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Dame Kiri stage date is the prize for singers

By Patrice Dougan

Five young singing sensations are set to unleash their vocal talent for a chance to perform alongside one of the world's most famous opera singers.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is set to sing at a special one-off concert in the Ulster Hall as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen's in October - and one lucky young singer will get the chance to show off his or her skills alongside the New Zealand soprano.

In opera's answer to the X Factor, Sarah Richmond, from Carrickfergus, Ben McAteer, from Newry, Lynda-Jane Workman, from Coleraine, Rachel Kelly, from Dublin, and John Porter, from Lifford, will battle it out to win a place on stage with Dame Kiri.

The competition will be held in Glenarm from September 9-11 as part of NI Opera's Festival of Voice.

The five hopefuls will compete in a grand final on September 11 for a top prize of £2,000 and the chance to sing with Dame Kiri.

A panel of experts - including singer Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, conductor Nic Chalmers, opera singer Kathryn Harries and pianist Iain Burnside - will judge their skills and then announce the lucky winner.

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