Photo by Merri Cyr

Our 2013 Prizewinners

Nadine Sierra, American Soprano – Winner of 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) in Dublin, Ireland – Photo by Merri Cyr
Photo by Merri Cyr

Nadine Sierra


Ms. Sierra made her professional debut with Palm Beach Opera while still a teenager, in her home state of Florida. She studied in New York City at  Mannes College of Music and was an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. She made her debut at San Francisco Opera in 2011 as Juliet/Barbara in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier.  Recent engagements include Gilda in Rigoletto (La Scala, Milan, Chorégies d’Orange, Opéra Bastille, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Seattle Opera), Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoore (La Fenice, Venice, San Francisco Opera, Zürich Opera), Zerlina in Le Nozze di Figaro (Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera), Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Norina in Don Pasquale (Valencia), Musetta in La bohème, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (San Francisco Opera) and Flavia Gemmira in Eliogabalo (Paris Opéra). She is the youngest winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition, the 2017 Richard Tucker Award Winner, the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award Winner, and has recently signed a record contract with Deutsche Grammophon/Universal. In the 2017/2018 season, Ms. Sierra performs Susanna (Metropolitan Opera), Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (Paris Opéra) and Nannetta in Falstaff (Staatsoper Berlin). You can follow her on instagram @nadine.sierra.

Read more about Nadine Sierra

Stephen Chambers, New Zealand Tenor – 2nd place in 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) in Dublin, Ireland

Stephen Chambers


New Zealand/British tenor Stephen Chambers holds a BSc in Physiology, as well as a MusB(Hons) from the University of Otago, a GPD (Opera) from the Boston Conservatory, and an MMus(Opera) from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Operatic roles played by Stephen include The Soldier in The Emperor of Atlantis, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Albert in Albert Herring, Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, The Schoolmaster in The Cunning Little Vixen, and Lt. Bonner in War & Peace.

In 2010 he made his debuts at the BBC Proms as a soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music (BBC SSO / Runnicles), and at the Edinburgh Festival as a Trojan man in Idomeneo (SCO / Norrington).

Stephen studied with Stephen Robertson while on the Opera Course and during his post as a Young Artist in Residence at the RSAMD (now RCS), as the recipient of the ABRSM International postgraduate scholarship. Stephen has also been supported by the Sir James Caird’s Travelling Scholarships Trust.

Stephen has been a Britten-Pears Young Artist, is a Samling Artist & has attended the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence Summer académies.

Stephen has covered roles for Scottish Opera and Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera. He most recently studied at the Welsh International Academy of Voice in Cardiff with Dennis O’Neill & Nuccia Focile.

In 2013, Stephen won 2nd prize in the Veronica Dunne International Singing competition in Dublin, Ireland, where he also took the Anthony Kearns prize for best male singer & the Handel Prize. He was also 2nd in the London Handel Competition.

In 2014 Stephen was a finalist in both the Belvedere International competition in Dusseldorf, Germany & the Concorso Musica Sacra in Rome, Italy.

Read more about Stephen Chambers

Insu Hwang, South Korean Baritone – 3rd place in 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) in Dublin, Ireland

Insu Hwang


I was born in Seoul and studied at Yonsei University, then in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik, Karlsruhe with Donald Litaker and am currently at the Hochschule für Musik, Detmold with Susan Anthony.

I have made numerous concert appearances with the Hof Symphony Orchestra in Bavaria, and solo recitals in Brussels and Karlsruhe.

I received a DAAD Scholarship in 2011 and a Brahmshaus Scholarship in 2012.

I have taken part in a number of competitions. I reached the final of the 2011 Queen Elizabeth competition and in 2013 won third prize and the Mozart special prize at the Veronica Dunne International singing competition, and 2nd prize at the Gut Immling international singing competition.

I have made numerous concert appearances with the Hof Symphony Orchestra in Bavaria, and solo recitals in Brussels and Karlsruhe. Opera roles include Guglielmo Così fan tutte and Count Le nozze di Figaro, both in Seoul; the title role in Falstaff in Karlsruhe; and Zar in Kurt Weill’s Der Zar lässt sich photografieren in Munich.

Currently I am a member of the Young Artist programme at the Landestheater Detmold, where I have performed the roles of Montano Otello, First Nazarene Salome and Sarastro Die Zauberflöte.

In my spare time, I like to keep fit and particularly enjoy swimming.

Gemma Ní Bhriain, Irish Mezzo-Soprano – 4th place in 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) in Dublin, Ireland – Photo by Artan Hursever
Photo by Artan Hursever

Gemma Ní Bhriain


Born in Dublin, mezzo-soprano Gemma Ní Bhriain graduated in June 2014 with a BA in Music Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she studied with Dr. Veronica Dunne.

In September 2016, Gemma joined the International Opera Studio of Opernhaus Zürich. During her two seasons she performed many roles including Cléone (Médée – Charpentier),  Le Pâtre, La Chatte and L’écureuil (l’Enfant et les sortilèges – Ravel), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Valetto (L’incornazione di Poppea) and Ramiro (La Finta Giardiniera) to name just a few.

She was also a member of the Atelier Lyrique Opera Studio at Opéra National de Paris where she performed; Dorabella (Così fan tutte – Mozart); Diane (Iphigénie en Tauride – Gluck); Proserpina (Orfeo – Monteverdi). She also made her main stage solo debut at Opéra Bastille singing the role of Alisa in Lucia Di Lammermoor (Donizetti).

Previous roles include: Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen in the National Concert Hall with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra conducted by John Wilson, with world-renowned mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon singing the lead role; Jenny’s Girl (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) with OTC and Rough Magic and Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen) with RIAM.

Beginning the 2018/19 season, Gemma makes her company and role debut singing Niklausse (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with Irish National Opera. She makes her recital debut at Opéra Bastille in January 2019 and will return to Opernhaus Zürich to perform Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Une Pretresse de Diane/Une Matelote/Une Chasseresse in a new production of Rameau’s ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’.

Read more about Gemma Ní Bhriain

Szymon Komasa, Polish Baritone – 4th place in 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) in Dublin, Ireland

Szymon Komasa


Şzymon Komasa was born in Poznań and studied at the Academy of Music in Łódź, from which he graduated with honors in 2009 in both cello and vocal studies. Komasa comes from a very artistic family. His mother Gina was a singer, his father Wieslaw is a famous Polish actor, his brother Jan is a director, his sister Mary is a lead singer of a band and his youngest sister Sophie is a stylist. Jan Komasa directed him in Sala samobójców (Suicide Room), which was also written by his brother. 

He studied opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before becoming a student of Edith Wiens at Juilliard’s Artist Diploma program in Opera Studies.. In 2011, he represented Poland in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, but fell ill and had to withdraw before the finals. 

He has won awards in international singing competitions, including the Best Wagner Singer at the 7th Annual Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin in January of this year. He previously took third prize at the Ada Sari Vocal Art Competition in Nowy Sącz in Poland, first prize at the Puccini International Singing Competition in Verona and first prize at the Halina Halska-Fijałkowska Vocal Competition in Wrocław. 

Şzymon’s opera performances include Slook in Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, all at Teatr Wielki in Łódź, and Schaunard in Puccini’s La bohème at Teatro Filharmonico in Verona. His repertoire also includes Mityukha Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. This summer, he sang Albert in Halevy’s La Juive in Dresden.

Read more about Szymon Komasa

Aoife Miskelly, Northern Irish Soprano – 6th place 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) in Dublin, Ireland

Aoife Miskelly


Northern Irish soprano Aoife Miskelly studied at the Royal Academy of Music graduating from Royal Academy Opera with the Regency Award in 2012. She then took up a position in the Internationales Opernstudio at Oper Köln, after which she joined the ensemble as a principal artist 2014- 2016. During her studies, Aoife was a Kathleen Ferrier Award finalist, winner of the Bernadette Greevy Award, Hampshire Singing Competition, BBC NI Young Artists Platform Award and finalist in the Wigmore International Song Competition and Royal Overseas League. She furthered her studies as a Samling Scholar, Internationale Meistersinger Akademie Young Artist and Britten-Pears Young Artist.

At Oper Köln Aoife sang roles including Gilda (Rigoletto), Gretel, Musetta (La Bohéme), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Frasquita (Carmen), Despina (Così fan tutte), Valencienne (Die Lustige Witwe), Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), Papagena, and the lead role Harey in the German premiere of Detlev Glanert’s opera Solaris.

She has sung The Woman in Donnacha Dennehy/Enda Walsh’s The Last Hotel for ROH2, Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Japan; for La Monnaie/Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, she sang Thérèse in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, and for the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman, Aoife sang Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. For NI Opera, she has sung Dew Fairy (Hansel & Gretel), Zerlina, Despina, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), and Polissena in Handel’s Radamisto. She sang Cecily Cardew in the Irish premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of being Earnest for Wide Open Opera/NIO and last year she made an acclaimed debut for Opera North singing the title role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden.

On the concert platform Aoife has appeared with the RTÈ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÈ Concert Orchestra, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Ulster Orchestra, RIAS Kammerchor, Royal Northern Sinfonia, and the Gürzenich Orchester.

Current engagements include her role and house debut at Welsh National Opera as Clorinda in La Cenerentola, her first Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) at Nevill Holt Opera, Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) for Irish National Opera, a return to Oper Köln to sing Eliza Doolittle, Valencienne (cover) at English National Opera alongside concerts in Vienna, Bratislava and Belfast.  

Read more about Aoife Miskelly

Our 2013 Jury

Jane Carty
Competition Chair

Richard Bonynge

Evans Mirageas

Dr Suzanne Murphy
International soprano

Patrik Ringborg
Staatstheater, Kassel

Lenore Rosenberg
Metropolitan Opera, New York

Henning Ruhe
Bavarian State Opera

Christian Schirm
Opéra Nationale de Paris