Tuesday 18 October 2022

The Voice of Black Opera

Voice of Black Opera semifinalists
The first Voice of Black Opera competition was held in 2008 and helped launch the careers of winners Elizabeth Llewellyn, Peter Braithwaite and Nadine Benjamin. Now the Black British Classical Foundation, which exists to address classical music’s under-representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds, has relaunched the Voice of Black Opera competition and it will be held biannually.

This year's final takes place at Birmingham Town Hall on 5 December 2022 when five finalists will compete, accompanied by the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren. Each singer’s repertoire must include a performance of at least one contemporary song or aria by a Black or South Asian composer and finalists will also perform a duet with a leading opera singer.

The competition is open to Black and South Asian singers from Commonwealth countries and 12 semi-finalists have been chosen via video auditions. The 12 will be in Birmingham next month for intensive preparations for the semi-finals on 24 and 25 November 2022, as well as taking part in professional development workshops and a masterclass led by tenor Jean Ronald La Fond

The 12 semi-finalists are Natasha Agarwal - soprano (British Indian), Neil Balfour - bass-baritone (Scottish Indian), Rachel Duckett - soprano (British), Chantelle Grant - mezzo-soprano (Canadian), Christian Joel - tenor (Trinidadian), Thando Mjandana - tenor (South African), Yolisa Ngwexana - soprano (South African), John Onosolease - baritone (Nigerian), Isabelle Peters - soprano (British), Samkelisiwe Sitshinga - soprano (South African), Shanice Skinner - soprano (Canadian) and Suzanne Taffot - soprano (Canadian-Cameroonian).

Further details about the final from the B:Music website.

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