Garsington Opera 2021 Season Awards

As the Season comes to a close, Garsington Opera announces the recipients of its four awards for young artists, presented in recognition of their professional and personal contributions and musical skill during 2021. All awards are financial, for help with professional development, and each is presented in memory of an important figure from Garsington Opera’s history.

Douglas Boyd writes: ‘Nurturing and developing these wonderful performers at the beginning of their career, not least in this most challenging of years, lies at the heart of the Garsington Opera ethos and they have all inspired us in 2021. These four artists deserve recognition for outstanding contributions towards a fabulous season.’


American soprano Madison Leonard made her Garsington debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier to huge critical acclaim.

‘Finally returning to fully-staged opera this summer with Garsington Opera was such an immense joy. I felt truly spoiled to join the wonderful cast and creative team in bringing our new Der Rosenkavalier to life. I will cherish the memories of singing such glorious music with my remarkable colleagues for many, many years to come. I am deeply honoured by this award and will strive to live up to the legacy of its namesake.’


As well as working on the complex covid protocols for Le Comte Ory, Cecilia was the Assistant Director for the recreation of Michael Boyd’s 2016 production of Eugene Onegin and directed the understudies in a full performance for an audience of first timers.

‘It has been such an honour to be a part of Onegin and OperaFirst. Garsington’s culture of excellence and community encouraged and challenged me to be my best. I am over the moon to receive a Leonard Ingrams Award which will make a huge difference in the months ahead.’

HELEN CLARKE AWARD: Katy Thomson (Alvarez Young Artist)

Katy was a member of the chorus of Der Rosenkavalier and gave a triumphant performance as Die Marschallin on 13 June when Miah Persson was indisposed.

‘I can barely put into words how wonderful my summer of working with Garsington Opera has been. I was thrilled to be invited to be a Young Artist, and it has put my feet on paths I could only ever have dreamed of. I have been challenged and encouraged, and felt thoroughly supported at every step along the way, even jumping in to make my debut as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. I am delighted to have been chosen as the recipient for the 2021 Helen Clarke Award,

whose memory I will endeavour to honour. An incredibly special way to conclude a simply magical summer. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity at a time when there is so much uncertainty in the industry and the wider world.’

SIMON SANDBACH AWARD: Ossian Huskinson (Alvarez Young Artist)

Ossian was a member of the chorus of Eugene Onegin & Le Comte Ory. He performed the role of Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin, and understudied the role of Prince Gremin, which he sang at OperaFirst.

‘I am truly honoured and delighted to have received this award. This has not been an easy Summer for many, and a number of us at the start of the contract were nervous as to how we would be able to properly do our jobs as performers with all the numerous restrictions in place. However, from day one, everyone has been fully committed to creating a high-standard performance, and it has been incredible and inspiring to see everyone work so hard with so many challenges, and to remain friendly, kind, and supportive – even from a distance of two metres! Working this Summer at Garsington has given me a lot of hope for the future and survival of opera and all its workers during the pandemic, and I am extremely grateful to have been a part of it.’