Kiri Te Kanawa Cover Awards announced
Posted on 23 April 2015
The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation (UK), in recognition of Dame Kiri’s 70th birthday and her long professional association with Covent Garden, has made a grant of £70,000 to The Royal Opera. The grant is to be used over 3–5 years to further the careers of emerging artists of great promise. Peter Mario Katona, Director of Casting, has devised a new scheme where he will select artists to take on cover roles where The Royal Opera might not normally be able to have a cover in place. This could enable a selected artist to gain significant international exposure should an opportunity to sing the role arise.
Two singers have been selected for the 2015/16 Season: New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes, and Hulkar Sabirova, a soprano from Uzbekistan. They will cover the roles of Enrico and Lucia respectively in The Royal Opera’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Hulkar Sabirova made her debut in the role of Lucia for Deutsche Oper Berlin in May 2014. Her recent roles have included Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) for Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and Adele (Die Fledermaus) in Essen. Phillip Rhodes made his debut as Enrico with Auckland Opera Studio last year. His recent roles have included Marcello (La bohème) with Opera New Zealand and Opera North and Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) for Opera North.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa said she is delighted that the Foundation has taken up this opportunity to make such a significant contribution to the careers of emerging artists.
“The world of international opera today is very different from the one I entered 44 years ago. The field is full to overflowing with highly trained, motivated and ready-to-go young artists who have everything it takes to build a career – except performance experience. I’m very excited to be collaborating in this way with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and to watch the careers of the exceptional young artists chosen for the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation awards unfold.’