Press release: Tenor Boyd Owen wins the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship

19 July 2017

On Sunday 16th July, tenor Boyd Owen won the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, which was held at The Concourse Concert Hall, Chatswood. He was awarded a $35,000 scholarship, $5,000 cash, plus airfares to the value of $3,000 allowing him the opportunity to engage in advanced studies abroad.

Boyd recently made his debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall singing the tenor solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana, followed by Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Shanghai, China, where he is currently studying with Professor Qilian Chen at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Performing Ah! mes amis - pour mon âme from La Fille du Régiment by Donizetti and Che gelida manina from La Bohème by Puccini, Boyd not only demonstrated a high level of technique but captured the attention of adjudicators Anson Austin OAM and Peter Coleman-Wright AO with his storytelling ability and musical interpretation. 

Adjudicator Peter Coleman-Wright AO emphasised the important role events such as the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship play in establishing the careers of emerging artists.

“Opportunities such as the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship really give young singers a fabulous start and platform in launching their careers, both financially and with much needed exposure” said Coleman-Wright.

Boyd Owen expressed gratitude for being awarded the scholarship that will allow him to focus on his operatic career.

“When they announced my name as the winner I must admit there was an avalanche of emotion as I have won very few competitions in the past, even though I have been doing them for twenty years now since my early secondary school years. There was such a mixture of relief, disbelief, exhaustion, pride, happiness and deep gratitude that I actually started to cry. I will remember that moment my whole life.” Said Owen.

“I have a long list of roles I have been asked to learn but have never had time to as, like everyone does, I've had to squeeze study in alongside day jobs. These roles include some new Rossini and Mozart classics as well as Bel Canto masterpieces by Donizetti and Bellini. Now I can take some serious time to just focus on in-depth study as once I’ve learned the roles as much as I can I will go to Europe to polish them thoroughly with specialist coaches and conductors. Without the scholarship there’s no way I could do this.”

Previously known as the Sun Aria, this annual event has been showcasing Australia’s operatic talent for the past 85 years. Now carrying a total prize purse of $58,500, it has served as launching pad for some of the nation’s greatest singers.  The names of soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, tenor Stuart Skelton and other earlier winners enrich the value of its past, while younger artists, including soprano Stacey Alleaume, tenor Darren Pene Pati and countertenor Nicholas Tolputt, who triumphed on its stages last year, already illuminates its future promise.

The events $58,500 total prize value would not have been possible without the generous support provided by sponsors Elizabeth Todd OAM, Paula Clarkstone OAM, The John Lamble Foundation, Douglas Sutherland AM, Brian France AM, Phillippa France and Michael Taylor. 

The other finalists that performed on the night were Jessica Harper, Danita Weatherstone, Zoe Drummond, Joelene Griffith, Imogen-Faith Malfitano, Bronwyn Douglass and Amanda Windred, all who performed exceptionally well making the adjudication process incredibly difficult.

These eight finalists were selected from 60 entrants and made it through the Heats, Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals, proving to be some of Australia's finest emerging Opera singers. 

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