A TENOR from the region has been crowned the best singer in Wales just weeks after becoming a father for the first time.
John Pierce fought off fierce competition to win the Welsh Singers Competition, impressing a judging panel which included opera star Bryn Terfel.
The 27-year-old from Holywell said he has been left in a dream world after the win and said his family were his inspiration.
He said: “All I can say is I am really shocked to win the competition and even more shocked as it comes just eight weeks after becoming a dad to my daughter Sophie.
“Words do not describe it. I don’t know if I am still dreaming.
“My maternal grandmother had a talent for singing – she was offered a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the age of 13, but due to financial restrictions she could not take up her place and pursue a musical career.
“My mother inherited her singing abilities and for a few years she sang with a local amateur operatic society.”
The former Holywell High School pupil, who scooped a trophy and a £2,000 prize, will now represent Wales at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition next year.
This was second time lucky for John, a student at the National Opera Studio, London.
He reached the final in 2008 when Swansea soprano Natalya Romaniw took the title.
He now plans to spend the summer performing as Rudolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme for British Youth Opera and covering the same role for English National Opera.
He said: “This is a big boost. I’m looking forward to where this will take me.”
Finalists Catrin Aur Davies, soprano, and baritone Samuel Evans, both from Ceredigion, along with Montgomeryshire mezzo soprano Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, each received a £750 prize.
Former winner and judge Bryn Terfel said: “It has been a very difficult decision. We have to congratulate the quality of young singers but there has to be one winner.”
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Grant Llewellyn accompanied the finalists in the competition, organised by Live Music Now! in association with BBC Cymru Wales and with the support of the Arts Council for Wales.
You can hear the whole concert on BBC Radio Cymru at 2.30pm on Sunday or via the website at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00swj6g
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