South East Wales

Opera singers' academy at Cardiff University to close

Dennis O'Neill
Image caption Dennis O'Neill is the academy's director

Cardiff University is to close an academy aimed at nurturing future opera stars, three years after it opened.

The International Academy of Voice has been operating at a "significant loss" since 2007 and the university "could not continue" subsidising it.

The academy, whose director is Welsh tenor Dennis O'Neill, aimed to attract an elite group of the most promising singers.

More than 50 singers have been coached and trained in the city so far.

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: "It is with regret that the International Academy of Voice at Cardiff University will be closed at the end of the calendar year.

"Since its creation in 2007 the academy has operated at a significant loss.

"In order to meet this deficit in the past, the university has heavily subsidised the academy.

"Unfortunately, in the current economic climate and particularly because of the funding challenges facing higher education, the university is unable to continue to provide the high level of financial support needed to sustain the venture."

Running costs

The university said it had tried to find ways to secure the academy's future, but could not source sufficient external funds to meet the running costs.

The academy is based at a university halls of residence site in Penylan.

World-class opera stars, including O'Neill and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, have given students the benefit of their experience. Dame Kiri gave a masterclass in 2008.

The academy was set up to offer one-to-one tuition to students over eight months, with experience of performing at least one opera.

At the time it was launched, Mr O'Neill said it had been an idea he had been thinking about for a decade and it was "unique" and "exciting" for Cardiff to offer practical courses.

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