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Singing for Keats

Jette Parker Young Artists perform at a fundraiser for the community library

25 April, 2019 — By Michael White

Yaritza Veliz and German Alcantra

NORTH Londoners normally have to go down to Covent Garden to hear what the Royal Opera is doing, but sometimes the Royal Opera obligingly comes north – as it does next week, with a Hampstead showcase concert for singers on its Jette Parker Young Artists programme.

Jette Parker is a name that baffles people, but it refers to the sponsor who funded the programme’s launch in 2001. Successful candidates – chosen by audition from across the world – join the company for two years, in which time they get coached in stagecraft, vocal technique and the like, but also go onstage in small roles. Which means it’s partly training, partly work.

Above all, it’s exposure – of a kind that clearly proves useful, given the number of singers on the programme who have subsequently leapt to prominence. Not the least of them being Jacques Imbrailo who’s now starring as Billy Budd.

Whether the singers who come to Hampstead next week will make it that big is anyone’s guess. But they include Yaritza Veliz, a Chilean soprano singing Barbarina in the ROH’s coming Marriage of Figaro, and German Alcantra, an Argentine baritone currently appearing in Gounod’s Faust. All deeply South American.

The event is a fundraiser for Keats Community Library – but note, it isn’t happening in the library but in Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel where the acoustic is better for voices.

7.30pm, Thursday May 2, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, 3 Pilgrims Place, NW3 1NG. £12, call 020 7431 1266 or

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