SEVEN GLORIOUS VOICES were on display at Deakin Edge, as the RMP Aria turned 10 in 2016!
On Sunday 14 August seven talented singers battled it out at the final of the 10th RMP Aria Competition, now firmly established as one of this city’s most important singing competitions.
RMP Aria founder and RMP Artistic Director Andrew Wailes chaired a distinguished panel of Adjudicators which this year also consisted of leading Australian mezzo soprano Sally-Anne Russell, acclaimed organist and composer Dr Calvin Bowman, and Official Accompanist Stefan Cassomenos.
The 2016 finalists were:
- Sydney based lyric soprano Sarah Ampil 25
- Melbourne born tenor Tomas Dalton 27
- Brisbane based baritone Samuel Piper 22
- Perth born mezzo soprano Fleuranne Brockway 24
- Tasmanian born now Queensland based contralto Anastasia Bickel 25
- Melbourne born counter tenor Maximilian Riebl 25
- Queensland born now Melbourne based bass Timothy Newton 25
- Winner: Max Riebl (performing Handel and Bach)
- Runner Up: Sarah Ampil (performing Mozart and Bach)
- Equal Third: Timothy Newton (Performing Haydn and Handel) and Fleuranne Brockway (Performing Rossini and Bach)
- Conductor’s Encouragement Award: Samuel Piper (performing Mendelssohn and Handel)
- People’s Choice Award: Max Riebl
In announcing the results, Wailes commented that this was one of the most polished performances yet and as high in standard as any other year in the competition’s history.
Past winners and runners up of the RMP Aria are now high profile classical singers who, according to Wailes are forging successful careers as concert artists all over the world – names like Sony recording artist Greta Bradman who recently toured India with the Australian World Orchestra; baritone Laurence Miekle (who having been based in London and Italy is now working at Theater Erfurt, Theater Nordhausen and Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany); Tasmanian bass-baritone Christopher Richardson who is now in demand both in Australia and in New Zealand; soprano Suzanne Shakespeare currently carving out a successful concert career in England; tenors Robert Macfarlane and Daniel Todd who are both enjoying great success in Germany, and baritones Nathan Lay and Jeremy Kleeman, who are both well known to Austraian audiences. What they all have in common is that their success in the RMP Aria was a huge springboard for their professional careers.
Each Finalist performed a short program of arias and recitatives from the world of oratorio, accompanied on piano by outstanding pianist and RMP Principal Accompanist Stefan Cassomenos. The Adjudicators awarded over $5000.00 worth of cash prizes, as well as other awards including coaching and professional photographic packages and future performance opportunities with the RMP. Other prizes included the People’s Choice Award, voted by all performers and members of the audience, and a special Conductor’s Encouragement Award.
Also on Sunday 14 August the popular annual Sing Your Own Oratorio event took place, where participants from Victoria’s choirs and the wider musical community workshoped and rehearsed Antonio Vivaldi’s sparkling Magnificat in G minor during the day, before performing it that evening with members of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and RMP Orchestra under the direction of conductor Andrew Wailes at the conclusion of the Final.
After the winners were announced the audience and contestants joined together for a convivial champagne supper at the conclusion of the evening. Wines were provided by Bonic Family Estate Wines.
“There is something really exciting about this event” said Wailes. “Hearing so many excellent young singers all on the verge of glittering careers performing such fantastic repertoire makes for a musically rewarding evening which is always memorable. The competition amongst the finalists just gets better and better every year.”
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