The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) has announced its first Rising Stars of the Enlightenment cohort: a group of up-and-coming singers the ensemble believes to be ‘the opera and vocal stars of the future’.

The eight singers selected for the scheme will sing solo roles on stage at the Royal Festival Hall and BBC Proms, receive coaching and tutoring, and work with a roster of musicians including pianist Sir András Schiff and conductor William Christie.

The singers are: sopranos Charlotte Beament and Rowan Pierce, mezzo-sopranos Ciara Hendrick and Helen Charlston, tenors James Way and Nick Pritchard, baritone James Newby, and bass-baritone Dingle Yandell.

They were selected following two days of intensive auditions in February in front of a five-strong panel including OAE players and tenor Mark Padmore.

Crispin Woodhead, chief executive of the OAE, said: ‘These headline solo roles in OAE opera and vocal projects are the parts normally given to the world’s leading names – they are valuable centre-stage performance opportunities that will be a big break for these eight wonderful voices.’

‘Some of the OAE audience may recognise some familiar faces from the Orchestra’s in-house choir, the Choir of the Age of Enlightenment,’ said David Clegg, panel member and choir manager of the Choir of the Age of Enlightenment. ‘It is a particular joy for me to see that progression, and to know that the OAE is nurturing such excellent talent.’