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Inspirational singing from Cardiff International Academy of Voice

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 15:32 UK time, Monday, 16 November 2009

Two of the operatic stars of tomorrow will be joining me on this week's Radio Wales Arts Show. They're both studying at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, set up at the University by one of the world's favourite tenors, Dennis O'Neill.

The course is designed to give young professional singers a firm grounding in performance and hone their skills with expert tutors and it attracts singers from literally across the world.

On Friday they'll be giving a Gala Concert at Cardiff University's Corbett Hall and last weekend saw them working with pupils from three South East Wales schools - Howell's School and Ysgol Gyfun Plasmawr in Cardiff and Hawthorn High School in Pontypridd.

It was the culmination of a 10 week project to give 16-18 year olds the experience of singing operatic choruses alongside the professionals and then to perform the extracts from six operas at BBC Hoddinott Hall in a cleverly staged production by Thomas Oliver.

The whole cast - pupils and young professionals - performed brilliantly and the schools and Academy are looking forward to being able to continue the work and increase young people's interest in opera.

On Thursday's Radio Wales Arts Show I'll be joined by Australian mezzo-soprano Lauren Easton and Welsh tenor Alun Rhys Jenkins. They'll be telling me more about the different experiences they're gaining on the CIAV course and proving that the operatic world is anything but stuffy.


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