A Carrickfergus singer is on her way to national stardom after beating off competition from hundreds of other vocalists earlier this month.
Mezzo soprano Sarah Richmond was crowned joint winner of The Soloist competition in Dublin, along with County Waterford pianist Daniel Kearney.
The Soloist is billed as Ireland’s most exciting talent search and is open to performers from the ages of 12 to 30 from all music genres.
This is the second year the competition has taken place, and the first year hmv has sponsored it.
The Soloist 2015 offered the lucky winner the opportunity to join the Cross Border Orchestra Ireland, performing with them to over 30,000 people in some of Ireland’s most famous venues, including the RDS in Dublin and the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.
The winner also received a €1,000 cash prize.
Sarah and Daniel beat off over 450 competitors who made video applications to the competition, which saw 30 of the island’s most promising and talented young musicians and singers make it through to the semi-final on Sunday August 9.
This was further reduced on the evening to 12 finalists.
Many gave highly accomplished and often breath-taking performances, but Sarah and Daniel both stole the hearts of the judges with their captivating musicianship.
Sarah, 27, is known for her vocal warmth and versatility and has experience from providing music at a wide variety of events.
The Carrickfergus woman performed Time to Say Goodbye, written by Francesco Sartori and Lucio Quaratotts, and Rosina’s Aria Una Voce Poco Fa from Rossini’s Opera Il Barbiere di Seviglia.
Sarah is a mum to three-year-old Jamie and aims to merge a happy family life with her ultimate career goal to secure a principal role with ROH, ENO or Opera North.
The Cross Border Orchestra Ireland was set up in 1995 as a peace initiative shortly after the end of violence in Northern Ireland.
The orchestra encouraged young musicians from north and south of the border to integrate regardless of political or religious background, and since then they have gained international recognition for encouraging peace and reconciliation throughout the island of Ireland.