David Wilson, Partner, focuses on the following article by Northern Ireland Opera’s artistic director, Oliver Mears, who sets out what the organisation does for young artists and thanks Worthingtons for sponsoring a voice:
"A Central Part of Northern Ireland Opera’s work is the annual Festival of Voice which takes place in the historic village of Glenarm, Co. Antrim. The Festival’s main feature is a vocal competition for young singers aged 18-27 who are born on the island of Ireland and studying voice. Over the weekend the singers have the opportunity to work with top opera professionals including Iain Burnside, pianist and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster, and David Gowland, Director of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Masterclasses and coaching sessions focus on voice, performance, language, song selection and audition techniques, and the culmination of the Festival is a grand final with the singers competing for the coveted title of Northern Ireland Opera Voice of 2016. A singing summer school called ‘Singing Explorers’ involves local children, many of whom have never had the chance to sing before.
The exceptional and highly focused experiences that competitors have during the Festival of Voice are transformative for participants from Ireland and from the North especially, given the limited post-graduate training and performance opportunities on the island. In Northern Ireland there is no conservatoire or Masters course available and the majority of singers move to England, Wales or Scotland once they complete their undergraduate degrees. The Festival is an important platform for the competitors to perform and make contacts, resulting in tangible professional opportunities, and the monetary prize helps the winning singer at a crucial stage in their career.
Funding from private and corporate sources is absolutely essential to the continued functioning of this Festival, the only one of its kind on the island of Ireland, and thus to the development of emerging talent from this country. We are grateful to the generosity of all our sponsors in the past few years, who have played a key role in making sure Northern Irish singers are heard on this unique platform for their talents and would like to thank Worthingtons for their generous donation.”
Oliver Mears, Artistic Director, Northern Ireland Opera