Join the Singer’s Special Friends
Thanks to the heart-warming generosity of our friends and supporters, we have established a Singer’s Friends Fund to support our young singers at critical times in their careers; whether it is for help with audition fees, recordings, website design, travel expenses, Masterclasses or vocal coaching.
If you are able to join us in helping young singers further their careers by donating to this Fund we would be eternally grateful!
Thank you from our Singer’s Friends Fund mini-grant recipients and Bursary Award winners!
In 2016, I co-wrote an adaptation of Puccini’s La Bohème, which I also starred in (singing Mimi). The production is a completely updated re-telling of Puccini’s tale of tragic love and loss, set in contemporary Dalston. Mimi’s death is completely re-envisioned. She dies of a heroin overdose. In the 19th Century the disease which killed the poor, underfed, cold and needy was TB. We wanted to tell the story of a twenty-first century social disease, which predominantly claims the lives of the disadvantaged, with little else to live for – addiction.
The show had an incredibly successful run at the King’s Head Theatre before transferring to the West End in December 2017. We were amazed to discover that we had been nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production – up against two Royal Opera House Productions of vastly grander scale and budget; Semiramide and Exterminating Angel.
Unfortunately, each production company is only offered two tickets (in this instance, for the producer and director of the show) for the awards ceremony. Being a small theatre in the midst of a huge fundraising campaign, the King’s Head is simply not able to afford further tickets to attend the awards, walk the red carpet, and potentially go up on stage to claim the award should we win. As a freelance singer, it is very difficult for me to afford my own ticket. Larger institutions simply buy extra tickets for attendees they wish to honour – this simply isn’t possible for a fringe venue and registered charity. Thank you to Opera Prelude for enabling me to attend.
Thank you for my Opera Prelude mini grant! I have so enjoyed working with Maria Levandovskaya on the last couple of Russian lectures and am looking forward to putting this grant towards further Russian coaching and a recording of a number of the arias we performed, plus some others pieces. Recordings are a really important part of getting yourself seen and heard and this grant to make my recording will make a huge difference for me. I hope to record in July. Thank you!
‘I am enormously grateful to Opera Prelude for awarding me a grant that will make it possible to continue my vocal training whilst I embark on the beginning of my career, such support is so vital at this point of my development’
Ben Williamson (countertenor) has recently benefited from an Opera Prelude mini grant.
“I would like to share with you all how I plan to invest the Opera Prelude mini grant but first of all, I would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ – your generosity has made this project a real possibility!
Initially, I planned to record a CD of English Song, but I have now decided that the best investment would be to put the money towards producing a promotional video. The video, which I hope to film in January, would feature myself singing three arias with a small period orchestra.
As you can imagine producing a video is expensive. Costs include hiring musicians for one day (£2000), the actual audio and video recording (£1000) as well as venue hire (£500) and the hire and tuning of a harpsichord or chamber organ (£500). The total cost is around £4000 and I currently have 50% of the total budget I need.
This is such an exciting opportunity for me and I truly believe it will allow me to move my career to the next level.
If you would like to help me raise the extra finances needed, please contact me at email@example.com or if you would like to see my latest schedule of events, photographs and news please have a look on my website http://www.benjaminwilliamson.com
Many thanks again for your incredible generosity!”
Dear Opera Prelude,
Thanks to the Singer's Friends Fund I was able to a session of NYIOP International Auditions in London and sing for 7 different European houses in one go, saving me a lot of money with travelling to these places individually.
Thank you so much for your help and support with this!!
Thanks to Opera Prelude and it’s incredibly kind supporters I am able to use this grant towards my course at The Berlin Opera Academy, playing the role of Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos. This course will take me to Berlin for 30 days of intense study, coaching and language tuition. The course is expensive, and thanks to Opera Prelude and others, my time will be spent learning the role and the language rather than raising money. My heartfelt thanks to Fiona and Opera Prelude.
‘Thank you for this Opera Prelude grant which is contributing towards my current studies on English National Opera’s Opera Works course. The course is an invaluable introduction to the many skills required to sing as a soloist at an international level. The masterclasses we have had so far this year have been with highly celebrated professionals in the worlds of theatre, dance, movement, sports psychology and obviously opera. Our individual coaching with the music staff at ENO have been invaluable as has been the opportunities to watch all the dress rehearsals and speak to the soloists. Thank you for supporting my studies at ENO and I look forward to exploring the new skills that this course is equipping me with.’
Mari Wyn Williams
Thank you Opera Prelude supporters. I am so thrilled to be awarded this mini grant. I will put it to great use. My intention is to put the money towards coaching for my upcoming performance of Die Walkure at Grange Park Opera where I will be performing the role of Valkyrie Helmwige. I also have an upcoming audition in Munich, so I really appreciate the help. Your support is so important to young singers and none of us could do it without you.
With this generous donation from OP Singers' Friends Fund, I will be able to pay for my travel to Italy this Spring where I will work with my coach at La Scala, Massimiliano Bullo. Having met this summer in China and worked on a diverse array of Italian language rep together at the Suzhou Grand Theatre, I look forward to delving further into the Bel Canto repertoire with him, and auditioning for La Scala and the Academia Rossiniana in Pesaro. Grazie Mille!
The financial assistance provided through Opera Prelude has given me an extremely helpful financial boost. I will use the award to help cover the costs of coaching, recordings, sheet music and audition travel expenses. Opera Prelude in this instance, and more generally, is a rare champion in its support of singers in the often difficult, transitional years, after their formal training is completed at Music College. I am most grateful to the anonymous donor who has made this Bursary Award possible.
I am thrilled to be the recipient of this Opera Prelude bursary. It will enable me to pay for singing lessons for the next half year, as well as make a good quality video and audio recording at the end of it. This means that I can really focus on working on my technique whilst having something positive to aim towards. I'm extremely grateful to the donor and to Opera Prelude for giving me this opportunity!
Many thanks to the generous donors who support Opera Prelude’s fund for young singers! I’m very excited to have received funding for coachings with legendary soprano Dame Anne Evans, whom I sang for in Opera Prelude’s recent Masterclass arranged with the International Opera Awards. Thank you to the Singer’s Friend’s Fund for giving me this wonderful opportunity - I feel Dame Anne’s input will be very valuable whilst I prepare for auditions over the summer.
I was lucky enough to be asked to sing at the Solti-Peretti repetiteur's course in Venice. Whilst all fees and costs were covered, I had to fund all the travel myself. Without the financial assistance from the Singer's Friends Fund, I would have been unable to attend. There I received personal coaching from maestro Richard Bonynge, Pamela Bullock (Lyric Opera Chicago) and James Vaughan (Head of music, La Scala). It is with great thanks to the Singer's Friends Fund that I could be there.
For the Opera Prelude Bursary
2016 Singer's Friends Fund
The grant given to me by OP allowed me to take part of the 2015 Zinka Milanov Voice Competition. Besides receiving very coherent feedback from the panel that has since shaped my studies and improved my performances, I have also established very useful connections with conductors and agents, which may lead to future work. This would have not been possible without the tireless support and dedication of this incredible charity.
I am writing to express my thanks for the grant which you have so kindly given me through Opera Prelude. As I'm sure you already know, building a career as an opera singer is a long and difficult road and young singers often require financial support. Your generosity will enable me to have the singing lessons and coachings necessary to continue my progress as an artist, as well as to go abroad for auditions and further tuition. These coachings and auditions are vital at the stage I am at and would not be possible without funds, so I am very grateful indeed for your help and support.
Receiving this bursary is such a wonderful gift, and enables me to take on opportunities that would be prohibitively expensive otherwise. This includes being able to audition abroad, and make some much needed new recordings. It also helps support the continual need for lessons and coaching. I am so grateful and can’t say it enough: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
I am so thankful to be awarded a grant from the Singer's Friends Fund at Opera Prelude, which will cover my accommodation and travel to the Dartington International Summer School in August, where I will be singing the roles of Marzia in Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica, led by Adrian Chandler and directed by Richard Williams, and Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, conducted by the esteemed Russian specialist Sian Edwards. The Summer School will be a brilliant opportunity to work with such knowledgeable musicians and to learn valuable opera roles which I hope to perform again in my future career, and the grant will allow me to do this without financial worry. Thank you so much for your support - I really appreciate it!
I am absolutely thrilled to be awarded the Opera Prelude Song Prize, and to have a chance to work further with Della Jones. The Masterclass with her last month was extremely informative and I came away longing to get more of her input on my other arias - and now that’s feasible! Thank you very much for making this opportunity possible.
I had my first coaching with Della yesterday and it was fantastic - she’s very generous with her time, I was there nearly two hours!
I’m thrilled to be going to Vienna to study German this summer, the support from the Singer’s Fund means I can afford to spend the whole of August away on the course. I will be living in university halls in the city, and taking classes each morning. The afternoons will then be spent revising the language and of course trying it out! This will put me in a much better position for auditioning in Germany, and will greatly assist with my German repertoire. Thank you!
Please accept my sincerest thanks for helping me buy my tailcoat set. These are essential for singers but fairly expensive and your precious help has allowed me to order a great set which will serve for years to come. Thank you for being there for young singers and making a difference for us. You help is invaluable.
My Opera Prelude Singers' Friends Fund grant is extremely meaningful to me as a recent college graduate, still finding my feet, trying to afford all the lessons and coachings that moving up in the opera world necessitates. For every young singer, a huge, but key-step, is trying to enter the opera world in Europe. This means not only perfecting the pronunciation of the European languages you sing in, but also being able to communicate with colleagues and potential employers abroad; especially in Germany. A course of ten German lessons will be a big step towards transforming my German from broken and unusable, to conversational. I am truly grateful to the Trustees and Opera Prelude supporters for giving me this chance, and have booked my first German lesson for next week!
Thank you so much for making this grant scheme possible. Thanks to your generosity I am able to complete a series of recordings at the Royal Academy of Music. These recordings represent the practical side of my PhD thesis and will be handed in alongside my written dissertation. Hopefully my thesis will be useful to other young singers who struggle with the same issues I did. I have worked so hard over the past 4 years to complete this academic project and I couldn’t have done it without your support; I am ever so grateful!
I’m so grateful to the Singers’ Friends’ Fund for helping me to push my freelance career forward. Having good recordings is an essential part of getting more work, and having an excellent pianist is an essential part of a great recording! I would struggle to pay for this important element of my work without the Fund, thank you so much to all who have helped to create it…I know all of us at Opera Prelude are extremely indebted to you!
Receiving a mini-grant from the Singers Friends Fund has been incredibly helpful. It will enable me to have 2 coaching sessions for Italian language work and technical development vocally. I have always tried to ensure I have the best teacher I can possibly afford; this grant enables me to seek out other people and get their opinions and advice, which is so useful. So a great giant thank you to you all for enabling me to continue with my development!
Thank you very much indeed for the grant towards my Italian course at the British Institute of Florence. This is an invaluable stage of professional development for me because I spend a large amount of time working on opera in Italian. To have a strong grasp of the grammar of the language as well as its vocabulary and pronunciation gives me a real feel of authority when coaching singers and thinking about the drama. So far it's going very well! Only yesterday I found out that the words 'beltà' and 'beltade', meaning 'beauty', are poetic/archaic, and the modern equivalent is 'bellezza'... here is a nuance which I was previously unaware of, but obviously affects the sentiment of the text considerably.
I look forward to seeing you at a lecture in the future, and thank you and Fiona again for your support.
I was so thrilled this week to find out that I have been awarded a grant from the Singer's Friends Fund at Opera Prelude. With their very generous support I will be able to take my study of the German Language very seriously in the coming months, and I know that with their backing I will come on leaps and bounds. I am so grateful to be part of such a wonderfully supportive organisation as Opera Prelude, which really does everything within its power to create a thriving artistic community.
The award made to me by the Singers Friends Fund, covering the expenses of attending two training courses this summer, has taken a huge weight from my shoulders and for which I am extremely grateful. In July I will attend the Southrepps Music Festival young artists program, a week-long course run by English tenor Ben Johnson and pianist Thomas Primrose. In August I will be singing the title role in Eugene Onegin for Dartington International Summer School, performed in Russian with full orchestra and conducted by Sian Edwards. The experience and expertise I hope to gain from working with these musicians on my core repertoire will be invaluable for my future. Thanks to the Singers Friends Fund I can do so without financial worry.
If you would like to champion our work, there are a variety of ways in which you can do so now. Do get in touch – we would love to talk to you about any help you can give. Please telephone Fiona Hamilton on 07908894333 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Trusts and Foundations
Opera Prelude seeks support from Trusts and Foundations for a range of events and projects planned throughout the year.