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Winners of Les Azuriales Young Artists' Competition announced

23 August 2011, Cannes, France

Winner Ben McAteer with sponsor Linda Fenwick (CEO, Ozone HR)
Winner Ben McAteer with sponsor Linda Fenwick (CEO, Ozone HR)(Photo: Mark Holford)

Prizewinners Jonathan McGovern, Ben McAteer and Robyn Allegra Parton
Prizewinners Jonathan McGovern, Ben McAteer and Robyn Allegra Parton(Photo: Mark Holford)

The 2011 Les Azuriales Ozone Young Artists’ Competition has been won by baritone Ben McAteer.

He was one of nine young singers who took part in last Sunday’s final, held at the magnificent Bel Époque Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St Jean Cap Ferrat.

McAteer received a cash prize of €2,500, sponsored by Ozone HR, and a glass sculpture created by two of the UK’s leading glass makers, Sally Fawkes and Richard Jackson.

Awards also went to baritone Jonathan McGovern (best runner-up) and soprano Robyn Allegra Parton (most promising singer under the age of 26).

Jurors for the Competition included Opera Now Editor, Ashutosh Khandekar, who said: “Ben was a clear winner. He has a beautiful tone, mature beyond his 24 years, and he sang Schumann's Belsazar with a keen sense of drama and colour, animating the theatrical twists and turns of the story.”

 “The standard of the competition was very high all round, and the jury had to deliberate long and hard about the placing of the other participants. Jonathan McGovern, winner of the Karaviotis Prize, gave a very polished, confident performance which displayed his ability to charm his audience. Robyn Parton, aged just 24, showed plenty of thoughtful and delicate poise in her aria from Strauss's Rosenkavalier.”

Prior to Sunday’s final, the singers had been in the South of France for a week, taking part in private masterclasses given by mezzo-soprano, Sally Burgess. The course focused on acting and musical interpretation, culminating in a public masterclass in Beaulieu-sur-Mer and two scenes performed during the judges’ deliberations at the end of the Competition.

A number of Les Azuriales prizewinners and finalists have gone on to participate in the Royal Opera House's Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, evidence of the Competition's growing standing in the opera world.

All winners and some of the finalists will appear in a concert in London at the beginning of 2012.


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