The career of a talented tenor from Llandudno has been given a major boost after a “sensational” performance at an international festival.
Elgan Llyr Thomas is £2,000 better off after reaching the final of the International Voice of the Future competition at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
He and soprano Catrin Woodruff lost out to another soprano, Sian Dicker, 26, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, who received the Pendine Trophy and a cheque for £6,000.
Elgan was presented with the cheque by Mario Kreft MBE, proprietor of the arts loving sponsor of the competition, the Pendine Park care organisation.
No fewer than 18 hopefuls from around the globe took part in a preliminary competition earlier in the day.
According to Eisteddfod organisers, the competition was “catapulted into a new league” and attracted a host of the world’ best young singers after Pendine Park contributed £5,000 to the total prize pot, with a further £3,000 coming from Sir Bryn Terfel’s Foundation and £2,000 from the Eisteddfod.
After watching the three stunning performances with his wife, Gill, Mario Kreft said: “The standard of performance we have witnessed was absolutely breathtaking. This is the first year of a whole new format for this competition.
“Our vision is to showcase and nurture young talent and the increased prize fund is designed to help advance their careers.
“It chimes perfectly with our ethos as Pendine Park because the arts in general and music in particular are at the forefront of everything we do so we can enrich lives across the generations.”
Elgan said: “I‘m pretty busy at the moment and in fact have performances lined up from now until 2020 which has to be good. I’m working with English Opera and have performances in Paris coming up soon which is amazing.
“And I really enjoyed playing the role of Spoletta alongside Sir Bryn Terfel in Tosca here at Llangollen this week.”
Elgan graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and completed his studies at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He said: “I’m still based in Llandudno but to be truthful I’m all over the place travelling, it comes with the job I suppose. My parents were her to support me. My dad Aled, is due to retire from the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and my mum, Eleri is a classroom teaching assistant.
“They are huge supporters and follow my career as much as they are able. They will come to see my performances as often as they possibly can. I also have two sisters, Elen Catrin said: “Llangollen is such a respected festival and I have never competed here before. The preliminary round was really tough and I was just delighted to make the final.
“It’s been more like a concert than a competition. I know Elgan really well but had never met Sian before. We have all got on really well and Sian deserved to win. I have no complaints. It was a wonderful competition and I’m just happy to have been part of it.”
Eilir Owen Griffiths, Music Director at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, said: “The quality of candidates for the International Voice of the Future competition is always extremely high, but this year’s entries have really blown us all away.
“This competition is all about providing exceptional talent with a springboard for their professional careers. The increased prize fund, generously donated by sponsor and long-time supporter of the Eisteddfod, the Pendine Park Care Organisation, has really boosted interest and attracted even greater talent to the competition.
“We would like to thank all competitors for their fantastic performances.”
The unenviable task of judging the competition went to leading soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and composer Gareth Jones who agreed the increased prize money had raised the profile of the event to a whole new level.”
Catrin, who studied for a degree in music at the University of York and a Masters in Voice at the Royal Northern College of Music, is due to begin studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in September.
She said: “I’m also married. My husband, Chris Abel, is a physicist and is currently doing his Phd at the University of Sussex but he’s based in Switzerland so we only get to see each other once a month at the moment.
“I have been touring with a pop-up opera company and performing all over the UK for the last few weeks too.”