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The late, great soprano, Elizabeth Connell, has bequeathed enough money in her Will to fund a $20,000 prize in her name especially for dramatic sopranos. The inaugural competition, announced by the Joan Sutherland Society, will take place in Sydney next year and will be adjudicated by Richard Bonynge.
As a dramatic soprano herself, and an acclaimed performer of the great Strauss, Verdi and Wagner heroines, Connell knew how hard it was for young singers to get started in this vocally tricky fach. However, the completion website is clear that “you do not have to be singing dramatic soprano repertoire to enter this competition but simply display the potential to develop into a spinto/dramatic soprano.” The Prize will include an audition at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Born in 1946, Connell made her debut at Wexford Opera Festival in 1972. She sang at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in Prokofiev's War and Peace in 1973 and had a special relationship with Opera Australia from that moment on. Connell, who was only 65 when she died, was prevented from appearing in Turandot for Opera Australia in 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer late in 2011.
The Elizabeth Connell Prize is open to sopranos of all nationalities with dramatic potential and finalists will be assisted with the cost of flights to Australia. The Final will be held in Sydney on September 13, 2014 and will be open to all sopranos aged between 25 and 35-years-old.