Soprano Cleo Lee-McGowan has been announced as the winner of this year’s Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, beating out eight other finalists in what was an unusual all-female line up. McGowan was awarded the Sydney Eisteddfod John Lamble Foundation Winner Scholarship, which comprises a $37,000 scholarship and $3000 prize purse as well as return airfare (up to $3000) to undertake overseas study. The soprano will use the scholarship to fund her studies at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

Cleo Lee-McGowan. Photo supplied

“I’m excited to face all the challenges that living overseas will present and begin the next chapter in my career,” said Lee-McGowan.

The soprano secured her victory with her assured performance of the arias Ach, ich fühlsfrom Mozart’s Die Zauberflöteand Comme autrefoisfrom Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles. Adjudicators Cheryl Barker and John Pringle praised McGowan’s “superior technique” and “incredible emotion”.

Lee-McGowan recently made her Sydney Symphony Orchestra debut in a highly acclaimed concert presentation of Britten’s Peter Grimes  and will sing with the SSO again next year in Brahms’ A German Requiemconducted by David Robertson in July. She has been the recipient of the...