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29 April 2010
A University opera star has won one of the country’s most prestigious singing competitions, joining a distinguished list of previous winners.
International Academy of Voice baritone Njabulo Madlala was awarded first prize in the annual Kathleen Ferrier Award Competition.
Awarded unanimously, the 28-year old South African went on to wow audiences with the power and poetry of his performance at the Wigmore Hall in London - an essential platform for the world's most sought-after soloists and chamber musicians.
The purpose of the Kathleen Ferrier Award, set up to honour one of the best-loved and most admired British contralto singers in the world, is to provide young singers of any nationality who have completed at least one year of study at a UK, with sufficient support to cover the cost of further study. Winners are awarded £10,000 and the opportunity for world-wide recognition.
Previous winners of the Award have included internationally-renowned opera star Bryn Terfel and Grammy Award-winning soprano, Janice Watson.
On winning the Award, Njabulo said: "Winning the Kathleen Ferrier Award is the most exciting thing that could ever have happened in my life. Coming from South Africa to the UK to study, I never dreamed of this happening!
"Since coming to study in the UK, I’ve been very fortunate whilst at the Guildhall School of Music and now at the Academy of Voice to meet and work with musicians who are right at the top of their careers such as Dennis O’Neill and the many eminent artists he invites to the Academy. These opportunities, together with the great warmth and support I’ve encountered here, have benefitted me enormously, broadening my experience and increasing my chances of having a successful career in opera".
Dennis O’Neill, Director of the Academy said: "Everyone at the International Academy of Voice is absolutely thrilled with the news of Njabulo’s major achievement in winning the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award and we look forward to him joining us in Tuscany where he will sing a key role in our Opera performances.
"It is so satisfying to see his major talent recognised and encouraged in this important way. We are all delighted to have been able to be part of this important success".
Njabulo Madlala will be one of a number of Academy students undertaking a three-week residency in the Italian town of Barga where they will perform a gala of operatic arias and ensembles, a sacred music concert, and a full-scale opera - Donizetti’s L’Ajo nell’imbarazzo (The Tutor in a Jam).
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