One of our principal missions over the last seventeen years has been to further the careers of young singers. Our efforts were fulfilled with our acclaimed production of L’elisir d’amore in which every one of the soloists had made their original operatic debut in our chorus. We are proud of all the singers who have sung with us and who have achieved great things. One of the ways we recognise potential is in the award of the Gil Rodriguez Scholarships which covers the expense of a singer coming to Baugé, and is generously funded by the Gil Rodriguez family. This year’s winners are testimony to the international nature of our festival.
Dr Blake Parham (tenor) is Australian. He is a graduate of the Young Artists’ Programme of the National Opera School of Australia, Brisbane and has sung roles for the State Opera of South Australia and Rockdale Opera. His doctorate in music is from the Sydney Conservatoire. He now lives in Poland with his Polish wife. For OdB he covered the role of Monostatos and sang it with distinction at the dress rehearsal. We hope he will sing a role with us next year.
Michael Georgiou (Baritone) is Greek. He studied at Athens Conservatoire and then at the University of North Texas where he sang various roles. Besides chorus work at OdB this year he made a notable contribution to the Schubert Lieder masterclass with Professor Richard Stokes and to the Lieder concert. We hope he will return next year in a role.
Michael Chun Ting Lam (Bass) is Hong Kong Chinese. He has his B.Mus. from the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, his M.Mus from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and his Postgraduate diploma from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. At OdB this year he did excellent chorus work and a beautifully executed cameo acting role. We hope he will sing a role next year.
Claudia Wood (soprano) is Scottish. She has her M.Mus from the Royal Welsh College of Music and is a graduate of the famous Wales International Academy of Voice. She has sung Nedda for the Festival de Valois. For OdB this year she sang Ines in Il Trovatore alongside the Leonora of Vlada Borovko and we hope this is the first of many engagements at Opéra de Baugé.
Michael Bushnell-Smith (baritone) sings with the BBC National Chorus of Wales. He is studying for a B.Mus. at the Royal Welsh Academy of Music where he was admitted on a scholarship. He was a valued member of the chorus this year and we hope he will return next year for new responsibilities.
Henry Bennett (baritone) was referred to us by Nan Christie, his teacher, as ‘one of the most musical singers I have ever taught.’ We valued his contribution this year and hope to welcome him back to OdB for even greater things.