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Arklow singer receives Veronica Dunne Bursary award

Karla Tracey from Arklow was one of six young Irish opera singers awarded an inaugural Veronica Dunne Bursary at a competition held over the weekend in MoLi – Museum of Literature Ireland.

The Veronica Dunne Bursary is delighted to award its inaugural opera bursaries to six  young singers to help mentor and support them in developing their future singing careers.  

Singers who were also awarded bursaries are:  

Ava Dodd, Carolyn Holt, Aebh Kelly, Anna Helena MacLachlan and Jade Phoenix  

Veronica Dunne, doyenne of Irish opera and acclaimed teacher, whose cherished  dream has been to establish this bursary, today said:  

“We’re excited about this initiative which we’ve created to develop the potential of our  young singers. We look foward to mentoring them in vocal and technical training, and to  help guide them towards achieving their particular career goals.” Ms. Dunne added: “I  want this bursary to be my legacy to future young Irish stars of opera.”  

The Veronica Dunne Bursary was established in 2020 with funding from the Department  of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht. A bursary fund totalling €15,000  has now been awarded to these six successful competitors. The competition was open to  singers born on or after February 1st 1989, who live in Ireland or abroad, and to singers of  any nationality who are resident or studying in Ireland.  

Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College and Chairman of the Veronica Dunne  Bursary committee, said:  

“On behalf of the Veronica Dunne Bursary committee, I welcome all the young  competitors. We had a record number of applications to the bursary. The distinguished  international jury was certainly impressed with the calibre of contestants. It is  appropriate that Tara Erraught should sit on the jury panel as she has been such an  exemplar to these young singers. I thank Tara, Mark Shanahan and Tobias Trungier for their  advice and encouragement to our competitors.  

Mr. Hegarty thanked Minister Catherine Martin for her commitment to the Arts. He added:  “I know her Department will join with these singers in encouraging them to take full  advantage of this bespoke programme to improve their skills and confidence in pursuing  fulfilling and successful careers.”  

Singers applying for a bursary were asked, in the first instance, to submit an online  application, comprising a recent video recording of two arias and a CV showing relevant 

training or experience. An artistic panel assessed the applications based on the standard  of each recording and relevant experience.  

The members of the international jury were Tara Erraught, Irish mezzo soprano, Mark  Shanahan, conductor and Head of Music at London’s National Opera Studio, and Tobias  Truniger, Director of the Opera Studio, Bavarian State Opera.  

The auditions were held in MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland) in Dublin and were subject  to current Government COVID-19 Level 5 restrictions.  

Twenty six short-listed competitors were invited to compete in live rounds in front of the  international jury on Saturday, November 7th.  

For this 1st Round, competitors were required to sing two contrasting operatic arias. 10  competitors were selected to go through to the 2nd round on Sunday, November 8th. This  final selection of the six successful competitors was based on an interview with the  international jury and a performance of an aria.  

Thr Veronica Dunne Bursary Committee gratefully acknowledges funding from the  Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht

(Pictures Mark Steadman)

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