Grisha Martirosyan Wins 10th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition

Armenian baritone Grisha Martirosyan performing at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition at the NCH (Photo: Frances Marshall)

Grisha Martirosyan Wins 10th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition

Irish mezzo-soprano Aebh Kelly awarded second prize.

The Armenian baritone Grisha Martirosyan has won the 10th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, which took place over the last week in Dublin, culminating in the final yesterday evening at the National Concert Hall (30 August).

Martirosyan is a graduate of the Yerevan State Conservatoire in Armenia and also studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In 2019, he won first prize at the Gohar Gasparian Armenian National Singing Competition and is currently a member of the Mascarade Emerging Artists programme in Florence 

The Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition was established in 1995 by Irish soprano and vocal coach Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Dunne, who passed away in 2021. The competition is held every three years in Dublin and has a prize fund of €30,000.

Each of the six finalists in this year’s competition performed three arias with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Laurent Wagner. For Martirosyan’s performance, he sang ‘Si può’ from Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, ‘Avant de quitter ces lieux’ from Gounod’s Faust, and ‘Vision fugitive’ from Massenet’s Hérodiade. 

Aebh Kelly from Dublin was awarded second prize. A graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, she is also a member of the Mascarade Emerging Artists programme and was previously a member of Irish National Opera’s ABL Aviation Opera Studio. She recently performed as the Red Queen in Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Underground and in Amanda Feery’s opera A Thing I Cannot Nameas well as Jenn Kirby’s Dichotomies of Lockdown as part of INO’s 20 Shots of Opera. She made her debut with the NSO in June.

For her performance in the Veronica Dunne competition, Kelly sang ‘Una voce poco fa’ from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, ‘Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle’ from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and ‘Ah, scostati!… Smanie implacabili’ from Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Third prize was awarded to the British tenor Aaron Godfrey-Mayes who is also a member of the Mascarade Emerging Artists programme. Fourth prize went to Latvian soprano Laura Lolita Perešivana, fifth to Polish mezzo Zuzanna Nalewajek, and sixth to South Korean bass-baritone Changdai Park.

Additional prizes
A number of other prizes were awarded: Godfrey-Mayes won the Wil Keune prize for the best performance of a Mozart aria in any round of the competition (for the aria ‘Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön’ from The Magic Flute); Martirosyan won the audience prize, and the Dame Joan Sutherland prize for the singer with the most potential aged 25 and under; Park won the oratorio prize in memory of William Young for the best performance of an oratorio aria in the semi-final; and Kelly won the Dublin Songs Series prize for the best performance of a song in any language in the semi-final (for ‘Oh Men from the Fields’ by Herbert Hughes), and the Dermot Troy prize for the highest placed Irish singer 

The jury members were Jane Carty (Chair); conductor Richard Bonynge; mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught; Christina Scheppelmann, General Director of Seattle Opera; David Gowland, Artistic Director of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House; Isla Mundell-Perkins, Casting Director of Staatsoper Hamburg; and Jonathan Friend, Artistic Advisor of the Metropolitan Opera House.

Speaking after the results, Diarmuid Hegarty, Chair of the competition, said:

Although it was a poignant moment to award the prize in the year after the death of the great Veronica Dunne,  Ronnie would have been so gratified to see the standard which she insisted on upheld in the quality of each and every one of the competitors.

The final, which can be viewed below, was broadcast live on RTÉ Lyric FM and presented by Liz Nolan. For more, visit www.vdiscompetition.com.

Published on 31 August 2022

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