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Artist Development Programme 2023

Artists in Development 2023

Margaret Bridge

Margaret Bridge is a mezzo-soprano and conductor from Dublin, Ireland. She was a participant in the 2019-2021 NCH Grant Thornton Female Conductors Program which…
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Frasier Hickland

Pianist Frasier Hickland studies with Simon Lepper, Kathron Sturrock and Roger Vignoles at the Royal College of Music, London, after having graduated with a…
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Aaron O’Hare

Having recently transitioned from baritone, Irish tenor Aaron O’Hare is currently singing chorus for ETO and will perform Spoletta Tosca for NI Opera later…
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Ellen Mawhinney

Originally from Northern Ireland, soprano Ellen Mawhinney studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now in her first year at Royal Academy…
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Conor Quinn

Conor Quinn is an actor-musician from “Banbridge Town in the County Down”. He is a graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he…
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Matthew Quinn

Matthew is a versatile conductor/musical director from Belfast, Northern Ireland who is developing a reputation for his exciting and dynamic approach to his music…
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I am very grateful to Northern Ireland Opera. The Studio really helped me grow as an artist. It is such an important platform for singers.

David Corr, NI Opera Studio 2019-20

Spending a year at NI Opera Studio gave me a great opportunity to grow as an artist, allowing me to learn on the job, whilst working with some of the top UK & Irish conductors, directors and colleagues. A particular highlight for me was making my solo debut with the Ulster Orchestra at the Ulster Hall, but throughout the year, I also had the pleasure of performing everything from Vulpius to Sondheim, with some Mozart, Offenbach, Donizetti and Puccini thrown in for good measure. I definitely felt my musical and performance abilities were stretched, and now I feel much more confident when I’m working on a project slightly outside my comfort zone. Behind the scenes, there was a wealth of support, guidance and (sometimes much needed!) encouragement available to me from the whole extended team at Northern Ireland Opera - something which isn’t often readily available in this industry, and cannot be underestimated in the early stages of a singer’s career.

Elaine McDaid, NI Opera Studio 2018-19

I absolutely loved being part of the studio! Not only I learned much from both the coachings and the productions I was part of but I had a lot of fun. Everyone involved was amazing and a pleasure to work with, I am very much going to miss this. I truly believe that, thanks to all the people I met during this year, I have grown much as a singer and especially as a stage performer and I'll make good use of these skills, hopefully, in the future steps of my career.

Francesco Giusti, NI Opera Studio 2018-2019

My time with the Studio Program allowed me many opportunities to try different repertoires in different performance situations, from musical theatre to oratorio performances with orchestra to song recitals; it really helped me get out of my comfort zone and develop the flexibility that I think is so necessary for opera singers today! Working with internationally renowned teachers and coaches like Kathryn Harries and Ingrid Surgenor, as well as the wonderful visiting artists, was very inspiring and I finish the year knowing I've developed hugely as an artist and as a singer under their guidance.

Margaret Bridge, NI Opera Studio 2018-2019

Studio Alumni

  • 2020/21
  • Fionn Ó hAlmhain
  • Erin Kennedy
  • Owen Lucas
  • Jade Phoenix
  • 2019/20
  • Ana Acunune
  • Zoë Jackson
  • David Lee
  • David Corr
  • 2018/19
  • Margaret Bridge
  • Jessica Hackett
  • Elaine McDaid
  • Kelli-Ann Masterson
  • Rebecca Murphy
  • Francesco Giusti
  • 2017/18
  • Dawn Burns
  • Kevin Neville
  • Maria Hughes
  • Cormac Lawlor
  • Lauren Scully
  • 2016/17
  • Elaine Pelan
  • Sinéad O'Kelly
  • Dominica Williams
  • David Howes
  • 2015/16
  • Gabrielle Mulcahy
  • Rebecca Rodgers
  • Laura McFall
  • David Lynn
  • 2014/15
  • Helen Aiken
  • Conor Breen
  • Maria McGrann
  • Andrea Delaney
  • 2013/14
  • Richard Shaffrey
  • Jean Wallace
  • Ioana Pipilea
  • Sarah Richmond
  • 2012/13
  • Aaron O'Hare
  • Laura Murphy
  • Laura Sheerin
  • Eugene Monteith
  • 2011/12
  • Páidí Ó Dubháin
  • Gemma Prince
  • Marcella Walsh
  • Mary McCabe