13 November 2018
In early November, St Mary’s Calne held its fourth annual Sir Bryn Terfel Song Prize Concert, with esteemed vocal pedagogue Penelope Price Jones as this year’s adjudicator. The finalists, Charlotte, Elan, Ella, Iona, Kirsten and Lauren, all presented terrific recitals.
Sir Bryn Terfel is a compelling global artist of immense vocal stature. One of the most sought after international voices, he is a frequent visitor to all the major opera companies and concert halls in the world. He first became well known for his portrayal of Figaro and Falstaff but in recent years is acclaimed for his performances of the Wagner roles of Wotan, Hans Sachs and Der Fliegende Höllander. His recordings have earned him two Grammy Awards and four Classical Brit Awards. He is also the recipient of Her Majesty the Queen’s Medal for Music. St Mary’s Calne presented the inaugural Bryn Terfel Song Prize in 2015 and past winners have performed to a capacity audience at Bath Abbey. This year’s winner will sing at the Royal Academy of Music Cantabile Concert, ‘Inspire!’ on 20th January, 2019.
Adjudicator, Penelope Price Jones, recently retired as Chairman of the Association of Teachers of Singing and has an impressive career working with young voices and in aiding vocal pedagogy internationally. Mr Chris Totney accompanied all the finalists with warm sensitivity. The six finalists presented their recitals with poised stage presence and a clear love of singing. Kirsten, Charlotte, Ella, Elan, Lauren and Iona sang songs by Purcell, Schubert, Michael Head, Handel, Bach, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi and Leoncavallo, and after Penelope Price Jones had time to deliberate, the audience was treated to a fascinating presentation of what the adjudicator was looking for in a performance. Miss Price Jones held the audience spellbound as she gave excellent constructive criticism and hints and tips for future performances. Lauren was announced the Highly Commended runner-up and Elan Fryar the winner of the fourth Sir Bryn Terfel Song Prize with her programme of Handel, Thiman and Coates. It was a glorious evening of beautiful songs, enjoyed by the school and members of the wider community. Elan received a signed photo of Sir Bryn and a signed CD of his most recent recording of duets with artists including Emma Thompson and Alfie Boe.