Drop element here!

Welcome to the Elizabeth Connell Prize International Singing Competition for Sopranos and Mezzo-sopranos.

Patrons: Richard Bonynge AC CBE, Dame Anne Evans DBE, Bernadette Cullen
Est. 2014

Elizabeth Connell was a South African dramatic soprano, who attained international acclaim for her performances throughout her career. She began her professional life singing as a mezzo soprano before transitioning to soprano. Her repertoire ranged from Rossini, Mozart and Bellini, to Strauss, Verdi and Wagner.  It was her love of the dramatic repertoire, which lead her to establish the Elizabeth Connell Prize. The competition’s aim, based on Elizabeth Connell’s own wishes, is to foster aspiring young dramatic female voices who show the potential to sing the more dramatic repertoire. Entrants do not have to currently be a dramatic soprano or dramatic mezzo soprano to enter, simply show potential. All repertoire is accepted, especially the lyric repertoire, which is highly encouraged for this age group. This competition is Elizabeth Connell’s legacy to the opera world.

No. of WinnersNo. of ScholarshipsTotal Cash Awarded

2023 Elizabeth Connell Prize
International Singing Competition

Welcome to the 9th Elizabeth Connell Prize International Singing Competition.

Venue: In 2023 the Elizabeth Connell Prize will be held in London, UK at Wigmore Hall.
Prizes:  £37,000 in prize money is being offered with a first prize of £15,000.
*  All six finalists chosen to compete on 3 June at Wigmore Hall will receive a cash prize.
Age: Open to all female singers of all nationalities aged under 35 as of 1 June 2023.
The Competition will be held over four rounds.
- Round 1:  Online application with two contrasting arias via video link with application form, CV/biography.
- Round 2 Heat:  Up to 25 singers will be invited to London, UK to perform two arias.
- Round 3 Semi-final:  Up to 12 singers will be chosen to perform two different arias.
- Round 4 Final:  Six singers will be chosen to perform two contrasting arias in front of a live audience at Wigmore Hall.
*  The Final will be live streamed.
*  The competition will be accompanied by piano at each stage.
*  Competitors chosen to compete in Round 2, 3 and 4 will have to provide their own travel to and accommodation in London.
*  Non-refundable entry fee for all entrants via online portal: AUD$100.

1.  Age appropriate repertoire is highly recommended for this competition. Entrants must show the potential to the sing the more dramatic repertoire.
2.  Entrants must present a list of five contrasting arias with their application.
3.  Arias must be sung in the original language, original key and no longer than 8 minutes.
4.  One aria must be in German, one aria must be in Italian.
5. One aria must be by either Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Strauss or Wagner.
6.  Two contrasting arias must be sent via video link with the application. They can be in performance or recorded in a studio with either orchestra or piano.  No enhancement must be used and the entrants face must be clearly visable. 
7. The arias in the two aria links do not have to be included in your list of five arias for consideration should an entrant make it through to the final live rounds.

Semi-Final and Finals Competition Dates

2023 Elizabeth Connell Prize

SEMI-FINAL: 1 June at 2pm

Marylebone Theatre, Rudolf Steiner Hall
35 Park Road, London NW1
(nearest tube Baker St)
Tickets: £5 at the door cash only

FINAL: 3 June at
Wigmore Hall
36 Wigmore St, London W1
(nearest tube Bond St)
Tickets: £20

Twelve singers will perform two arias each at the Semi-final for a place in the Final.
Six singers will perform two arias each at the Final competing for a first prize of £15,000.

Dame Anne Evans - dramatic soprano
Simone Young - Chief Conductor of Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Peter Katona - Head of Casting ROH Covent Garden
Bernadette Cullen - dramatic mezzo soprano
Isabel Murphy - Selection committee for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and casting advisor to Longborough Festival's Ring Cycle
Fiona Janes - mezzo soprano, Trustee and CEO

Accompanied by: Richard Black

The Final will be Live Streamed
Link TBC

View Elizabeth Connell Video Gallery

In past years, the competition has been held over 3 rounds. Video application, then live auditions throughout the world with five finalists flown to Sydney, Australia to compete in the Final. After two years of online competitions and the awarding of cash grants, in 2023 the Trustees have decided to hold the competition in London whilst airfares to Australia are impacted due to the ongoing pandemic.

Created from a legacy left by the South African soprano Elizabeth Connell, the competition is open to SOPRANOS & MEZZO SOPRANOS of all nationalities aged under 35. The competition is to financially assist female opera singers who show the potential to move into the more dramatic repertoire. Since 2014, the ECP has awarded AUD$384,000 in prize money.

Previous Judges
Throughout the competition, judges have included Richard Bonynge, Simone Young, Dame Anne Evans, Christa Ludwig, Ruth Falcon, Dame Ann Murray, James Morris, Deborah Polaski, Jane Eaglen, Christine Goerke, Sharon Sweet, Bernadette Cullen, Glenn Winslade, Marilyn Richardson, Nance Grant, Brenda Hurley, Patricia Price, Jennifer McGregor and Fiona Janes.

Donations & Bequests
Donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible and can be made via direct deposit or by cheque.

Cheques to: “The Elizabeth Connell Scholarship Fund” – P.O. Box 2692 Bowral NSW 2576 Australia.

Direct Deposit
Bank: ANZ Bank
Acct Name: The Elizabeth Connell Scholarship Fund
Acct No: 4079 37962
BSB: 012 547
Swift Bic: ANZBAU3M

Please ensure you state your name as a reference and email us at econnellprize@jsrbfoundation as to how you would like to receive you receipt.
Bequests can also be made to The Elizabeth Connell Scholarship Fund. We would love to acknowledge your bequest so do tell us.
We also value your privacy, therefore, fully understand if you would rather keep your bequest private.

We are seeking an airline sponsor and accommodation sponsor for this prize. If you think you can help us with airfares or hotel or studio apartments in Sydney please contact the administration on +61 (0) 40 202 4118 or by email at:

Major Donors
The Estate of Jesselene Simpson
Michael Barnes
Elizabeth Corbett & Mark Finlay
Universal Music Australia

Trustees for the Elizabeth Connell Scholarship Fund
Michael Barnes, Elizabeth Corbett, Bernadette Cullen, Barbara de Rome, Fiona Janes