Competition Winners 2007


1st Prize - Mari Moriya


Born in Oyama, Japanese soprano Mari Moriya made her début at the Metropolitan Opera New York as the Queen of the Night in the acclaimed Julie Taymor production of Die Zauberflöte conducted by James Levine, a role she has also performed with Glyndebourne On Tour, Palm Beach Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Portland Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington. In 2007 / 2008 Ms Moriya made her European debut as Liù in Turandot with Opera Ireland, returning as Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos and Zerlina Don Giovanni. She also toured with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra singing arias from Lucia di Lammermoor and Rigoletto.

In the USA, Ms Moriya has sung Adina L’elisir d’amore for Tulsa Opera, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at Indiana University, Konstanze Die Entführung aus dem Serail for the International Vocal Arts Institute, New York and Juliette Roméo et Juliette for Center City Opera, Philadelphia. She was also the soprano soloist in an all Handel Gala Concert with Connecticut Grand Opera where she sang her first Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro. Her concert repertoire includes the J. S. Bach Passions, Handel Messiah and Samson, Mozart Mass in C Minor and Requiem (which she sang at the 2010 Mozart in Gdansk Festival) and Orff Carmina Burana.

Mari Moriya represented Japan at Cardiff Singer of the World 2007, and has won several singing competitions including National Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, First Prize at the Cla Muze Vocal Competition, Second Prize at the 11th National Classical Music competition, First Prize at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin, the Hans Gabor Prize at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition and the Charles A. Lynman Vocal Competition. 

During 2009 / 2010, she made her debut at the Oper Leipzig as the Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte, a role she repeated with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Opera in 2010 / 2011. Currently, she is currently a member of the Landestheater Linz, where she has sung the title role in Lakmé and Clorinda La cenerentola. During 2011 / 2012, her roles in Linz included the title role in Maria Stuarda, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte, Mimì La bohème and Sophie Der Rosenkavalier. She also sang Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and made her debuts at the Wiener Volksoper as Queen of the Night and at the Salzburger Landestheater as Clorinda La cenerentola.

During 2012 / 2013, she made her debut with Scottish Opera as the Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte. Recent roles in Linz include Micaëla Carmen, Soprano E Spuren der Verirrten, Königin der Nacht and Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Carmina Burana, Sophie Der Rosenkavalier, Gild Rigoletto, Woglinde Das Rheingold and Helmwige Die Walküre

Her current appearances include Queen Tye Akhnaten at Opera Flanders, Queen of Night Die Zauberflöte at the Theater Basel, Sophie Der Rosenkavalier and Violetta La traviata at the Landestheater Linz, Gilda Rigoletto at Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Shiga, and Cantatas by Arne and Scarlatti on tour with the Israel Camerata.



2nd Prize - Tara Erraught


Praised for her rich voice, expansive range and dynamic stage presence, Irish-born mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught has been called ''a true rising star'' by the press. Her international stature has continued to grow since she stepped in on five-days' notice, learning the role of Romeo in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2011, her performance winning worldwide acclaim. In the seasons since, Ms. Erraught has sung a world premiere, made her US opera debut, numerous role debuts, and successfully toured North America twice.

Tara Erraught's 2015-2016 season is marked by debuts and recitals. Summer 2015 begins with her first solo opera gala concert with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, followed by engagements with the Bayerische Staatsoper including Mozart's Die Zauberflote; Janacek's The Makropulos Affair; Strauss's Die Schweigsame Frau, Op. 80, and Tara's debut in the role of Kathy in a new production of Poul Rouders' Selma Jezkova. She also sings the commissioned world premiere of Iain Bell's Litany in the Time of Plague at a Festspiele concert in late July. Between September and May, she appears in five productions with Bayerische Staatsoper: with music director Kirill Petrenko, she creates the role of Kathleen Scott in the commissioned world premiere of Czech composer Miroslav Srnka's South Pole, a double opera in two parts; and sings in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cosi fan Tutte, Hansel und Gretel, and The Makropulos Affair. An active recitalist, Ms. Erraught tours Ireland, the UK and the U.S. in the fall. She gives recitals at Dublin's National Concert Hall, debuts on the acclaimed Music for Galway Series and in recital at the Wexford Festival (the first performance in a multi-year engagement), returns to London's Wigmore Hall and makes her series debut recitals at Celebrity Series of Boston and Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall. Additional debuts include the South Denmark Philharmonic (Sonderjyllands Symfoniorkester), with Ireland's Wide Open Opera in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and with Tokyo Opera Nomori in recital. In June 2016, Ms. Erraught makes her role debut as Susanna in the Bayerische Staatsoper's production of Le Nozze di Figaro.

Past performances include: an acclaimed American opera debut with the Washington National Opera as Angelina in La Cenerentola; role debuts as Carlotta in Strauss's Die Schweigsame Frau, Op. 80, Christa in Janacek's The Makropulos Affair, Despina (having previously sung the role of Dorabella) in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as singing Hansel in Hansel und Gretel with the Bayerische Staatsoper; Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Angelina in La Cenerentola with the Hamburg Staatsoper; creating the role of Kitty in the world premiere of Iain Bell's A Harlot's Progress at the Theater an der Wien; and her role debut as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and at the BBC Proms. With the Wiener Staatsoper she sang Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, as well as the premiere performances of a new production of La Cenerentola, earning accolades from the Frankfurter Allgemeine as the ''New Queen of Belcanto''.

Audiences and Press are not alone in taking notice of Ms. Erraught's talent: in spring 2013, the Bavarian government bestowed upon her the prestigious Pro meritis scientiae et litterarum in recognition for outstanding contribution to the arts. She is only the fifth musician, and the youngest recipient, to be honored with the annual award since its inception in 2000. In March of 2010 Ms. Erraught was the recipient of Dublin's National Concert Hall's Rising Star Award. Other honors include First Prize in the Jakub Pustina International Singing Competition in the Czech Republic, along with the Zdar nad Sazavou Audience Prize in 2008. In that same year she was awarded both the Houston Grand Opera Prize and the Washington National Opera Prize at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. In 2007 Ms. Erraught won Dermott Troy Award for the Best Irish Singer.

A native of Dundalk, Ireland, Tara Erraught is a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, where she studied, and continues to study, with the acclaimed Royal Opera soprano Veronica Dunne. A member of the opera studio at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich since 2008, Ms. Erraught also works with famed German mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender, expanding her lieder and opera repertoire.



3rd Prize - Stephanie Corley




4th Prize - Naomi O'Connell


Hailed by The New York Times as a “radiant mezzo-soprano,” Irish singer Naomi O’Connell made her West End debut in London starring in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play Master Class opposite Tyne Daly in 2012.  The Times hailed her performance as “…spectacular,” and The Independent lauded her “…thrilling rendering of an aria from Verdi’s Macbeth.”  In the 2014/15 season, Ms. O’Connell played the role of Rosine in Stephen Wadsworth’s new adaptation of the Beaumarchais Figaro plays at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton before returning to Garsington Opera as La Corilla in Offenbach’s Vert-Vert and making her critically acclaimed debut with Frankfurt Oper in the title role of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea

Notable past engagements include Despina in the 2012 MET+Juilliard production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, conducted by Alan Gilbert and directed by Stephen Wadsworth, New York City Opera’s new production of Offenbach’s La Périchole directed by Christopher Alden, and her professional operatic debut singing the title role in Offenbach’s La Périchole with Garsington Opera, where London critics hailed her as “a star in the making.”

A gifted musician and natural performer, Ms. O’Connell deftly balances her love of opera with that of art song, musical theatre and popular song with repertoire ranging from Schumann, Strauss and Ravel to Bernstein, Kurt Weill and Randy Newman.  She has performed with the New York Festival of Song, Marlboro Music Festival, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Juilliard ChamberFest, the Juilliard FOCUS! Festival, and Steans Musical Institute at Ravinia.  Ms. O’Connell made her Lincoln Center debut in the 2011 Juilliard Honors Recital at Alice Tully Hall with pianist Brent Funderburk, with whom she has performed in venues throughout the United States including the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Purdue University Convocations, the Artist Series of Tallahassee, Rockefeller University Concert Series and Merkin Concert Hall, New York.  Recent recital appearances include her critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall as First Prize winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild competition, entitled ‘Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches.’

Notable past awards include the 2012 Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera, First Prize in the 2011 Concert Artists Guild and Caruso/Altamura International Voice Competitions, the Novick Career Advancement Grant and Makiko Narumi Award for Outstanding Mezzo-soprano from The Juilliard School, and First Prize in Operetta at the 2008 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.

Brought up in County Clare, Ireland, Ms. O’Connell began her vocal studies with Archie Simpson and holds a BA Honors degree from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where she studied with singing teacher Mary Brennan.  Ms. O’Connell holds a Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Marlena Malas and Dr. Robert White.  Her recordings have been broadcasted on WQXR, BBC Three, Bayerischer Rundfunk, RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio One and Lyric FM.  Ms. O’Connell currently resides in New York City where she enjoys writing, yoga, telling terrible jokes and yearning after her neighbor’s dogs.



5th Prize - Elizabeth Donovan


Elizabeth Donovan was the 2002 Welsh Singer of the Year and represented Wales at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2003. A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music she completed her studies at the National Opera Studio in London. Following this she became an Associate Artist at Welsh National Opera.

Last season she performed Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro on tour for Diva Opera and covered the title role in Jen?fa, in the orginal Czech, for Scottish Opera, in a new production directed by Annilese Miskimmon.

Her operatic roles include Blumenmädchen Parsifal, Erste dame Die Zauberflöte, Echo Ariadne auf Naxos, Berta Il barbiere di Siviglia, Héro Béatrice et Bénédict & Konstanze Die Entführung aus dem Serail (all for Welsh National Opera); Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte, Donna Anna Don Giovanni & Ortlinde Die Walküre (all for Longborough Festival Opera); Norina Don Pasquale (Diva Opera); Konstanze The Seraglio (English Touring Opera) and Clorinda La Cenerentola (Scottish Opera).

On the concert platform highlights include Oriana Amadigi (Edingburgh Festival with the Royal Northern Sinfonia); her BBC Proms debut a Brigitta Iolanta for WNO; Mozart Requiem (Welsh Proms, St. David's Hall); Britten Spring Symphony (Chester Festival with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) and Leila Les pêcheurs des perles (Chelsea Opera Group).

Winning several awards whilst at college, Elizabeth was the first recipient of the 

Maidment Scolarship from Musicians' Benevloent Fund, a Miriam Licete Award, a Sybill Tutton Award, The Countess of Munster Award and was a Sir Peter Moores Foundation Scholar. She was a prizewinner at the 2006 Concours International de Chant de Toulouse and the 2007 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition. 



6th Prize - Dante AlcalÁ


Since coming sixth in the Veronica Dunne Singing competition in 2007, Mexican tenor Dante Alcalà has gone on to have an extensive career in Mexico, performing regularly at the Bellas Artes Palace in Mexico City, Mexico’s premier cultural institution, where he made his debut in 2010. Since then, he has sung numerous operas including Il Trovatore, The Elixir of Love, Alice in the Wonderland, Macbeth, Rheingold, Mulata de Córdoba, Juditha Triumphant, Romeo and Juliette (Gounod), Romeo and Juliette (Berlioz), La Vida Breve, La Traviata, La Rondine, Madame Butterfly, María del Carmen, La Vestale,   Monteverdi’s Orpheus, Ildegonda, Matilde, Edgar, Carmelites Dialogues, Cavalleria Rusticana, Lucia di Lamermoor, Edgar, The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus, Rigoletto, Tosca, La Boheme, and Carmen. 

He has also performed extensively on the concert and oratorio platform, including Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle  Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mozart’s C Minor Mass,  Beethoven's Ninth Simphony, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Bach’s Magnificat, Bruckner's Te Deum. 

He has sung all over the world, including performing Madame Butterfly at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and performances with the Wexford Festival Opera, Ireland.





6th Prize - Celine Byrne


Irish soprano, Celine Byrne, made her operatic début as Mimi, in Scottish Opera’s 2010 production of La Bohéme and since then has performed extensively throughout Europe as well as in the US, China, Russia and Mexico.

In March 2012 Celine made her Covent Garden début standing-in for Camilla Nylund as Rusalka under the baton of Yannick Nézét-Séguin. Last season Celine made her return visit to the Royal Opera House performing in Wagner’s Parsifal to great acclaim and she will return there next season to sing the role of Micaëla in Carmen.

Celine’s début opera performances this season include Der Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier under Patrik Ringborg in Kassel, Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Moscow State Opera in Dublin and Floria Tosca in Tosca with Opera Østfold in association with Norway National Opera. Future engagements include concerts with José Carreras in the Czech Republic, Germany and Luxembourg; concerts with Bryn Terfel and the Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sasha Goetzel; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in the National Concert Hall, Dublin and Richard Strauss Vier Letzte Lieder in Austria. Next season Celine will perform the roles of Micaëla in Covent Garden, her role debut as Marietta in Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt in Kassel, Germany, Elizabeth in Grange Park Opera’s production of Verdi’s Don Carlo and Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro. She will also sing Brahms Deutsches Requiem with Malmö Opera and present The Celine Byrne Christmas Gala in the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Celine received her Masters in Music from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 2007, where she studied with Dr. Veronica Dunne, also receiving the RIAM award for outstanding achievement. In addition she has an honours Music Degree from the Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin, where she was awarded the college Gold Medal for excellence. She has received coaching at the National Opera Studio of London and studied with Christa Ludwig at the Vienna Staatsoper. In 2007 Celine was awarded the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Maria Callas Grand Prix, Athens. Other awards include the Margaret Burke-Sheridan Gold Medal in 2009 for her contribution to the Arts, the William Young Prize at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, Dublin 2007 and theBrabants Dagblad Press Prize’ at the IVC International Singing Competition in s’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

Celine’s repertoire includes Oratorio, Opera, Operetta and Lieder. Works performed include Messiah (Handel), Requiem (Fauré), Mass in C (Mozart), Requiem Mass (Mozart), St. Paul (Mendelssohn), Elijah (Mendelssohn), Rückert Lieder (Mahler), Drei Lieder (Korngold), Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 (Villa-Lobos) and Vier letzte Lieder (Strauss). Her roles include Cio-Cio San Madama Butterfly, Tosca Tosca, Countess Almaviva Le Nozze Di Figaro, Fiordiligi Così Fan Tutte, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Donna Anna Don Giovanni, Nora Riders To The Sea, Nedda I Pagliacci, Liù Turandot, Lauretta Gianni Schicchi, Wally La Wally, Rosalinde Die Fledermaus, Micaëla Carmen, Hanna Glawari The Merry Widow, Marguerite Faust, Rusalka Rusalka, Juliette Roméo et Juliette, Agathe Der Freischütz, Die Marschallin Der Rosenkavalier and Ann Chute Lily of Killarney