Tuesday 16 November 2021

Counter-tenor Hugh Cutting wins the 2021 Kathleen Ferrier Awards

2021 Kathleen Ferrier Awards winners: Helen Charlston,  Hugh Cutting, Laura Perešivana - (Photo  Emma Brown Photography
2021 Kathleen Ferrier Awards winners: Helen Charlston,  Hugh Cutting, Laura Perešivana - (Photo  Emma Brown Photography

At a ceremony on Sunday night (14 November) the counter-tenor Hugh Cutting was announced as winner of the 66th Kathleen Ferrier Awards, the first counter-tenor to do so. The semi-finals and finals of this year's awards took place at Henry Wood Hall in front of a jury that included baritone Sir Thomas Allen, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, soprano Valerie Masterson, tenor Ian Partridge and pianist James Baillieu.

Hugh Cutting is a member of the Royal College of Music International Opera Studio, we heard him last year in Purcell with the English Concert [see my review], and he has been recording Purcell's odes with the King's Consort [see my review]. He was accompanied by George Ireland, and sang an aria from Handel's Agrippina, d'Indy Magrigal, two of Dvorak's Biblical Songs, an extract from George Benjamin's Written on Skin and Campian's Faire, if you expect admiring.

Second Prize went to soprano Laura Lolita Perešivana who studies at the National Opera Studio [see my article about the 2021/22 Young Artists showcase]. She was recently announced as a 2021 City Music Foundation (CMF) Young Artist [see my article], and her in the Guildhall School's programme of new operas in May this year [see my review]. She was accompanied by Joseph Beesley, and sang an aria from Handel's Rinaldo, Delius' Indian Love Song (from Three Shelley Songs), Jāzeps Vītols' Zaķu māte (Dziesmas bērniem), Rachmaninov's Сон (Op.38 no. 5) and an aria from Rossini's Semiramide.

The Ferrier Loveday Song Prize went to mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, who won first prize in the 2018 Handel Singing Competition. Her disc, Isolation Songbook comprising songs she commissioned in 2020 came out earlier this year [see my review], and we caught her recently in Strozzi, Purcell, Monteverdi, Eccles and Owain Park at a CMF concert [see my review]. She was accompanied by Natalie Burch and sang Brahms' Immer Leise wird mein Schlummer, Finzi's As I lay in the Early Sun, an aria from Handel's Semele, Shostakovich's Moi stikhi, and an aria from Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila

The accompanists prize went to pianist pianist Ilan Kurtser, who is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music, and is a Leeds Lieder Young Artist. Ilan Kurtser accompanied soprano Cassandra Wright in the final, performing arias from Bellini's I Puritani and Mozart's Idomeneo, plus songs by Strauss, Rachmaninov and Britten.

The awards will be streamed online for free on the Kathleen Ferrier Awards website. The semi-final will be broadcast on Monday 29 November, Tuesday 30 November, Wednesday 1 December and Thursday 2 December at 7.30pm. The final will be available to watch on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December at 7.30pm.


  1. Wonderful achievement Hugh. My best wishes for your future career.

  2. I loved your singing in New York on Thursday. Couldn't stay for Part II, but even so. I've only ever heard Florence Quivar in this role, so you had a high bar to attain. Kudos.


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