BOIBA 2021

Bath Opera Isobel Buchanan Awards 2021


The grand final of the Bath Opera Isobel Buchanan Award was held at Bath Spa University’s Michael Tippett Centre on Thursday 11 th November. Unfortunately one of the selected finalists had to withdraw the day before, but Megan Strachan, who was then invited to stand in by Isobel with little more than 24 hours’ notice, rushed down from London and won the £1,000 first prize by the unanimous vote of the adjudicators!

Megan, pictured with Isobel and runner-up Joshua Saunders, said, “I could not believe what had happened.
It was a fantastic contest to be part of and I’m so unbelievably honoured to have won the award.”

The Bath Opera Isobel Buchanan Award or ‘BOIBA’ is an annual singing contest ‘for a promising young opera singer’ jointly organised by Bath Opera and bath Spa University, and is going from strength to strength. This year there were 61 applicants and Isobel explained in her award speech that the quality was so high it was almost impossible to reduce it to six finalists.

Of Megan’s performance, Isobel said, “Here was a young singer who sang with fearless attack and assuredness in all of her three pieces. Megan carried us on a journey into the world and atmosphere of each song with strong vocal technique and understanding of text. At times she reduced us to tears with her ability to open herself fully to whatever she was singing. That is something that cannot be taught, and the panel was unanimous in choosing her as this year’s BOIBA winner.”

The runner-up prize of £500 was won by the youngest of all the 61 contestants, Joshua Saunders (21). Isobel said, “His tenor performance demonstrated tremendous strength and control for such a young singer and showed his understanding of the stylistic requirements of each piece. A talent to watch.” Josh said, “The experience was really wonderful, it was such a warm and inviting experience, to me it didn’t feel like a competition because of the kind and caring energy provided by everyone which was refreshing.”

The other finalists, pictured with Megan and Joshua were from left to right, were Rosamond Thomas, Anna Muradyan, William Stevens and Nancy Holt. Joining Isobel on the adjudication panel were international opera singers Alexander Main Johnson and Rosa Mannion, who are pictured with Megan and accompanist Maria Garcia.

You can listen to part of Megan and Joshua’s winning performance by clicking on the links.