The National Student Opera Society (NSOS) has announced details of its new mentoring programme. The project will offer four young singers the chance to work with one of four mentors on their own professional development.

The scheme takes place over three months, in the form of three online sessions, starting in 2022. The four mentors in this pilot project are soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught, tenor Nicky Spence and baritone Roderick Williams. They will be offering their mentees tailored professional coaching.

To apply for the programme, interested singers should fill in a short Google form with their personal and contact details, which of the mentors they would like to work with, a short paragraph about how they will benefit from mentoring and any supporting material that they’d like to be considered. Applications are open now and close at midnight on 10 January 2022.

NSOS said in a statement on Facebook: “This is a unique opportunity to work with world-leading artists and gain professional coaching. The first four mentors were chosen not just for their enormous talent and mentoring ability, but also their impressive track records for community and interdisciplinary engagements. The idea behind the mentoring scheme is to provide holistic advice to people who otherwise might not have the access or financial resources.”

The National Student Opera Society is an organisation run by young people that provides access to opera for 16-30 year olds. It offers resources, networks and events for free in order to allow young people to access opera regardless of socio-economic background. The organisation’s overall aim is to increase access to opera for young people.

Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan is a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate and a former Jette Parker Young Artist. Her roles have included Violetta in La traviata (The Fallen Woman, Verdi, 1853) for Scottish Opera and Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960) for RCS/Scottish Opera.

Her many awards include first prize at the 2016 Stella Maris Competition, the Clonter Opera Prize, the Margaret Dick Award, a Ye Cronies Opera award, the Bayreuth Prize from the Wagner Society of Scotland, third prize at the Les Azuriales International Singing Competition and the Ian Smith of Stornoway Award for Opera, awarded by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Irish mezzo Tara Erraught is a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. Roles include Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville, 1816), Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart, 1786) and an acclaimed American opera debut with the Washington National Opera as Angelina in La Cenerentola (Cinderella, Rossini, 1817).

She has received several awards, including Dublin’s National Concert Hall’s Rising Star Award, first prize in the Jakub Pustina International Singing Competition and both the Houston Grand Opera Prize and the Washington National Opera Prize at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.

Scottish tenor Nicky Spence is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. An inaugural Harewood Artist with the English National Opera, he returned to the company this year to make his role debut as Siegmund in a new English-language production of The Valkyrie (Wagner, 1876). In 2022 he is set to play Samson in Richard Jones’s new production of Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns, 1877) at the Royal Opera House.

He is a patron for both Blackheath Halls and its community opera company in London and Scottish Opera’s Young Company. He is also an ambassador for the charity Help Musicians UK and president of Dumfries’s Musical Theatre Company.

Another Guildhall graduate is British baritone Roderick Williams. His many parts include the title roles in Billy Budd (Britten, 1951), Don Giovanni (Mozart, 1787) and Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky, 1879), as well as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute, Mozart, 1791), both Marcello and Schaunard in Puccini’s La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896) and Figaro in The Barber of Seville.

His awards include Singer of the Year at the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards and he was appointed an OBE for services to music in 2017. He is also a composer and has had works premiered at London’s Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall and the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre, as well as on national radio.

For further information, see National Student Opera Society’s website.



Soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught, tenor Nicky Spence and baritone Roderick Williams will be offering coaching to four young singers in National Student Opera Society’s pilot mentoring scheme.