The Robert Presley Memorial Verdi Prize 2019 - Finalists
Leah Gordon, soprano
Leah Gordon was awarded a Master of Music in performance with distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She was engaged as a fixed soloist at the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen from 2005 until 2008 where she held the position as a principal soloist at the Nürnberg State Theater until 2018. She has sung in numerous german regional theaters, she has been a returning guest at both the Bayerische Staatsoper, München and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival and has won top prizes at numerous international competitions including the "Magda Olivero", "Beppe de Tomasi", "Vox Artis", "Jole de Maria", "Nuovo Canto" "Marcello Giordani", "Elsa Respighi" and "Elizabeth Connell”. She has performed over 50 roles on the professional operatic stage particularly; Contessa Almaviva, Donna Anna, Elettra (Idomeneo), Rachel (La Juive),
Liù, Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Medora (Il Corsaro) and Elvira (Ernani). Leah will make her role debut as Elisabetta (Don Carlo) in 2020 at the Heidenheim Opera Festival.
Zuly Inirio - soprano
Dominican-American soprano Zuly Inirio has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States and Europe. Her roles include Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and scenes from Ariadne auf Naxos, Cavalleria Rusticana, Falstaff, and Albert Herring. She appeared in Opera Louisiane’s The Ring (reduced) as Wellgunde, Ortlinde, and 2nd Norn.
Ms. Inirio is also well-versed in concert work and as a recitalist, most notably in the Lyrica Dialogues Organized by the Lyrica Society at Harvard in Boston, MA. She also performed Jake Heggie’s Natural Selection in Baton Rouge, LA, USA where she worked with the composer directly. She was the soprano soloist for the Verdi Requiem in Munich, Germany with Massimiliano Murrali conducting.
Most recently, Ms. Inirio has sung the role of the High Priestess and covered the title role in Verdi’s Aida with the Mythos Opera Festival in Sicily, Italy this summer.
Eleanor Ross - soprano
Soprano Eleanor Ross trained as an oboist at both the Royal College of Music and the Norwegian Academy of Music, and then as a singer at Trinity Laban and with Dennis O’Neill at the Wales International Academy of Voice. She was also an OperaWorks artist at English National Opera. Notable solo engagements include the Villa-Lobos ‘Bachianas Brasileiras No.5’ at Cadogan Hall, Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ at St John’s Smith Square, Brahms Requiem at St Paul’s Knightsbridge, and ‘The Ultimate Opera Gala’ with Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Dennis O’Neill and the orchestra of Welsh National Opera. Eleanor's opera roles include Konstanze, Juliette, Donna Anna and Massenet's Manon. In 2018 Eleanor sang her first Violetta Valery (La Traviata, Verdi) with Hampstead Garden Opera. 2019 engagements include Musetta (La Boheme, Puccini) and Susanna (Il Segreto di Susanna, Wolf-Ferrari) for Opera in Oborne, and a return to Violetta at the Teatro Garibaldi in Sicily in the autumn.
Lars Fosser - bass-baritone
The Bass- Baritone has performed in such roles as Verdi’s Rigoletto, Nabucco, Posa ,Conte di Luna and Don Carlo in Ernani, as well as Puccini’s Scarpia , and Sharpless , and his portrayal of Wagnerian roles Wotan and the Dutchman. He Has sung with renowned conductors like Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Prof. Rolf Reuter (†), Giordano Bellincampi, Thomas Dausgaard a.o. He has also worked with distinguished stage directors like Prof. Götz Friedrich (†), George Tabori(†),Kasper Holten, Francisco Negrin, Katharina Thalbach a.o.. He has sung in Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Spain and Norway a.o
He is a laureate of several international singing competitions: the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg International singing competition, the CCO International Singing Competition and the LYRA International Singing Competition in New York, and was the recipient of the Audience Award during his engagement with the Stadttheater Görlitz, Germany.
Louis Hurst - baritone
Louis Hurst is a bass baritone studying with Raymond Connell and Nick Powell. He previously studied at the Royal Northern College of Music which was made possible by the generous support of Michael Oglesby, the Drapers Guild and the Musician's Benevolent Fund, and participated in the 2015/2016 ENO Opera Works Programme.
Louis has had the privilege to work with such renowned conductors as Mark Elder, Richard Hickox, Martyn Brabbins, Stephen Wilkinson and Nicholas Kraemer. His opera roles have been wide and varied, including Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Balstrode (Peter Grimes), Gobrias (Belshazzar), Colline (la Boheme), Father (Hansel and Gretel), Luka (The Bear), Mr Peachum (Beggar’s Opera), and has covered Il Re (Ariodante), Bartolo (Il Barbiere), Kothner (Die Meistersinger), Gunter (Gotterdammerung), Amfortas (Parsifal). He is also committed to performing new music, having premiered a number of pieces, most recently Greg Harradine’s Drifting Dragons for the Grimeborn Festival. Since leaving college he has worked with Scottish Opera, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Opera North, ENO and Grange Park Opera amongst others. Upcoming roles include Rocco (Fidelio), Donner (Das Rhinegold).
Dominic Walsh - tenor
Dominic hails from rural Queensland and moved to London to complete a M.Mus (Perf.) at the GSMD in 2014. His UK debut role was Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte for Clonter Opera in 2015 and the following year he covered Nanki-poo in The Mikadoand Nemorino in The Elixir of Lovefor Scottish Opera. He has performed various roles and covers with English Touring Opera (2015-2018) including Luigi in Il Tabarroand Malcolm in Macbeth. He has also performed roles and covers with Opera North, Garsington Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Wexford Opera and Brisith Youth Opera to name a few. Dominic’s song repertoire includes all the major Schubert cycles, A Young Man’s Exhortation by Finzi and Songs of Travel by Vaughan Williams.
In November, Dominic will debut with State Opera of South Australia as Nanki-poo in The Mikado.
Jihan Shin - tenor
Stockholm-based Tenor Jihan Shin’s recent and future engagements include Nemorino L'elisir d'amore in Padova, Italy, and both Messagero Aida & BorsaRigoletto at the Royal Swedish Opera. In the summer of 2019 he sung Damon Acis & Galatea at Confidencen in Stockholm.
Other recent highlights include Don Basilio Le nozze di Figaro (Teatro of Fiuggi), Duca Rigoletto (Milano, Busto Arsizio), Federico L’amico Friz (Seoul Art Center Opera Festival), Conte Alberto in Rossini’s L’occasione Fa il Ladro, conducted by Daniele Rustioni (Academy project on stage at La Scala), Tamino Die Zauberflöte (Teatro Elfo Puccini, Milan), Nemorino L’elisir D’amore (Milano, Busto Arsizio and Bergamo), Tamino Die Zauberflöte(Teatro Elfo Puccini), Rodolfo La Boheme (Milano, Busto Arsizio), Alfredo La Traviata (Milano, Busto Arsizio), Prince La Cenerentola (Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, Firenze), Conte Ivrea Un giorno di Regno (Teatro Filarmonica, Verona), Dott. Cajus Falstaff (Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, Busseto).
Jihan Shin studied at Yonsei University and the Licino Refice Conservatory of Frosinone, and he was a resident young artist at the Teatro alla Scala Academy of Lyric Opera.
He was first prize winner at Giacomo Lauri Volpi international Competition, Rolando Nicolosi International Competition and T.O.S.C.A International Singing Competition in Italy.
Robson Bruno Tavares - baritone
Born in Sao Paulo – Brazil, he graduated as Bachelor in Voice studies at the Paulista State University – UNESP. In 2012 he joined the Accademia d´Arte Lirica di Osimo in Italy and in 2014 he graduated with a Master degree in Opera Studies from the Conservatorio Statale di Musica di Adria (Italy).
In 2009 he won the Brazilian Vocal Competition “Maria Callas” in the category Chamber music as well as the Special Public Award. He is one the recipients of the 2016 Giesinger Kulturpreis (Munich – Germany) with the contemporany opera “Short Lived”, written for him by Tom Smith.
He sang in many Theaters around the world like: Teatro Guaira (Curitiba – Brazil), Fondazione Teatro La Fenice – Theater Malibran (Venice – Italy), Teatro Olimpico (Vicenza – Italy), Teatro di San Carlo (Naples – Italy) Teatro La Nuova Fenice (Osimo – Italy), Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall (Shanghai – China), Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre (Suzhou- China), Gerard Bechar Center (Jerusalem- Israel), Stadthalle Germering (Germany), Schloss Seefeld (Germany), Gasteig (Munich – Germany) and others.