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Singing praise for vocal academy

24 July 2007

The First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government has praised the University’s Cardiff International Academy of Voice as a "unique venture that is bringing enormous credit to Wales."

Developed by Cardiff University and the internationally renowned Welsh tenor, Dennis O’Neill, the Cardiff Academy welcomed elite opera singers from around the world earlier this year. Footage from the launch can be viewed here with students embarking on the Academy’s unique programme of personalised vocal training.

The Cardiff Academy’s new approach to operatic training with workshops and masterclasses has attracted widespread praise and audiences have enjoyed student concerts and recitals.

The First Minister Rhodri Morgan praised the singers as "a credit to Dennis O’Neill’s master-class coaching skills" when he attended the Academy’s recent Operatic Gala, with performances by students Laura Parfitt and Jurgita Adamonyte.

He added that the Academy is a "huge coup for Cardiff University". As the Cardiff Academy strongly believes that the best teacher is the stage itself students have also spent time in Italy in study and in performance and will soon perform at the Wexford Opera Festiva in Ireland.

The students spent a two week period studying and performing at the Teatro dei Diferenti in Barga, Italy. During their inaugural visit this year the students performed in three concerts in Barga and one in Florence.

Moira Macfarlane, the British Consul in Florence said: "The concert series in Barga Cathedral and the British Institute of Florence has been the most wonderful showcase for voice training in Britain and at Cardiff University in particular. Dennis O’Neill and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the exceptionally high standards of these young singers."

In further success Korean Baritone, Seungwook Seong studying at Cardiff Academy has been awarded the Stuart Burrows International Voice Award. The competition was held during the Final Concert of the Trinity Arts Festival. In an exceptional final which saw six soloists compete for the coveted award, Seungwook impressed judges Stuart Burrows, Dame Anne Evans, and Brian Hughes who congratulated all of the finalists for the high-standard of the competition. Academy student Paul O'Neill from Australia also got through to the final round of the competition.

Already Seungwook has performed with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and has sung the principal role in Don Giovanni at Amersham Opera Festival earlier this year.

Parents and students at the University’s graduation ceremonies this year have also enjoyed performances from three of the Academy’s students Seungwook Seong, Luciano Botelho and Gergely Nemeti. These performances can be enjoyed again at the graduation webcast archive at: