The Charles Wood Song Competition


 The Inaugural Charles Wood Song Competition

Standard: Post-Grade 8

Age Range: 18-28

Entry Fee: £40 / €50 

1st Prize: £1000 & Trophy

Runner Up: £250

Both awards include a performance opportunity at the Charles Wood Festival and Summer School 2019.

Song Competition Rounds 

Preliminary Round
Applicants should submit their entry form, video recording and fee by Friday 22nd February 2019 at 2pm. The Jury will then invite a number of singers to participate in the semi-final of the competition. Applicants will be informed of the Jury’s decision on Monday 25th February 2019. 

Semi-Final: Friday 15th March 2019
Venue: Music Hall, St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh

Time: 2pm & 7pm

Singers should prepare a varied twenty-minute programme, consisting of one Charles Wood song, two contrasting opera arias and one Lied. For the semi-final, three of these will be required:

  1. Charles Wood song

  2. Competitor’s choice

  3. Jury choice

At the end of the evening session, five singers will be selected to progress to the final.

Final: Saturday 16th March 2019
Venue: St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral

Time: 7pm

Singers should perform all of their prepared twenty-minute programme.

Click here for full rules and conditions



On Saturday 16th March 2019, participants not progressing to the final will be invited to take part in a Masterclass led by the Chair of the Competition Jury, Paul Farrington. All singers selected for the Competition are expected to attend.

Venue: Music Hall, St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral

Time: 10am – 1pm


Song Competition Jury

PAUL F2.jpg

Paul Farrington, Chair
Trained as a classical tenor, Paul enjoyed an active performing career, but began teaching whilst still studying and decided to make his love of exploring and teaching voice his full-time career. A founding member of the Professional Voice Users Clinic at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital over a quarter of a century ago, he worked there as an NHS Clinical Vocal Consultant for seventeen years. He now works closely with a number of Harley Street Consultants in rehabilitating both spoken and sung voice clients and is acknowledged as a leader in this field.

Paul has held positions in a number of major Conservatoires and Drama Schools in the UK and also worked as vocal coach on various West End Productions, including Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Grease, Spamalot, Evita and Miss Saigon. He is now Vocal Technique and Vocal Health Consultant to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; The New National Theatre, Tokyo; Goteborgs Operan, Sweden and is full Professor of Opera and Vocal Pedagogy at the Kunsthogskolan (Opera Academy) in Oslo, as well as visiting Professor to the Kunsthogskolan, Stockholm.

He was Music Coach and Musical Director on the movie 'Quartet', and more recently on the Oscar nominated 'The Theory of Everything'. Much in demand for lecturing, coaching and teaching worldwide, Paul now divides his time between his teaching studio in London and recent and forthcoming engagements in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, USA, Singapore, Barcelone, Madrid and Zurich.


Carolyn Dobbin
Northern Irish mezzo-soprano and Samling Scholar, Carolyn began her career as a teacher of Art and Design before commencing the Opera course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Carolyn was Associate Artist at Welsh National Opera in 2010 and spent two years at Luzern Opera House, Switzerland in 2012-2014.

She has performed extensively in opera, oratorio and in solo recitals, including appearances at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio, English National Opera, Grange Park Opera, Opera Holland Park, Stadttheater Bern (Switzerland), and the Royal Albert Hall. 

She has performed the roles of Carmen, Annio, Penelope, Bradamante, Polina, Meg Page, Dritte Dame, Lucretia, Amastre, Octavia, Nicklausse, Magdalena, Dorabella, Charlotte, Teodata, Concepcion, Scipio, Idamante and Angelina in la Cenerentola. 

She recorded the role of Madeleine in R. Loders rare opera ‘Raymond and Agnes’ with Richard Bonynge, the Queen in Ethel Smythes Fete Gallante with Odeline de la Martinez. She released a solo CD with Delphian Records and Iain Burnside on songs by composers from Northern Ireland at the Ludlow Song Festival and again in Belfast for Radio 3 and BBC NI TV St. Patrick’s Night Concert. Recent and future roles include the role of Madam Popova in The Bear, Mary in Der fliegende Höllander for Longborough Festival, Smeton in Anna Bolena, Fenena in nabucco, Alise In Lucia di lammermoor, and Carolyn will perform in Wagner's Ring cycle in 2020/2023. Carolyn established the Northern Irish song project which has seen her collect and record forgotten songs by Northern Irish composers and also record newly written song cycles by current Northern Irish composers.