Baritone Patrick Keefe is delighted to connect with his late father’s home county of Sussex

Baritone Patrick Keefe is delighted to be strengthening his connections with Sussex, home county of his late father.

Patrick Keefe
Patrick Keefe

Patrick will be giving the winner’s recital on Thursday, May 26 at 5pm at the Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne after taking the title in the prestigious Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks International Song Contest.

He is also currently living in Lewes enjoying his time as a Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne, a programme of “exceptional coaching and performance opportunities for young singers”: “I grew up in London and my father passed away when I was four but his family were from Sussex so it's lovely now to be developing my own links with Sussex, where he was from. And that's why these Sussex connections now mean so much to me.”

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At the Hydro Hotel, Patrick’s programme includes Glories of English song and popular operatic arias. He will be accompanied by Joseph Cavalli-Price, with the two young performers promising an entertaining and exciting programme.

Tickets £12 available from the Hydro Hotel or by post from Sir Philip Anson, 34 Martello Road, Eastbourne, BN22 7SS. Send a cheque payable to Eastbourne Arts Circle; include an SAE For card purchases call 01323 411906 after 5pm.

The Richard Lewis Award singing competition was founded in 2001 and is open to postgraduate singers studying at The Royal Academy of Music: “This is second biggest singing competition in the country and I was lucky enough to win that last year and usually they have a recital by the winner the following year which is what is happening. We are back now in full competition mode which is great.”

It was a two-round competition: “You need to offer a mix of arias from the sacred oratorios, like opera that happens in a church. You also had to do some opera arias and a song in a foreign language and an English song. It was very specific.”

Patrick is delighted he can offer that his winner’s recital alongside his current work at Glyndebourne where he will be soloist in some shows and in the chorus for others: “I'm hoping I'll be able to stay at Glyndebourne until December. To be in the county where my father’s family was from is just really lovely. It means a great deal to me to have these two connections.”

Patrick was at the Guildhall when the pandemic started, cutting his postgraduate year in half but he went on to the opera course at the Royal Academy – “and that's not a bad place to spend a pandemic! I was able to nurture and grow and develop as an artist behind closed doors.

"I was able to spend time there and then come back out again when things returned to normal like some strange small operatic butterfly cocooned away.”

And in that sense, Patrick's timing really wasn't too bad: “I was able to be cocooned away but the people a year or a couple of years above me have been in real jeopardy after leaving college. Those first couple of years outside college are critical.”