HCO SINGER OF THE YEAR COMPETITION 2022 
in collaboration with

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Following the semi-finals and finals held on 20 November at Bournemouth University, we are delighted to announce the winners of this year's competition:

Nigel Beale Grange Festival First Prize - £2000 

Robert Lewis, tenor

John Harding Second Prize - £1000

Rosamond Thomas, mezzo soprano

Rosalind Armstrong Prize - £750

Marie Cayeux, soprano

Roger Higgins Prize - £500

Madeline Robinson, soprano 

Anthony Lowrey Audience Prize - £500

Marie Cayeux, soprano

Wendy Blamire Award* - £300

Robert Lewis, tenor

 

*The Wendy Blamire Award is given for outstanding linguistic and artistic commitment to text in at least two European languages other than English. 

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From left: Scott Cooper (judge), Michael Chance CBE (judge), Marie Cayeux, Madeline Robinson, Joan Rodgers CBE (Chair of judges), Robert Lewis, Rosamond Thomas, Paul Chilvers (pianist) and Hamish Brown (pianist)

About the competition  

Inaugurated in 2018, the HCO Singer of the Year Competition provides an important platform for young vocal talent. Selected prizewinners perform in recital and opera with us, and all entrants may be considered for future opportunities. Details of previous competitions, including lists of prizewinners, are given in the year tabs under HCO Competition, above.​

Robert Lewis receives the Nigel Beale Grange Festival First Prize from Chair of the Jury Joan Rodgers CBE with fellow judges Scott Cooper (left) and Michael Chance CBE (right).

In 2022 we were thrilled to collaborate with The Grange Festival. As well as being invited to perform with Hurn Court Opera, the winner of the 2022 Nigel Beale Grange Festival First Prize was also offered a contract in The Grange Festival Chorus in 2023, subject to a sufficient standard being reached. Michael Chance CBE, CEO and Artistic Director of The Grange Festival, and Scott Cooper, The Grange Festival's Director of Artistic Administration, joined the judging panel. We are most grateful to them and their colleagues for this much-valued association.

Semi-finals and finals 

Following assessment of 81 first-round online submissions by Hurn Court Opera Producer, Joy Robinson, and composer Philip Curran, eight semi-finalists performed at the finals day before a live audience: 

Daniel Gray Bell, tenor

Marie Cayeux, soprano

Natalie Davies, mezzo soprano

Clover Kayne, mezzo soprano​

Robert Lewis, tenor

Madeline Robinson, soprano

Luke Terence Scott, baritone

Rosamond Thomas, mezzo soprano

Judging the competition were Joan Rodgers CBE, international soprano (Chair), Michael Chance CBE, CEO and Artistic Director, The Grange Festival and Scott Cooper, Director of Artistic Administration, The Grange Festival.

 

The panel remarked on the high calibre of the singers reaching the semi-finals. Making the final choices could not have ben easy and we greatly appreciate the much-valued expertise of the judges so carefully applied to their decisions.

 

Similarly, sincere thanks are due to pianists Hamish Brown and Paul Chilvers, competition accompanists, who played for all the contestants with great sensitivity and artistry.

Rosamond Thomas, mezzo soprano, receiving the John Harding Second Prize 

Tenor Robert Lewis with his Nigel Beale Grange Festival First Prize certificate

As ever, we are hugely grateful to our loyal, dedicated and generous prize donors who make this competition possible: Nigel Beale, the late John Harding, Rosalind Armstrong and the Armstrong Family Trust, Roger Higgins, Anthony Lowrey, and Wendy Atkinson and Helen Nott for the Wendy Blamire Award.

And thank you, too, to Ian Davis and the staff of Bournemouth University for once again so generously allowing us to use the University facilities for this event.

 

But our deepest gratitude is to all the wonderful singers who entered the competition, making it what it is. All those present at the finals day heard memorable and touching performances, and we look forward to hearing some of you again soon.