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Saturday 23 Aug 2014

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Radio 2 Kiri Prize – semi-finalists announced

Fifteen talented singers have been selected to go through to the semi-finals of the BBC Radio 2 Kiri Prize, a nationwide hunt with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to find an opera star of the future.

The initiative, which further demonstrates Radio 2's commitment to supporting talent across a wide range of genres, launched in January 2010. Following regional auditions, 40 singers were invited to attend masterclasses in London with Dame Kiri, mezzo-soprano Anne Howells and renowned conductor Robin Stapleton. Fifteen performers have now been selected to go through to the semi final stages.

Anthony Cherry, Executive Producer, Radio 2 Kiri Prize, says: "We were extremely impressed by the high standard of the 630 entrants to the Radio 2 Kiri Prize. These 15 singers have impressed the judges with their talent and dedication and now have the chance to perform with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the semi finals stage. It's about to get even tougher for the contestants and the judges, as they look for five finalists from these 15. Radio 2 is proud to give one lucky person the unique opportunity to perform on stage with Dame Kiri and, we hope, go on to become an opera star of the future."

The semi-finalists are invited to perform in one of five special Friday Night Is Music Night programmes accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Their performances will be judged by Dame Kiri, Anne Howells, Robin Stapleton and director John Cox. These programmes can be heard on Radio 2 on Fridays at 8pm from 30 July to 27 August.

Five singers will then go through to the final which is broadcast on Radio 2 on Friday 3 September. Penny Smith joins Radio 2 for the first time as presenter of the semi-finals and the final.

The winner will perform with Dame Kiri at BBC Proms In The Park in London's Hyde Park on Saturday 11 September and be given the opportunity to attend a three-week residential course at the Solti Te Kanawa Accademia in Italy.

The 15 semi finalists are:

Alexander Grove – Tenor
Alexander trained as a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral in London and at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. His operatic / operetta roles have included Alfredo (Die Fledermaus) and Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola). Alexander is from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Andrew O Connor – Tenor
Andrew studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is currently with the Royal Opera Company Chorus. He is from Watford, Hertfordshire

Caroline Macphie – Soprano
Caroline is a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. Her operatic roles have included the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen and she has recently completed a series of Johann Strauss Gala Concerts throughout the UK and Ireland. Caroline is from Little Chalfont in Buckinghamshire.

Catrin Aur – Soprano
Catrin studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music and is currently at the International Academy of Voice in Cardiff. She recently represented the UK at the Montreal International Singing Competition and the Vinas International Singing Competition in Barcelona. Catrin is from Cardiff.

Gwawr Edwards – Soprano
Gwawr recently gained a Masters degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The recipient of a number of awards, she has performed in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, The Millennium Centre in Cardiff and Cadogan Hall. Gwawr is from Cardiff.

Hannah Bradbury – Soprano
Hannah began her voice training at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music. She is a postgraduate on the Royal Academy Of Music's Preparatory Opera Course and her concert work includes Handel's Messiah and Carmina Burana. Hannah is from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Ilona Domnich – Soprano
Ilona studied piano in St Petersburg, Russia and continued her studies at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in London. She has performed recitals in London, Paris and in Jerusalem. Ilona lives in London.

Lucy Hall – Soprano
Lucy is a recent graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and plans to return there later this year to undertake post-graduate training. She joined the Cantamus Girls Choir at the age of eight and continued to perform with them until she was 19. She has toured with the Choir in Europe and in China, and performed at The Royal Albert Hall. Lucy is a member of the British Youth Opera Chorus. Lucy is from Mansfield and currently lives in London.

Kathryn Rudge – Mezzo Soprano
Kathryn is in her final year of Postgraduate Opera and Vocal Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Her performances at the RNCM include Helene (La Belle Helene), Annio (La Clemenza di Tito), and Olga (Eugene Oengin). Kathryn is from Liverpool.

Laurie Ashworth – Soprano
Laurie studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal College of Music. She has worked with Grange Park Opera and British Youth Opera. Laurie is from Wigan.

Mario Sofroniou – Tenor
Mario completed his Post-graduate Diploma in Vocal Performance at Trinity College of Music. He has performed roles including Don Jose (Carmen) and Peter (Peter Grimes). Mario comes from Swindon, Wiltshire.

Rhian Lewis – Soprano
Rhian graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music. A former member of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera Chorus, Rhian is the recipient of a number of awards and her operatic engagements have included Jano (Jenufa), Nanetta (Falstaff) and Pamina (The Magic Flute). Rhian is from Cardiff.

Shuna Scott Sendall – Soprano
Shuna trained at RSAMD and graduated from the Alexander Gibson Opera School. She works with Scottish Opera and her roles have included The Aunt (Madame Butterfly), Micaela (Carmen), Magdalena (Die Meistersinger) and the Innkeeper's Wife (The Cunning Little Vixen). Shuna lives in Glasgow.

Susanna Gaspar – Soprano
Susanna is currently a Fellow at the Guildhall School. She has a piano degree from the Escola Profissional de Musica de Almada and trained at the Lisbon Conservatoire. She was a finalist in the Gold Medal Singing Competition and has performed the parts Papagena (Die Zauberflote) and Serpina (La Serva Padrona). Susanna lives in London.

Una McMahon – Mezzo Soprano
Una studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where she completed a Masters in Opera. Her roles include Maddalena (Rigoletto), Didone (L'Egisto) and Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte). Una is from Belfast and now lives in London.

SH3

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