Prepare for Next Year's Festival: 12 - 21 June 2025

The prestigious Northern Aldborough Festival New Voices Singing Competition has unveiled its 2024 winner as Judith Le Breuilly (mezzo-soprano) and George Ireland (piano).

l-r Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred, Robert Ogden, Edward Gardner OBE, Sholto Kynoch, Judith le Breuilly, George Ireland, Sir John Tomlinson, Clara Orif and Jack Redman

The Birmingham-born singer is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal College of Music, and the National Opera Studio.

Judith le Breuilly receives the first prize for her and George Ireland from Laura Canning

Judith le Breuilly was a late addition to the semi-finalists, after another semi-finalist was forced to drop out owing to a family bereavement. With just 24 hours’ notice, she found a pianist, George Ireland, with whom she had never worked previously, and after safely negotiating the hotly contested semi-finals, triumphed on the night as the overall winner.

Now in its second year, the competition showcases exceptional UK classical vocalists, aged 18-32.

The Seastock Trust (First) Prize offers a £5,000 cash award, alongside a recital spot at the 2025 Northern Aldborough Festival. Judith was presented with the award on 18th June by Laura Canning, the new General Director of Opera North.

The live semi-finals took place on 17 June, with the grand final on 18 June, in the historic St Andrew’s Church in Aldborough in front of a festival audience and the judging panel.

Robert Ogden, director of the Northern Aldborough Festival, said: “We are absolutely thrilled for Judith and George. Their final programme was beautifully judged, and ideally suited Judith’s rich voice, clear diction, and rock-solid technique. It is all the more remarkable that this level of performance was achieved on a minimum of rehearsal. The high quality of entrants for the competition this year was truly astounding. We’re proud that the New Voices Singing Competition is the only one of its kind in the North of England.”

Judith has already attracted accolades as a finalist in the 2020 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and a Garsington Alvarez Young Artist for the 2022 season. Her recent engagements include roles in the Wexford Opera festival, Garsington Opera, and Welsh National Opera. She has also worked with various choral societies as a soloist, including Redditch Choral Society, Redhill Choral Society, and The Midlands Concert Orchestra.

Judges of the competition included the renowned conductor Edward Gardner OBE, the celebrated English bass and President of the Royal Northern College of Music, Sir John Tomlinson CBE, and pianist Sholto Kynoch.

The eight semi-finalists were shortlisted in a nationwide search spanning concert halls and conservatories.

Clara Orif receives her and Jack Redman second prize from Laura Canning

The second prize of £1500 sponsored by The Yorkshire Music Future Fund, went to soprano, Clara Orif (soprano) and Jack Redman (piano). Clara and Jack’s ‘bel canto’-rich programme showcased beautifully her plangent, even-toned voice, admirable range, and virtuosity.

Clara is a graduate of the Opera School, Royal Academy of Music.  She was a first prize winner of the Richard Lewis Competition and Isabel Jay Competition, with recent roles with Royal Academy Opera.

The Audience Prize, a heartfelt nod to the audience favourite, with a £500 award also went to Clara Orif and Jack Redman.

Sir John Tomlinson said: “I’m honoured to use my experience to not only judge this important competition, but help shine a light on the new stars of classical music, and help them in their journey.”

Sir John graduated from the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1970. Since then, he has performed leading roles with companies throughout the world.

Last year’s winner of the New Voices Competition, mezzo soprano Lea Shaw, was picked as a BBC Music Magazine Rising Star on the back of the win.

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the Northern Aldborough Festival, which sees remarkable talent from around the globe gather for ten days, from 13-22 June in the picturesque village, just half an hour from York or Harrogate.

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