Australian soprano Lauren Fagan is one of the winners in the 2021 Elizabeth Connell Prize, which was this year held online due to COVID restrictions. Prize money totalling $69,000 was awarded to eight singers from seven countries.

Lauren Fagan. Photo © Victoria Cadisch

The prize, which is open to sopranos and mezzo-sopranos, aged 25 to 34, of all nationalities, was established in 2014 with a $1 million legacy left by the late South African-born dramatic soprano Elizabeth Connell to support the next generation of dramatic singers.

The competition is normally held over three rounds: an application by video, then live auditions throughout the world, with five finalists flown to Sydney to compete for the $25,000 first prize. However, due to COVID-19, the 2020 competition was cancelled. The 2021 competition went ahead, but was held online with cash grants awarded to young female singers who show the potential to sing the more dramatic repertoire, but who have lost work due to the pandemic, highlighting the impact the pandemic has had on the arts sector.

Each entrant provided three video links, together with their CV and a statement explaining how the pandemic had...