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The Festival of Voice is our annual celebration of singing in the historic coastal village of Glenarm, Co. Antrim.

It features six public recitals and events, including three concerts in partnership with and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 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.

This year, The Festival of Voice will be taking place in First Church Belfast due to the current public health crisis. The competition will still take the form of a live opera performance which will be recorded and broadcast through our YouTube channel.  This year’s finalists are David Corr (baritone), David Howes (bass baritone), Andrew Irwin (tenor), Sarah Luttrell (mezzo soprano) and Jade Phoenix (soprano).

This year’s BBC Radio 3 recitals will feature Ailish Tynan (soprano), Anna Huntley (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 later in the year.

You can find further details here.

The young singers and pianists involved with the Glenarm 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 the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize, also a monetary prize which is crucial at the stage they are in their careers, plus the opportunity to attend Bruno Caproni’s summer school in Tuscany, Canto al Serchio.

A pianist internship is 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 during the Irish song section of the competition finale.

Our outreach element of the festival is the ‘Glens of Antrim Singing Explorers’, which involves local primary school children in a week-long singing summer school. The children perform a concert at the end of their scheme as part of the festival weekend, helping develop the next generation of singers and promoting the festival to local family audiences.

Brian McAlea, winner of the Audience Prize 2019 and Ava Dodd, winner of the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize 2019

The Glenarm Festival of Voice 2019 was generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Mid and East Antrim Council, the Esmé Mitchell Trust, Canto al Serchio, The Londonderry Arms Hotel, and Glenarm Castle.