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. 


Katherine Liggins: Five things I learnt at BYO

Audition OracleSat 8 Sep 2018 @ 9:00

Earlier this week we visited the The Peacock Theatre to catch British Youth Opera's opening night of The Rake's Progress. BYO are a fantastic organisation providing excellent training and performance opportunities to young singers and emerging artists. Earlier this summer soprano Katherine Liggins joined them for a week of workshops. Here she tells us about the experience.

Katherine Liggins - soprano | Audition Oracle

Last week I attended an excellent workshop with British Youth Opera led by Mark Hathaway and Rob Bottriell, with movement sessions led by Maria Koripas. The focus of the week was improvisation and characterisation. Each singer in the group (there were seven of us) brought two arias to work on. We also worked on staging a chorus from Mozart’s Idomeneo, and we did some straight acting using a few scenes from Shakespeare.

These are the top five (of many!) things I learnt:


1. Say it as it is!

While it is necessary to have a word-for-word, accurate translation of your arias, it is also important to have an idea of how you as a person would deliver each line of text in your native language. When people found a sentence in English that summed up a particular phrase and said it how they would in real life, it became much more realistic and relatable when they then went back to singing the foreign text.

2. Expression

Expression is not just in the face. The whole body is involved, with your core taking the lead. An audience member sat in the back row is unlikely to be able to read your facial expression particularly clearly, so using your body is the only way you’re going to reach them. It is incredible how much can be communicated with the body when you leave the face out of it completely!

3. Different sets of ears

It is so important to have different people listen to and critique your singing, especially if you are a current or recent music college student. It gave me a different perspective on my own singing, and highlighted some areas that people at college hadn’t necessarily picked up on before. Or perhaps it was hearing similar points expressed differently by someone new that helped me to better understand what they were getting at.


4. Improvising

Improvising can be terrifying, but it is also much more freeing to walk on stage without a plan of what you’re going to do in each aria. When you start improvising you are being more spontaneous and infinitely more believable than if you were to decide exactly what you are going to do before you do it. And it’s actually way more fun and rewarding!

5. Direction

Thinking about how an aria might be directed in a full production is useful when you are preparing to stand and sing it in a recital or audition setting. If the scene has other characters in it, this is especially useful as it means you have a clear idea of where those characters are in relation to you. This doesn’t mean you can’t still improvise and be spontaneous: in fact, it gives you more confidence to take risks in performance because you have a deeper knowledge of the drama of the scene.

Those are just a few things that really resonated with me. It was a seriously inspirational week, and I would encourage every young singer to audition!


Katherine Liggins, soprano


Details regarding the 2019 application process will be announced in October  -


Audition Oracle Testimonial: Alexandra Stenson - Soprano

Audition OracleTue 28 Aug 2018 @ 12:15

This weeks Audition Oracle review comes from soprano Alexandra Stenson

Alexandra Stenson - Soprano | Audition Oracle Testimonial

"I have been lucky to get many auditions through Audition Oracle, including the role of Tatyana with Opera Up Close." Alexandra Stenson - Soprano


Want to hear more from Alexandra? Attend her latest song recital at Milton Court Concert Hall on the 14th of September.


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Apply for our latest £300 Singers Preparation Award -> Application Form


AO Award Supports UK Performance of 'Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno'

Audition OracleWed 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:00

Our latest Audition Oracle Singers Preparation Award of £300 goes towards four singers preparing to put on a performance of Handel's first oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno. Susanna MacRae (soprano), Thalie Knights (mezzo-soprano), Clara Kanter (mezzo-soprano) and Matúš Šimko (tenor) are taking the initiative and creating their own performance opportunity. Thalie Knights talks to Audition Oracle about the project.

Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno | Audition Oracle

Left to right: Susanna MacRae, Thalie Knights, Matúš Šimko, Clara Kanter

What's our story?

We are four young artists on the cusp of our professional careers.  We were all offered a place on a French Baroque Festival academy in August (Festival du Perigord Noir) where we were given the opportunity to study and interpret our roles (Bellezza, Piacere, Disinganno and Tempo).  As this was primarily a training programme, each role was shared with 3 other singers, and so we are yet to perform these fantastic roles in their entirety.

What's our aim?

To perform Handel's first oratorio  - 'Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno'  - to a UK audience, and create for ourselves the opportunity to perform each of our respective complete roles. The performance is booked for St Anne's Church, Lewes, 7.30pm on the 6th October 2018.

What do we need?

We'd love your attendance more than anything, but if this is not possible, we would be very grateful for a donation! Money secured from generous donations and bursaries, such as that of Audition Oracle, will go towards our costs, as it would be fantastic to be able to raise as much of this as possible, so that we can go into the concert and focus on the music, rather than the maths.


About the performance

Handel's first oratorio, 'Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno' (The Triumph of Time and Disenchantment) had its premiere in Rome in 1707.  The plot surrounds the conflict between earthly pleasures and divine grace.

Bellezza (Beauty) knows that one day her beauty will fade, but Piacere (Pleasure) tries to convince her that this is not the case, and in doing so, promises her eternal beauty.  Tempo (Time) and Disinganno (Disenchantment) do their best to warn Belleza that like a flower, beauty and it's charms will not last.  Bellezza eventually discovers the truth, and frees herself from vanity, and in doing so, turns her heart to God.


Susanna MacRae - Bellezza

Susanna MacRae graduated from the Royal College of Music, London, where she studied with Jeffrey Stewart (Vocal Studies) and Nigel Clayton (Piano). Currently, she studies in London with Sheila Barnes and Jeremy Silver. 

On the operatic stage Susanna has recently completed a successful tour of Italy and Spain performing Galatea (Acis & Galatea) with Ad Parnassum as well as Emilie (Les Indes Galantes) in March for Benslow Baroque Opera. Later this year Susanna will perform the role of Bellezza (Handel's Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno) as a Périgord Noir Festival Young Artist, Frasquita in a touring production of Bizet’s Carmen with Barefoot Opera Young Artists and Euridice (Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice) with Grassroots Opera in a tour of south-west England.

This year she has competed as a finalist at The John Kerr Award for English Song, Cheltenham Baroque Singing Competition and in September has been selected as a semi-finalist in The Froville International Voice Competition in France.  Solo highlights include appearing as soprano soloist for numerous choral societies across south-west England and she regularly appears on the recital platform around London and the South, collaborating with Guy Murgatroyd (Piano) and Aidan Phillips (Harpsichord). Susanna is grateful for the generous support of The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust in supporting her studies.


Thalie Knights - Piacere

French bi-lingual Thalie trained with English National Opera on their distinguished Opera Works programme (2014/15) and was a 2016 Britten-Pears Young Artist where she performed Bach Cantatas under the guidance of tenor Mark Padmore. A finalist of the 2017 London Song Festival Lieder competition, Thalie was personally selected by Malcolm Martineau to take part in his residential masterclass series in Crear, Scotland, in January 2018.  She is an alumna of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

This season Thalie will sing the role of Piacere IL TRIONFO DEL TEMPO E DEL DISINGANNO (Le Festival de musique du Périgord Noir), Prue THE DANCING MASTER (The Malcolm Arnold Festival) and chorus for Longborough Festival Opera in their production of Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER.

With ENO she studied Bradamante ALCINA, Cornelia GIULIO CESARE and subsequently sang Medoro ORLANDO in the final performance - Landscape - at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.  Operatic roles include Mallika LAKMÉ, ARMIDE, Phèdre, cover, HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE, Second Lady THE MAGIC FLUTE, Frédéric MIGNON, Mrs Kneebone A DINNER ENGAGEMENT, Maman L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES, Sorceress DIDO AND AENEAS, Andreloun MIREILLE. For Longborough Festival Opera, Thalie has sung Chorus for their productions of Beethoven's FIDELIO and Gluck's ORFEO ED EURYDICE.

Clara Kanter - Disinganno

Clara read Social and Political Sciences at Clare College, Cambridge, before studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, finishing in 2018.

Clara’s operatic roles include Junon (Actéon), Mercedes (Carmen), Pitti-Sing (The Mikado), Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas), Dame Carruthers (The Yeomen of the Guard), Third Lady (The Magic Flute), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), and La Zelatrice (Suor Angelica). She was a soloist in Stockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht for Birmingham Opera Company, and has performed roles at Buxton Opera House and the Arcola Theatre for London’s Grimeborn Festival.

In concert, she has performed Berio’s Coro with the Lucerne Festival Academy Chorus under Sir Simon Rattle, and with the Norwegian Soloists Choir, as well as Vivaldi’s Gloria at the Purcell Room, Messiah at Cadogan Hall, Haydn’s Nelson Mass at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista (title role) for Théâtre Roger Barat, and Brahms and Schubert songs with The Prince Consort/Side by Side at Wigmore Hall. She has featured as a soloist for the Armonico Consort and in broadcast for BBC World Service Radio.

Matúš Šimko - Tempo

Matúšstudied at the Banskobystrický Konzervatóriu (S. Matis), while at the same time graduating from Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. Later, he developed his Baroque interpretation at L'Istituto Superiore di studi musicali G. Briccialdi in Terni, Italy (G. Banditelli).  As a soloist he has worked with orchestras such as Elbipolis Barockorchester Hamburg, Musica Florea, Czech Virtuosi, Solamente naturali, Il Cuore Barocco, Quasars Ensemble, and the Slovak Chamber Orchestra. Currently he sings in the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and attends private lessons with prof. Vlasta Hudecová.  Recent operatic roles include Pedrillo (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) Mozart.

Accompanied by The Baroque Collective (leader Alison Bury) and conducted by John Hancorn.
Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno | Audition Oracle