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University of Leicester Alumnus Breaks into European Opera Circuit

A former student from University of Leicester has found success in Europe’s prestigious opera scene. 

Bass-baritone, Liam James Karai, is currently a member of the International Opera Studio at Staatsoper Hamburg, appearing in productions of CarmenTosca, and Le Nozze di Figaro amongst others during the 2023/2024 season.

Leicester Time: University of Leicester Alumnus Breaks into European Opera Circuit
Picture: Liam James Karai

  However, Liam started his opera career at University of Leicester, where he studied BSc Banking and Finance. Whilst studying at Leicester, Liam successfully applied for one of the University’s Music Scholarships, which helps students cover the cost of music lessons. 

Attenborough Arts Centre and Dr Paul Jenkins, Honorary Director of Student Music at University of Leicester, deliver the scholarships.

Liam said: “University of Leicester was my second choice originally so I didn’t have a singing scholarship lined up when I arrived. I joined the University of Leicester Chorus and that is where I met Paul Jenkins and he told me that they were auditioning for vocal scholarships.

“Paul is such an important person to me in terms of my career because I don’t think I would be a singer at this level without him pushing me. When I joined University of Leicester, I played basketball and studied, that was my main thing. Paul pushed me to learn a lot of music and a lot of languages which I think was crucial.”

Dr Jenkins recently made the trip to Germany to watch Liam perform as lead baritone, Escamillo in Carmen at Mainz Opera House. 

“It was very rewarding to see Liam Karai in a leading role in the opera Carmen at a professional opera house in Mainz, Germany,” he said. “Well done Liam!“