Photo: Patrick Allen, Opera Omnia
Photo: Patrick Allen, Opera Omnia

The 57th prestigious Kathleen Ferrier vocal competition, held in memory of the great British contralto, broke new ground at Wigmore Hall on Friday by awarding two prizes to the same singer. Soprano Natalya Romaniw started off by winning the competition’s Song Prize, awarded specifically for song interpretation. Several minutes later, to her surprise, she was awarded the First Prize as well.

Natalya Romaniw has already accumulated an impressive tally of awards, including the Gold Medal in her final year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, first prize at the London Welsh ‘young singer of the year’ 2008, finalist in the song prize in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition 2009, and winning the Clonter Opera Prize in 2010.

Born in Swansea of Ukrainian ancestry, Natalya trained at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and after winning 2nd prize in the Houston Grand Opera’s McCollum Competition, will join the Houston Young Artist Programme in August this year.

The Kathleen Ferrier competition, held annually, is open to singers under 29 of any nationality, who have studied in the British Isles for at least a year.