Brian Law Opera Competition

Gerald Finley, O.C., Honorary Patron

About the Competition

Image of Brian Law

Brian Law

The Brian Law Opera Competition is a biennial opportunity for young singers from the National Capital Region (by birth, musical education or residency) who are focusing on an operatic career.

The next competition will be presented by Concerts By The Canal and the National Capital Opera Society in . Tickets will be available at the door: general admission (cash), students (or by CBTC subscription).

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes are currently set at $5000, $3000 and $1000.

Notices are sent out to music-education organizations across the country. From all entries received, a preliminary jury chooses up to six finalists. At the public competition each contestant has to perform a selection of three opera arias, one with recitative, accompanied by his/her own accompanist, before a three-member jury. The announcement of the winners is followed by the presentation of the prizes.

The Competition, formerly known as the Brian Law Opera Scholarship Competition, was established in 1991 upon the departure of conductor and choir director Brian Law from Ottawa to become Director of the Christchurch City Choir in Christchurch, New Zealand. Born and educated in London, he immigrated to Canada in 1965. During his twenty-five years in the National Capital Region, Brian Law was the Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master of Festival Ottawa for thirteen seasons and again when opera returned to the NAC in 1988. He fulfilled the same role with L’Opéra de Montréal from 1986 to 1989. He vigorously sought to increase the profile and presence of opera not only in this region, but also throughout Canada.

In recognition of Brian Law’s many achievements, the National Capital Opera Society established a biennial opera competition. The first competition, for a $1000 prize, was held in 1993, with Brian Law in attendance, under the distinguished patronage of Maureen Forrester, C.C. After the death of Ms. Forrester in 2010, Gerald Finley, who owes much of his early music education to Brian Law, graciously agreed to become the honorary patron.

To make the competition possible, the National Capital Opera Society established the Brian Law Fund. It is steadily reaching its goal and now stands at over $30,000, thanks to its many generous supporters. Donations have allowed the greatly increased prizes and are therefore always highly appreciated. They may be made to the National Capital Opera Society, identified as contributions to the Brian Law Fund. The National Capital Opera Society is a registered charity (BN 12589 8304 RR 0001) and will issue a tax receipt for all donations of $20 or more.

To see more about previous competitions (contestants, jurors, etc.), click The Competitions in the menu on the right and choose the competition of interest from he list that appears.

How to Apply

The How to Apply page gives details of the competition and information on how to apply to participate.

Past Winners

Winners of the
2015 Brian Law Opera Competition

Winners of the 2015 Brian Law Opera Competition

Photo © Klaus S.

From left to right:
Jennifer Mizzi, soprano (2nd Prize)
Eliza Johnson, soprano (1st Prize)
Joel Allison, bass-baritone (3rd Prize)

2007: 1st Prize: Yannick-Muriel Noah 2nd Prize: Sharleen Joynt 3rd Prize: Maghan Stewart
2005: 1st Prize: Joyce El-Khoury 2nd Prize: Maghan Stewart 3rd Prize: Liliana Piazza
2003: 1st Prize: Joshua Hopkins 2nd Prize: Pascal Charbonneau 3rd Prize: Jillian Yemen
2001: 1st Prize: Shannon Mercer
1999: 1st Prize: Sandra Stringer
1997: 1st Prize: Julie Nesrallah
1995: 1st Prize: Mary Ann Swerdfeger
1993: 1st Prize: Laura Dziubaniuk