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This August we will celebrate The Festival of Voice 2020 which this year, because of the COVID 19 crisis, will be held in Belfast.  The theme will be ‘Myths and Legends’

Every year we work in partnership with BBC Radio 3 who record three concerts with invited artists, which are then broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in the early Autumn. This year’s recitals will feature Ailish Tynan (soprano), Kitty Whately (mezzo soprano), James Newby (baritone) and Simon Lepper (piano) and will be recorded in Belfast. As in previous years, these performances will then be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at lunchtime between October 27th and 30th  Read more about our partnership with BBC Radio 3 here.

During the Spring each year, we also invite applications from singers between the ages of 18 and 28, born on the island of Ireland, to be one of five finalists competing at the Festival of Voice for the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize, and the Audience Prize.  This year’s finalists are David Corr (baritone) from Dublin, David Howes (bass baritone) from County Clare, Andrew Irwin (tenor) from County Fermanagh, Sarah Luttrell (mezzo soprano) from County Laois and Jade Phoenix (soprano) from County Wicklow.

These five singers will have the opportunity to work with prestigious vocal coaches in the build-up to the Competition Finale on Sunday 30th August where they will sing arias, duets and Irish songs in front of a panel of opera experts, hosted by our Patron, Sean Rafferty.  They will compete for the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize to become the Northern Ireland Opera Voice of 2020.

Five finalists and three coaches for the Festival of Voice standing at a social distance in the venue First Church Belfast
The finalists and coaches for the Festival of Voice 2020

The Competition Finale will be filmed for online broadcast on our YouTube channel on September 13th 2020 at 8 p.m.

Update: the winner of the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize 2020 is David Corr, pictured here.  The winner of the audience prize is Andrew Irwin. For further details please follow this link.

David Corr, winner of the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize

Find out further information about the Festival and view our gallery from previous years here.

Creative Team

Competition Coach
Kathryn Harries
Competition Coach
Ingrid Surgenor
Competition Coach
Simon Lepper
Competition Coach
Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle
Competition Accompanist
Ruth McGinley
Competition Accompanist
Frasier Hickland
Competition Accompanist
Fionnuala Ward
Festival Intern
Connlaodh McDonagh