TWO rising stars of the classical singing world, who took first and second prizes at the Hurn Court Opera Singing Competition this summer, will perform on Sunday at Merley House in Wimborne.

Milly Forrest, soprano, won the Nigel Beale First Prize and the Wendy Blamire Award, and Alexander Simpson, counter tenor, took the Rosalind Armstrong Second Prize and the Tony Lowrey Audience Prize in the finals of the competition held at Bournemouth University in July.

Sunday’s programme will range from Handel, Monteverdi and Purcell, through Grieg and Rangström, Smetana and Dvorak, and Johann Strauss, to Celia McDowall and Britten. Accompanying them will be pianist Hamish Brown.

Milly hit the headlines in 2017 after impressing critics when she leaped from part-time usher to soloist at London’s Wigmore Hall.

Stepping in at short notice after a soprano was taken ill, student Milly performed alongside Mary Bevan, Elizabeth Watts and many others in Vaughan Williams’ A Serenade to Music, meeting with critical acclaim and national media coverage.

Both singers have been notching up further successes this year. Milly was awarded first place at the Patricia Routledge English Song Competition, and Alex won Silver Medal at the Manhattan International Music Competition and is through to the semi-finals of the Grange Festival International Singing Competition, taking place on October 21.

Pianist Hamish Brown performs as a vocal accompanist, chamber musician, orchestral pianist and soloist in the UK and Europe. He currently holds a Fellowship in piano at the Royal College of Music.

* Bournemouth-based Hurn Court Opera showcases some of the finest young singers in the country. Tickets for Sunday’s recital are £15, available from Andrew Foot by email, by calling 07717 570333 or on the door. Ticket price includes an interval glass of Prosecco.