The festival features a number of public recitals and events and culminates in a vocal competition hosted by Northern Ireland Opera Patron and BBC Radio 3 presenter Sean Rafferty. Five singers from all over Ireland are chosen after submitting a recording and they spend four days working with top opera and song professionals including former Director of the National Opera Studio Kathryn Harries, Official Accompanist for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition Simon Lepper, and Principal Opera Coach at the Royal Academy of Music Ingrid Surgenor.
The young singers and pianists involved with the Festival of Voice benefit from a highly focused experience and the opportunity to perform and make contacts with opera professionals. The winner of the competition is awarded a monetary prize which is crucial at the stage they are in their careers, and they will act as an ambassador for the company performing at events and with the Young Artists.
A pianist internship is also offered as part of the festival and each year a young pianist is chosen to work closely with the coaches and play for rehearsals and the Irish song section of the competition. Another key element of the festival is the ‘Glens of Antrim Singing Explorers’, an outreach project which involves local primary school children in a singing summer school. The project culminates in a performance during the festival weekend which will help to develop the next generation of singers while promoting the festival to new audiences.
Click here to see photos from the 2017 Festival of Voice.
The Festival of Voice 2017 was generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Mid and East Antrim Council, the Esmé Mitchell Trust, the Londonderry Arms Hotel, and Glenarm Castle.