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Meet the 2023 Finalists

Anna Gregg is a Northern-Irish soprano, graduated with distinction this year, from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied her BMus(Hons) and Artist Masters under the tutelage of Sarah Pring.

Since graduating, Anna has been fortunate to have worked with Opera Collective Ireland and Sestina Music on their award winning production of Handel’s ‘Semele’, conducted by Christian Curnyn. She was also engaged with Sestina’s ‘Music of Celebration’ concert tour, and thoroughly enjoyed singing in Wexford Festival Opera’s season, playing the role of ‘Alice Gibbens James’ in ‘The Master’ (Caruso), as well as chorus roles in ‘La Tempesta’ (Halevy), ‘Lalla-Roukh’ (David), and ‘Armida’ (Dvorák). Most recently, Anna has been performing in a production of ‘L’elisir d’amore’ – Donizetti, with Longborough Festival Opera. Anna has a particular passion for oratorio, has been fortunate this year to have sung the soprano solos in the following works with various choral societies in the UK: Mozart – Requiem, Mozart – Vesperae solennes de confessore, Fauré – Requiem, Handel – ‘Messiah’, Franck – Die sieben letzen Wrote Christi am Kreutz. She is looking forward to covering the role of ‘Elena’ in ‘Elena and Gerardo’ – Bottini, with Random Opera later this season.

Anna Gregg

Petra Wells is a soprano based in Belfast, performing internationally and across the UK. She trained originally under Robert Alderson whilst studying Law at the University of Manchester and continues her training with Valerie Reid, London. Petra’s most recent roles have been the world premiere of Neil Martin’s “Nobody/Somebody”, La Traviata (Study Cover for Annina), La Traviata, La Boheme and Die Fledermaus all as Chorus member. Other Chorus roles have included the production of MASS by Northern Irish composer, Conor Mitchell, as part of the Outburst Queer Arts Festival with the Ulster Orchestra.

Petra won the Opera category in Ballymena Music Festival 2 years in a row together with other accolades in the Carrickfergus and Belfast Music Festivals. Petra has performed locally as a guest soloist for Bangor Ladies and Larne Ladies Choir as well as a regular performer of the Sundays on the Maritime Mile summer series. She has also travelled to Lucerne, Switzerland performing as part of the BBC Youth Proms Choir following performances in the Royal Albert Hall. 

Petra Wells

Anna-Helena Maclachlan is a 22-year-old mezzo-soprano from Westmeath, Ireland. She recently graduated with a first class honours from the BMus Vocal Performance degree at RIAM. There she studied with Mary Brennan and Grainne Dunne, having previously studied with Dearbhla Collins. In the second year of her degree, she was the winner of the Irene Sandford Award. In the same year, she was awarded one of the top bursary prizes of the Veronica Dunne Bursary for Young Irish Singers. Anna-Helena also took part in the 10th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, in which she was the youngest participant. Most recently, she was awarded 1st place in the Young Opera Voice competition at Navan Choral Festival.

Recent opera roles include Cold Genius in RIAM’s production of Purcell’s King Arthur, Victorian 2 in OCI’S production of Will Todd’s ‘Alices Adventure in Wonderland’, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Saluzzo Opera Academy, and Melissa in RIAM’s production of Francesca Caccini’s ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero’.

Anna-Helena Maclachlan

Cathal McCabe is a 23 year old tenor from Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. He has just completed his undergraduate degree at the TU Dublin Conservatoire where he studied with Emmanuel Lawler and Aoife O’Sullivan. He obtained a first-class honours and received the Michael McNamara award for the highest performance mark, as well as the Anne Leahy award for highest dissertation mark. He has won multiple awards at the Feis Ceoil, including the John McCormack Cup, the Dermot Troy Cup, and the Count John McCormack Recital Medal. He sang the role of Nanki-Poo in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in the National Concert Hall, and the role of Henry Crawford in the Irish premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park. He has sung the tenor solo in various sacred works, such as Handel’s Messiah, Scarlatti’s Messa di Santa Cecilia and Vivaldi’s Magnificat. Alongside David Mooney, he performed songs by Régine Wieniawski at the National Concert Hall.

Cathal McCabe

Ryan Garnham is a bass/baritone from Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland, Ryan graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with First Class Honours in Music in 2019, winning a Flax Trust QUB Music award in his final year. He then went on to study at University of Ulster in 2020, where he graduated with a PGCE Music.

Ryan has just finished studying a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, tutored by Julian Tovey. During his time at RCS he has studied operatic roles including Méphistophélès (Faust), Geronimo (Il Matrimonio Segreto), Don Alfonso (Così fan Tutte), Elviro (Serses), Leporello (Don Giovanni) and Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande). He has also sung the role of ‘Tritone’ in Gavin Bryars’ opera ‘Marilyn Forever’ with RCS Opera School directed by Caroline Clegg. He has also enjoyed masterclasses and coaching with Shenyang, Rachel Nicholls and Sue McCulloch.

Ryan was an associate artist with Northern Ireland Opera for their 2020 and 2021 seasons, also performing in their productions of Così fan Tutte (2017), Rigoletto (2018) and La Boheme (2021). In September 2022, he sang the role of ‘Il Commissario’ in Verdi’s La Traviata with NI Opera, directed by Cameron Menzies and will perform with the company again for their production of Tosca in September 2023. Ryan’s other ongoing professional engagements include Irish vocal ensemble ANÚNA, Irish/Icelandic vocal ensemble M’ANAM and the Ulster Consort under Matthew Owens.

Ryan Garnham

Doireann O’Carroll completed her Masters in Piano Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in June 2022 under Prof. Thérèse Fahy. She holds a first class honours degree from the MTU Cork School of Music where she studied with Eleanor Malone and Michael McHale. She has taken part in a number of exciting projects including the Iain Burnside project Open Your Eyes and Tell Me What You See at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in February of 2022 as well as performing in the Dublin Song Series alongside Dearbhla Collins and emerging singers from the Royal Irish Academy of Music at the Hugh Lane Gallery in May 2022. In August 2022 she was awarded the Peter Rankin internship at the Northern Ireland Opera Festival of Voice in Glenarm where she worked closely with Simon Lepper and Ingrid Surgenor. In September 2022, Doireann participated in a course for répétiteurs at the National Opera Studio in London working with Andrew Griffiths, Brenda Hurley, Liz Rowe and Susanna Stranders. In October 2022, Doireann was répétiteur for the Irish Premiere of Luke Byrne’s opera Bloody Murder produced by Shirley Keane with Opera Workshop Limerick at No 2 Pery Square. In January 2023 she played in the orchestra for the Royal Irish Academy’s production of The Sofa by Elizabeth Maconchy. She also played Celeste with the Academy’s philharmonic orchestra in Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite under the baton of Christoph Altstaedt in February 2023. Most recently Doireann was accepted onto the répétiteur programme at the Vienna Opera Academy in July. While in Vienna she performed in two concerts at the Mozarthaus as a part of Vienna Opera Festival. Doireann was awarded the 1848 scholarship at the Royal Irish of Music where she continues to further her career on the Professional Mentorship course under Dearbhla Collins.

Doireann will be the Peter Rankin Piano Intern for the 2023 Glenarm Festival of Voice

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Doireann O’Carroll