As part of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama’s continuing focus on supporting students in financial need, it has announced a significant new full scholarship to mark the centenary of the birth of the late great and internationally acclaimed Welsh Opera singer Sir Geraint Evans. Sir Geraint was revered throughout the operatic world and was President of the College when he died in 1992.
To inspire future singers through his example, a £150,000 fund will provide this new scholarship to one student per year in the College’s David Seligman Opera School for the next ten years in Sir Geraint’s name. The Fund has received significant support from The Mosawi Foundation and The Linbury Trust.
The scholarship, which favours baritones and Welsh candidates, was announced at Not A Bad Voice, a special commemorative event at the Royal Welsh College on 29th Sept.
The first Sir Geraint Evans Centenary Scholar is South Korean baritone, Edward Kim, who joined the David Seligman Opera School in 2021 and who performed at the event, alongside fellow RWCMD students.
In 2021 RWCMD also announced a sector-leading bursary programme, awarding bursaries of up to £1200 to all its new UK undergraduate students with a household income of below £30k per annum, further helping its students in financial need, encouraging diversity and giving opportunities to talented young people, whatever their financial circumstances.
‘I’m deeply honoured to be the first recipient of the Sir Geraint Evans scholarship,’ said Edward. ‘This support is really important to me as it gives me the opportunity to hone my skills and receive the training I require as a young opera singer. Sir Geraint Evans was an amazing inspiration to all singers, especially to us male voices.
He had a wonderful voice and stage presence, and most importantly, he knew his instrument well. I hope to be the same and to use this support and trust given to me to be a better singer and to spread the love of this amazing art form we call Opera.’
‘Scholarships and bursaries are helping us to become a different kind of conservatoire, one that is more welcoming, relevant, diverse and accessible,’ said Professor Helena Gaunt, RWCMD Principal.
‘Awards like the Sir Geraint Evans Scholarship will help us to nurture artistic talent, encourage diversity and provide opportunities to those who are exceptionally gifted, whatever their financial circumstances. We are so grateful to Sir Geraint’s family for allowing us to continue this important work in his name.’
Members of the public can contribute to the Sir Geraint Evans Scholarship Fund here:
Not A Bad Voice, led by Nicola Heywood-Thomas, celebrated Sir Geraint’s life with film, singing and storytelling from those who knew him and those he continues to inspire, including Sir Geraint’s sons’ Huw and Alun, RWCMD Director of Music, Tim Rhys-Evans, RWCMD Head of Vocal Studies, Mary King, Scottish Baritone Donald Maxwell, and students of the College.
The David Seligman Opera School at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, in association with Welsh National Opera, aims to ensure that Wales continues to produce some of the world’s leading artistic operatic talent, enabling emerging artists to train alongside some of the leading figures in opera today.
The School’s Circle of Presidents include Sir Bryn Terfel, Rebecca Evans, Sir Brian McMaster, David Pountney and RWCMD International Chair in Conducting Carlo Rizzi.
Sir Geraint Evans
‘Wales is the Land of Song and few embodied that more than this Knight of the Realm, born one hundred years ago’ said Tim Rhys-Evans, Director of Music.
‘From humble beginnings, Sir Geraint Evans’ enormous contribution to international opera and to the cultural life of Wales is still felt today and especially so at RWCMD where he served as President. A great voice, a great man and a great legacy!’
Considered one of the world’s greatest bass baritones, , his exceptional artistry as a singing actor made him a firm favourite with both audiences and opera houses around the world. He sang and characterised more than 70 different roles in a career that lasted for more than 40 years, , many of which are still considered to be the benchmark of performances today. He gave highly acclaimed televised masterclasses, taking young professionals through key operatic works imparting nuances that he had perfected throughout his long career.
He was renowned for his willingness to help young singers and actors and was honoured to be President of the College of Music and Drama, a post which he held at the time of his death in 1992.
Sir Geraint Evans’ enormous contribution to international opera is still felt today.
A great actor performer about whom Sir Laurence Olivier said, ‘Opera’s gain was theatre’s loss’.
Many quotes cite him as a man of the people: ‘He was the people’s star the world over, a man loved and honoured in the halls, chapels, theatres and great opera houses of the world.’
‘He’s a great Welshman who has walked with kings and still he retains the common touch’.
Sir Geraint was one of the first international opera star jet-setters, travelling the world to perform and forever linked with the roles of Falstaff and Figaro, Beckmesser and Wozzeck, to name but a few.
Study Opera 360: the Opera Industry
Starting in September 2023, opera lovers will be able to gain unrivalled, behind the scenes knowledge of the opera industry. Opera 360 is an online programme offering short courses or a Masters degree in both the artistic and administrative practices of the global opera business. In association with the David Seligman Opera School at RWCMD, it aims to provide an exclusive training environment for those wishing to pursue a career in opera or deepen their knowledge. World class teaching staff will be joined by prestigious opera insiders to deliver this innovative new programme.