Melissa Gregory Wins the 2023 Bampton Classical Opera’s Young Singers’ Competition

By Afton Wooten
(Photo credit: Sisi)

Mezzo-soprano Melissa Gregory has been named the winner of Bampton Classical Opera’s 2023 Young Singers’ Competition.

The finals took place Nov. 25 in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium at Wolfson College in Oxford. Gregory took home the highest prize totaling in £2,000. Second prize of £1,000 was awarded to countertenor Kieron-Connor Valentine. The winner of the accompanists’ prize, was awarded to André Bertoncini, who accompanied Valentine. Bertoncini took home £600.

Of Gregory’s performance judge Bonaventura Bottone said, “The decision was unanimous to award the First Prize to mezzo-soprano Melissa Gregory. Her programme was well balanced and was performed with poise. Melissa rounded off with Dopo Notte, from Ariodante. This was sung with great style and stunningly exact coloratura.” Her program included Richard Strauss “Heimliche Aufforderung,” Rebecca Clarke’s “The Seal Man,” and George Frideric Handel’s “Dopo note” from “Ariodante.”

Bottone was joined by fellow adjudicators mezzo-soprano Jean Rigby, and vocal coach, pianist and accompanist Ingrid Surgenor. The 2023 finalists also included sopranos Sarah Chae, Alexandra Dunaeva, Georgie Malcolm, mezzo-sopranos Myrna Tennant, and tenor Rhydian Jenkins.

Bampton Classical Opera is committed to fostering young talent. Several winners of the Young Singers’ Competition have gone on to work with national companies such as The Royal Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera and Opera North.