Bampton Classical Opera has announced that its full judging panel for this year’s Young Singers’ Competition has been confirmed. Belfast-born vocal coach Ingrid Surgenor completes the line-up that also comprises tenor Bonaventura Bottone and mezzo-soprano Jean Rigby.

Surgenor is a pianist and internationally renowned accompanist for the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff. She is also senior coach at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and principal opera coach at the Royal Academy of Music.

The first round of the Young Singers’ Competition, which are closed sessions, will take place on 28 and 29 October at the Manoukian Music Centre in south-west London. Competitors are given a 15-minute performance time. They are asked to prepare three items, from which the jury will choose to listen to two. One work should be an 18th-century aria.

Winners of the first round will proceed to the final. The public final will take place on 25 November at 6pm. The Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, in Oxford is the venue.

In a 20-minute performance, competitors will be asked to sing a varied and balanced programme of contrasting items to include opera and song. At least one work should be in English and one should be an 18th-century aria.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £2,000, with a runner-up prize of £1,000. There is also an accompanists’ prize of £600.

Held every two years, this is the sixth iteration of the Young Singers’ Competition. It was launched in 2013 to mark Bampton’s 20th anniversary. It is now well established and is known for identifying, rewarding and nurturing some of the country’s most talented young professional singers aged 21-32 and their accompanists.

The previous winners are mezzo-soprano Anna Starushkevych (2013), soprano Galina Averina (2015), mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard (2017), soprano Lucy Anderson (2019), and soprano Cassandra Wright (2021).

In 2017 an accompanists’ prize was introduced, and the first winner was Keval Shah, followed by Dylan Perez in 2019 and Ilan Kurtser in 2021.

The company said in a statement: “Bampton Classical Opera has a reputation for its commitment to young talent, and a number of singers who have appeared on the Bampton stage have gone on to work with national companies such as The Royal Opera, English National Opera and Opera North.”

Tickets for the public final are available from Bampton Classical Opera now.



This year’s Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition includes pianist and vocal coach Ingrid Surgenor on the judging panel.