury and John in Stanford's The Travelling Companion with New Sussex Opera.
David has performed in a number of British and world premieres, most notably the UK Premiere of Kurt Schwertzik’s Shal-i-mar which was performed with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra.  He also played Magician 1 in Henry McPherson’s opera Ūhte, recorded and filmed in conjunction with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Martyn Brabbins and premiered at the RCS Plug Festival 2016.
On the concert stage David has performed across Britain, most recently singing the eponymous St Nicholas in the work by Benjamin Britten with Cupar Choral Society and the tenor solos in Mozart’s Requiem at the Hargrave Music Festival. Whilst studying in Scotland, David also performed the tenor solos in Bach’s Magnificat and Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the Glasgow Cathedral Choral Society (GCCS) and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Symphony Orchestra.  Earlier this year David performed his debut Handel’s Messiah with GCCS at Glasgow Cathedral and was resident tenor soloist for a number of Bach Cantatas with Ludus Baroque in Edinburgh conducted by Richard Neville-Towle. Upcoming engagements include the tenor solos in Haydn's Nelson Mass at the Hargrave Festival, alongside the Hargrave Festival Chorus.

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.