Further success for Dunedin baritone

Julien Van Mellaerts.
Julien Van Mellaerts.
Baritone opera singer Julien Van Mellaerts has done it again.

Less than six months after winning the prestigious 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Award,  the former University of Otago music student has won another top  award, the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Recital competition.

The 29-year-old, who lives in London, received $18,200 in prize money and the possibility of performing in his own recital series.

University of Otago voice associate professor of voice Judy Bellingham  had congratulated  Van Mellaerts, who  was "absolutely over the moon" about the award.

The judging panel of international opera singers said it was the highest standard of performance they had seen in the competition.  Prof Bellingham said  by winning two of the most prestigious classical singing awards  within a very short time Van Mellaerts was placed  "extremely well on the world stage".

He planned a brief return to New Zealand next year to sing with Opera New Zealand and perform in some recitals, one of which was hoped to be in Dunedin.

Van Mellaerts studied voice at  Otago’s music department from 2008 to 2012.

Since graduating  with a master’s of music (distinction), he has completed a master’s in vocal performance with distinction at the International Opera School of the Royal College of Music. He is now undertaking an artist diploma in opera at the college.


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