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2023 Awards: winners announced

As the Season comes to a close, we’re delighted to announce the recipients of our awards for young artists, presented in recognition of their work during 2023. All awards provide financial support to help with professional development, and each is presented in memory of an important figure from Garsington Opera’s history. Leonard Ingrams was the Founder and Chair of GO until his untimely death in 2005. Simon Sandbach and Helen Clarke were respected members of staff who sadly died whilst still in post. Tenor Graham Clark, who died recently, was an exceptional singer and colleague, much loved on the Garsington Opera stage, and greatly supportive of our Young Artists. The awards were presented by the Chair of Garsington Opera, Miranda Curtis CBE, before the final performance of the Season on Sunday 23 July 2023.

Douglas Boyd, Artistic Director of Garsington Opera, writes:
“Our Alvarez Young Artists’ Programme is central to the ethos and the vision of Garsington Opera, nurturing extraordinary young talent, creating a safe, happy and stimulating working environment and supporting them at a vital time in their professional careers. This year’s cohort have been nothing less than sensational and give us all hope for the future in general and opera in particular. That made this year’s decision even more difficult! We hope these awards will benefit all the artists in their journey, to what should be significant careers. This year we are offering an additional award in memory of Graham Clark, who not only graced our stage but was a true friend and cherished advisor to younger artists.”

A young woman dressed in black, holding a conductor's baton, smiles at the camera.

Leonard Ingrams Award: Tess Jackson
Conductor Tess Jackson was Assistant Conductor for The Bartered Bride and conducted the OperaFirst schools’ performance.

“Being part of The Bartered Bride and OperaFirst was an amazing experience. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to have been surrounded by such supportive and talented colleagues, especially stepping in to conduct the OperaFirst performance – what might have been a daunting prospect turned into a truly magical evening. Receiving the Leonard Ingrams Award is a great honour, and an amazing practical support going forward in my career.”

Leonard Ingrams Award: Claire Lees
Claire Lees performed the role of Naiad in the 2023 production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

“It has been so wonderful to be back at Garsington this year, after singing La Musica in Orfeo in 2022. It is such a special place to work with so much support from all departments. I’m absolutely delighted to be a recipient of the Leonard Ingrams Award. This is the icing on the cake on what has been an incredible season! I can’t thank Garsington Opera enough for the support they have given me over the years!”

Leonard Ingrams Award: Harriet Eyley
Harriet Eyley performed the role of Echo in the 2023 production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

“I am humbled to have received a Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington this year as it marks my return to the company as a principal artist – I’m excited and thankful in equal measure! It has been a rewarding venture into the world of Strauss for the first time as my instrument develops and I feel blessed to have had so much fun and giggles with my fellow ‘Nymphies’ and a well-rounded work/life balance this season! The award will undoubtedly aid in my professional development and, in particular, contribute to the ongoing costs of travel, coachings and musical memberships incurred as I pursue, parallel to my much-loved stage career, my doctoral degree at the RCM which focuses on the anachronism of the Travesti. It is proving to be a valuable addition not only to current scholarship but an interest that is practical to the profession itself.”

Leonard Ingrams Award: Siân Griffiths
Siân Griffiths performed the role of Dryad in the 2023 production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

“I’ve had such a wonderful time this summer. Garsington already holds a really special place in my heart, as it gave me my first professional job back in 2016 as an Alvarez Young Artist, but this production with this team has been an absolute pleasure and privilege. Everyone has put so much heart and soul into making this a truly memorable production, one that I will cherish. And to be a recipient of the Leonard Ingrams Award, along with my fellow Nymphs, is such an honour, and I am so grateful – thank you.”

Three women dress in fitted green dresses sit, dangling the legs off the edge of a balcony. An image from Garsington Opera's 2023 performance of 'Ariadne auf Naxos' by Strauss.
A woman in a blue dress with white spots smiles into the distance.

Simon Sandbach Award: Siân Dicker
Siân Dicker was a member of the chorus and covered the role of Mařenka in The Bartered Bride and performed the role for the OperaFirst performance.

I’ve had the most wonderful summer working with Garsington Opera and am over the moon to have received this award. Covering the role of Mařenka in Garsington’s beautiful and much-loved production of The Bartered Bride has been an amazing learning experience and performing the role for the OperaFirst show was absolutely a career highlight! This award will be a huge help as I venture on to the next stage in my career and I’m very grateful for the support of the whole Garsington team throughout this season.”

Helen Clarke Award: Indyana Schneider
Mezzo-soprano Indyana Schneider was a member of the chorus and covered the role of The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos.

There is something truly special about working with Garsington. Every member of the team – right through from technical workers, design, wigs and makeup, stage management, and administration, to music staff, orchestra, chorus and solo singers – are greatly valued and vital to creating work of the highest artistic quality. It’s been a real pleasure and honour to work in this atmosphere of community and excellence over a joy-filled, challenging (in the best way) whirlwind of a summer! I am touched, grateful, and humbled to receive this award and will strive to honour Helen Clarke’s legacy. Thank you.”

A woman wearing a long black suit jacket and grey checked trousers grips her hand in a fist at chest height. An image from Garsington Opera's 2023 Young Artist showcase.
A man dressed in a smart, black evening suit takes a piece of paper out of a file. An image from Garsington Opera's 2023 production of 'Ariadne auf Naxos' by Strauss.

Graham Clark Award: Daniel Vening
Daniel Vening performed the Lackey in Ariadne auf Naxos and was a member of the chorus for The Bartered Bride and Il barbiere di Siviglia. He also covered the role of
 Mícha in The Bartered Bride and performed the role for the OperaFirst performance.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive the Garsington Opera Chorus Award in memory of Graham Clark. This summer at Garsington has been a very busy but rewarding season encompassing three very different operas, lots of dancing and wonderful colleagues. Performing in Ariadne auf Naxos in which Graham Clark was due to perform has been a particular highlight for me. I was sorry not to be able to perform alongside him but I am extremely honoured to be given an award in his name.”