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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Radio 2 Kiri Prize – fifth finalist announced

Soprano Laurie Ashworth from Wigan has been selected as one of the five finalists of the BBC Radio 2 Kiri Prize – Radio 2's nationwide search with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to find an opera star of the future.

Laurie secured her place in the final with outstanding performances of Caro Nome from Verdi's Rigoletto and Ach, Ich Fuhl's from Mozart's The Magic Flute accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra in a semi-final concert held at BBC Television Centre in London.

Her performance was judged by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, mezzo-soprano Anne Howells, renowned conductor Robin Stapleton and director John Cox and was heard tonight in Radio 2's flagship live music programme Friday Night Is Music Night, introduced by Penny Smith

This is the fifth of five semi-final concerts, each featuring three talented singers performing for a place in the final. These concerts are broadcast over five weeks on Radio 2 from 30 July to 27 August.

Laurie will join Cardiff-based soprano Gwawr Edwards; tenor Alexander Grove from Congleton, Cheshire; soprano Hannah Bradbury from Staffordshire; and Glasgow-based soprano Shuna Scott Sendall in the Final, which can be heard on Radio 2 on Friday 3 September between 8-10pm, presented by Penny Smith.

The winner of the Radio 2 Kiri Prize 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.

Laurie says: "The Radio 2 Kiri Prize has been a great adventure, and I still have to pinch myself to remind myself that I'm in the final. To sing for such a distinguished panel, to work with one of the world's greatest sopranos, and to perform with such a fantastic orchestra has been a huge privilege. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and will never forget it!"

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.

The Radio 2 Kiri Prize is the highlight of Friday Night Is Music Night's summer season of programmes and further demonstrates Radio 2's commitment to supporting talent across a wide range of genres. It launched in January 2010 and, following regional auditions, 40 singers were invited to attend masterclasses in London with Dame Kiri, Anne Howells and Robin Stapleton.


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