Update for 2016
Born in Bahrain, Anglo-Greek soprano Danae Eleni is a young lyric soprano with coloratura facility who enjoys performing a wide range of repertoire. Danae read Psychology, Philosopy, Physiology and Phonetics at Worcester College, Oxford and studied at the RCM (London). In 2015 she made her Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra debut, as Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte, and will sing for them next year as Maria in Bernstein’s West Side Story Suites. Danae's other operatic roles include Ilia; Musetta; Gariné; Adina; Pamina; Gretel; the title role of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges; Lucy The Telephone; Suor Genovieffa Suor Angelica; Zerlina Don Giovanni and Emilia Marco Attilio Regolo. Danae is a committed performer of contemporary music, performing the UK premiere of NirmaliFenn's Psychotic Episode. She made her Purcell Room debut in 2009 with the world premiere of Tim Benjamin's solo opera Mrs Lazarus. As an educator, Danae has run workshops and animateured for schools and colleges the UK; assisted with Garsington Opera Education, and just held masterclasses and workshops with the students of Yale-NUS Liberal Arts College, Singapore. She enjoys performing alongside her brother Kimon Pallikaropoulos for the Concordia Foundation’s Healing Power of Music programme. www.danaeeleni.com
Jessica Leary graduated from Opera Course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with distinction, and completed her training with English National Opera on the ‘Opera Works’ Programme. A Britten-Pears Young Artist and Samling Artist, she was a semi-finalist in the Royal Overseas League and London Bach Singing Competitions. Her recent operatic works includes the roles of Helena A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Sandman (Cover) Hansel and Gretel (Scottish Opera), Damigella/Venere L’incoronazione di Poppea for Aldeburgh, and covering 2nd Edelknabe Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival. Other roles include Adina, Anne Truelove, Poppea, Lucia, Servilia and Anna Reich. In demand as a concert soloist, she has sung under the batons of John Butt, Richard Egarr and Jean-Claude Picard, with recent performances including Bach St Matthew Passion with The Dunedin Consort, Bach A Christmas Oratorio with Ludus Baroque, Vaughan Williams A Pastoral Symphony with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Villa Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She appears on recordings with Warner Classics and Delphian Records, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Scotland. In addition to being an artist for Live Music Now and Music in Hospitals, Jessica is thrilled to be an artist for the Concordia Foundation.
Claire Lees, is currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama on the Guildhall Artist Masters Programme, under the tutelage of Yvonne Kenny. Performance opportunities include performing in the opera, ‘Francesca di Foix,’ by Donizetti, singing solo excerpts from Haydn’s Creation for the LSO’s Singing day, masterclasses with Susan Bullock, Graham Johnson and Sarah Walker. Claire completed her undergraduate degree at the Birmingham Conservatoire. She has performed in the ensemble of the Gilbert and Sullivan’s Opera Company in their International Festival in Buxton (2012 and 2013) and also as a soloist and ensemble member with the Thursford Christmas Show, 2011 and 2012. Claire returned to the Gilbert and Sullivan’s Opera Company in 2014 on their first ever UK tour, performing the roles of Yum Yum (Mikado) and Phyllis (Iolanthe). Claire was a finalist in The Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2014 at the Wigmore Hall and a finalist in the International Lied Duo Competition 2015, winning the Vrienden van het Lied Prize. In March 2015, Claire made her debut at the Barbican Hall and in May 2015 she was soprano soloist at Peterborough Cathedral, working with Howard Goodall singing his piece ‘Every Purpose under the Heaven.’ Upcoming events include a UK tour with the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company singing the roles of Yum Yum (Mikado) and Gianetta (Gondoliers). Claire is an Artist of the Concordia Foundation and is generously supported by Help Musicians UK Fleming Award, The Leverhulme Award and the Guildhall School Trust.
Rachael Maura is originally from Northern Ireland. She graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with BMus (Hons). She then attended The Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she obtained the Guildhall Artist Graduate Certificate. She then went on to do the opera training course at Morley Opera School in London. Rachael has performed extensively throughout the UK. She appeared with Ireland's leading operatic company, New Lyric and at the Carrickfergus Festival she was placed first in the Opera Aria section winning the prestigious Rose Bowl prize. In 2009 she was a finalist in the Northern Ireland Young Musician of Year competition. In Manchester, she was a chorus member of several RNCM operas including La Clemenza di Tito and Carmen. In RNCM Opera scenes, her roles included Orsini in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and ‘Second Lady’ in The Magic Flute. She had the privilege to perform in masterclasses with Ryland Davies, Kate Flowers, David Owen Norris and Alastair Hume of The King’s Singers. With her arrival in London, she became a ‘Concordia Artist’ with the Concordia Foundation where she performed a recital at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. She appeared in recitals at the Royal Academy of Music, the Elgar Society and Southwark Cathedral. While at Guildhall she performed in the chorus of Donizetti’s Francesca di Foix as well as singing in masterclasses for renowned singers Emma Kirkby and Sarah Walker. She had the honour of performing in masterclasses with Mark Shanahan at the National Opera Studio and David Syrus at Morley Opera School. At the Morley Opera School scenes, her roles included Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Frau Fluth in Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, the Fourth Maid in Elektra, Anna in Sir John in Love. She also performed the full role of Nora in Morley Opera's production of Riders to the Sea accompanied by the Brandenburg Sinfonia.
British/American soprano Julia Sitkovetsky made her professional operatic debut at the age of 16 at Glyndebourne and English National Opera, understudying ‘Flora’ in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the English National Opera OperaWorks Programme. Current and upcoming engagements include: ‘Mimi’ La Bohème Puccini with Vaasa Opera, Finland; recitals at St Martin-in-the-Fields for the Concordia Foundation and at 22 Mansfield Street; and ‘Alcina’ Alcina Handel with Longborough Festival Opera. Recent successes include: ‘First Strolling Player’/‘Danish Lady’ in Death in Venice conducted by Steuart Bedford at Garsington Opera; Masterclasses with Thomas Quasthoff at the Verbier Festival Academy; ‘Emilia’ in Catone in Utica at Dartington Summer Festival conducted by Adrian Chandler; a recital with William Vann at St James’ Piccadilly, London as part of the Concordia Foundation; and Soprano solo in Ein Deutsches Requiem Brahms with Vaasa Opera Orchestra. Competition successes include: First Prize in the 2014 Dean and Chadlington Competition; a Susan Chilcott Award Finalist; 2014 Young Classical Artists Trust Finalist at the Wigmore Hall; Finalist in the 2014 Royal Overseas League Competition.Julia’s studies have been generously supported by the Help Musicians UK Tutton Award, The Seary Trust, The Fidelio Trust, The Worshipful Company of Needlemakers, Elisabeth J. Roberts and the Joan Conway Scholarship. She is a proud Concordia Artist.
Recently described by the Evening Standard as “singing like a dream”, Joanna Marie Skillett is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Worshipful Company of Musicians Concordia Foundation Founder’s Prize; a Park Lane Group Young Artist and an Ambassador Artist for the international Concordia Foundation. In the 2015-2016 season, Joanna shall make her Royal Opera House Debut as the Dormouse in Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the Linbury Theatre, following her successful Opera Holland Park Debut this Summer in the role. On the concert platform, Joanna recently made her Wigmore Hall Recital Debut and is looking forward to debuting at St John’s Smith Square in June 2016. This year’s operatic Highlights include Rose Maybud, Ruddigore (Gilbert & Sullivan International Festival, Royal Hall, Harrogate) and Dormouse, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Opera Holland Park). A former Essex Musician of the Year, Joanna is an active supporter of Music and the Arts within the Community and works regularly with Concordia on local and international projects. Joanna is a Patron for Corbets Tey School for children with complex learning needs; Visiting Faculty Member of The Caux Artists Programme Switzerland and Director of JMS Music. Joanna holds a Masters Distinction from The Royal Academy of Music, and joined The Guildhall School of Music and Drama Opera School in Autumn 2015. www.joannamariesoprano.com
London-based soprano Bryony Soothill graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Postgraduate Vocal Studies Course in 2015, and continues to study with David Pollard. Over the past year she has given recitals for the Song in the City concert series, worked closely with Iain Burnside for a performance of Wolf’s Mörike Lieder and was invited to cover Sophie Karthäuser at the 2014 Oxford Lieder Festival. She was soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah at St-Giles-in-the-Fields and Handel’s Israel in Egypt with Hertford Choral Society. In opera, roles include Miss Wordsworth Albert Herring (GSMD) and Zerlina Don Giovanni (St Paul’s Opera), and The Governess The Turn of the Screw, Magda La Rondine, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Hanna Die Lustige Witwe, Lakmé Lakmé, Alcina Alcina and Sofie Il Signor Bruschino in GSMD scenes. She also performed Second Lady Die Zauberflöte and Fiordiligi Così fan tutte in the 2014/2015 British Youth Opera Workshops with David Gowland, Stuart Barker and Liz Rowe.
Emma Walsh, a graduate of The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Associated Studios Opera Course, London, has won numerous awards throughout her native Ireland including the Best Female Singer awards at A.I.M.S and W.I.F.L.O for two consecutive years. Emma was the winner of RTE’s All Ireland Talent Showcase at The National Concert Hall (NCH), Dublin and Tipp Fm's Arts Bursary.
Recent roles include: Musetta in La Boheme at The National Concert Hall (NCH), Dublin for Lyric Opera, Flora in La Traviata with Winslow Hall Opera, London, Hanna Glavari in The Merry Widow at NCH for Lyric Opera, soprano soloist in The Irish Ring at NCH, Dublin with Jim Molloy Productions, Musetta (cover) in La Boheme, Nevill Holt Opera, London, Josephine in HMS Pinafore for Lyric Opera, Ireland, Mimi in La Boheme and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Associated Studios. As an Artist of the Concordia Foundation, Emma gave a lunchtime recital at St James's Church, Piccadilly. Future engagements include masterclasses and concerts directed by world renowned tenor George Shirley and Jean-Ronald LaFond at Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival in Sweden and soprano soloist in Magic of Vienna with Jim Molloy Productions at NCH, Dublin.
British-American Mezzo Soprano Phoebe Haines studied at the University of Cambridge, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She was a 2015 Opera Works trainee at the ENO, and is a two-time bursary winner of the International Opera Awards Foundation. In 2014, Phoebe became a Britten-Pears Young Artist, a Concordia Foundation Artist, and a Salzburg Festival Young Artist. Phoebe opened the International Opera Awards on April 7th 2014, singing Rossini’s ‘Cruda Sorte’. Also in 2014 Phoebe performed Schumann’s Frauenliebe und –leben for Concordia at St. James’s Piccadilly, along with her own translation of Shostakovich’s Spanish Songs. Phoebe made her mainstage debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2014 as Zweite adelige Waise in Der Rosenkavalier, and as Tisbe in La Cenerentola für Kinder, a co-production with Teatro Alla Scala. In 2015, Phoebe returned to Austria, as a scholar at the American Institute of Musical Studies, Graz. In September she spent a week master-classing with the legendary Montserrat Caballé in Zaragoza, Spain, before going on to perform two modern cantatas: Britten’s Phaedra in London, and Eaton’s El divino Narciso in NYC. Phoebe thanks John Wates, the International Opera Awards, Talent Unlimited, Opera Prelude, Dr. Michael Shipley & Mr. Philip Rudge, and the Nicholas Boas Trust.
Norah King has enchanted audiences across Europe and Asia in both operatic roles and concert performances, from the National Concert Hall, Dublin to the Uchisaiwaicho Hall, Tokyo. In opera she has sung roles with Aldeburgh Music, English Touring Opera, Lyric Opera Productions and the Lismore Music Festival. On the concert platform she has appeared with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Portsmouth Festival Orchestra, Army No.1 Band and Shanghai Opera Orchestra with the Concordia Foundation at the Shanghai Concert Hall. She has broadcast on RTÉ’s lyric fm with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and has recorded for BBC Radio 3 In Tune, BBC Radio 4 PM and BBC Radio Ulster. Her television appearances include RTÉ Capital D and Nationwide. Norah has recorded Romanian composer Irina Odagescu’s Continuum Y with the London Schubert Players as part of A European Odyssey CD series. Norah is an Artist of the Concordia Foundation, a Samling Artist, a former Britten-Pears Young Artist and Bank of Ireland Millennium Scholar. An alumna of the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Royal Academy of Music she has been awarded numerous prizes including an award from The Arts Council of Ireland and holds a DipRAM.
Mezzo Soprano, Elizabeth Lynch is currently studying with Susan Waters on the opera course at the Guildhall School. Here, she holds the prestigious Silk Street Award for Opera and has been granted a fellowship of the School. Highlights in Beth’s young operatic career to date include the title role in Phaedra Hans Werner Henze; cover Pinocchio in The Adventures of Pinocchio; Edmondo in Francesca di Foix; cover Mezzo Actor in A Night at the Chinese Opera (British Youth Opera) and Sandman & cover Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (Clonter Opera). Elizabeth was the voice of the Young Vixen in the BBC animation of The Cunning Little Vixen and made her debut at the Royal Opera House in the chorus for Xenakis’s Orestria. Elizabeth made her Barbican Hall debut singing the Mezzo solo in Elgar’s Music Makers with the GSO, was the alto soloist in Pärt’s Stabat Mater (BBC Radio 3) and sang Frauenliebe und Leben with Graham Johnson (GSMD). Other notable concert experience includes a recital at The Wigmore Hall after winning the Purcell soloist’s prize and The World Premier of Lorin Mazel’s The Empty Pot (LSO). A keen recitalist, Elizabeth is extremely proud to be part of Song in the City’s debut CD release of Voices of London. Elizabeth is a Concordia Foundation Artist, making her debut at St James’s Church Piccadilly in June 2015
Amaia Azcona Cildoz has always had a passion for music, and began playing the guitar and singing aged seven. Having completed her BMus at Conservatorio Superior de Navarra (Spain) in both, she is now embarking on her Masters in singing at Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she is studying with Susan J. Waters. She has been involved with several opera companies from Spain performing the roles of Gretel in Hansel und Gretel (Humperdinck), Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart, Micaela in Carmen Bizet, Rosita in Luisa Fernanda Torroba, Ariadna in El Guardian de los Cuentos M. Ortega and Zulema in Ali Baba y los Cuarenta Ladrones I. Casali in Arriaga’s Theatre (Bilboa, Spain), Baluarte Hall (Pamplona, Spain), in the Parlimament of Navarra and in Cultural Centre Nicolas Salmeron (Madrid, Spain), Clwyd Theatre Cymru (Mold, UK), Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (Guildford, UK), Wigmore Hall (London, UK). Last year Amaia was the winner of the Lillian Ash French Song Competition. Recent highlights include the participation in a concert organised by Graham Johnson at LSO St. Luke’s and Don Giovanni opera scene in Christ Church, Spitalfields.
Natasha Day won a scholarship to The Royal College of Music from where she graduated with First Class Honors. Presented with The Midori Nishiura Award, she completed the Postgraduate course at the same institution and went on to train at the English National Opera on the 2012/13 ‘Opera Works’ course. Natasha currently studies at the RCM’s International Opera School where she is a Fishmongers’ Company Scholar supported by a Robert McFadzean Whyte Award, under the tutelage of Dinah Harris. Operatic performances include Jessie (Weill’s Maghaggony-Songspiel) in Mexico City, Micaela (Carmen), Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), Elvira (Don Giovanni), Musetta (La Boheme) and the title roles in Holst’s Savitri and Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Natasha is a winner of the Zlote Glosy Competition in Warsaw and Most Promising Singer Award at the Emmy Destinn Competition in Prague and is a Finalist of the Thelma King Competition. She has been generously supported by the Josephine Baker Trust and was presented with The Charles Jacob Scholarship by the Worshipful Company of Cutlers and The Earl of Dalhousie Award by the Honourable Society of The Knights of The Round Table.
Norah King trained at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she graduated with a First Class BA Degree in Music Performance under renowned teacher Dr. Veronica Dunne. Post Graduate studies were undertaken at the Royal Academy of Music where she was awarded a Dip RAM and the prestigious Clifton Prize and Ernest Butcher Prize. Norah also studied at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice and at the English National Opera’s Opera Works. Norah is a Britten-Pears Young Artist, Concordia Foundation Artist and a Samling and Bank of Ireland Millennium Scholar. She was an Opera Theatre Company Young Associate Artist (2006–07) and participated in the Wexford Festival Opera’s Artists Development Programme. Norah’s many awards also include an Acton Travel Bursary, an MBF Music Education Award, a Travel and Training Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and the Irene Sandford Award for Singers. Norah has performed as Susanna in the The Marriage of Figaro for English Touring Opera and Opera A La Carte, Pamina in the The Magic Flute for Regents Opera, Miss Jessel in the The Turn of the Screw for Aldeburgh Music and the Grimeborn Festival, The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro for Opera East and Dido in Dido and Aeneas for the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Norah is a Concordia Foundation Ambassador, and has travelled with them to Shanghai to perform in the Rivers Cities Gala Concert as part of the Lord Mayor of London’s visit to China.
Rhiannon Llewellyn was born in Swansea and had a nomadic upbringing taking her all over the UK and USA before her family finally settled in France. After spending a year studying in Italy, Rhiannon went on to complete her undergraduate degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and recently completed her masters at the Royal Academy of Music. Rhiannon is now in her first year of Royal Academy Opera where she continues to study with Lillian Watson and Jonathan Papp. Rhiannon gratefully acknowledges the support of the Sickle Foundation, John and Rachel Wren, Josephine Baker Trust, Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Rhiannon won first prize and a Miriam Licette scholarship at the 2013 Maggie Teyte Competition at the Royal Opera House and was 2013 Les Azuriales Young Artist in Nice. Rhiannon recently made her professional operatic début as the Sandman in Garsington’s production of Hänsel und Gretel and will play the role of Dalinda in the Royal Academy Opera’s production of Ariodante next season. Other operatic roles include Countess The Marriage of Figaro, Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte and Polly Peachum The Beggar’s Opera. Rhiannon is a passionate recitalist and has performed at venues such as the Royal Opera House’s Crush Bar, Real Academia de Bellas Artes (Madrid), British Embassy (Paris), Purcell Room, Colston Hall, Festival and Gower Music Festival with Finnegan Downie Dear and Matthew Fletcher. Solo concert performances include Handel Arias and Duets under Laurence Cummings at King’s Place, Bernstein’s Mass BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall under Kristjan Järvi, Mozart Requiem at St Martin-in-the-Fields under Paul Spicer, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle at Chichester Cathedral under Jonathan Wilcocks, Carmina Burana at the Colston Hall under Howard Williams, Messiah with the Welsh Sinfonia at Llandaff Cathedral and Mahler 8th Symphony at the Colston Hall.
Laurie Ashworth commenced her studies in 2002 at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Caroline Crawshaw and graduated with first class honours in 2006. At the end of her studies she was awarded the RNCM Gold Medal, the college’s highest award for performance.
Awards from The Arts and Humanities Research Council and The Countess of Munster Musical Trust enabled her to complete her Masters in Vocal Performance at the RCM, where she graduated with distinction in 2008. Following an acclaimed performance of Jonathan Dove’s song ‘Full Fathom Five’ Laurie was awarded the Song Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards. Operatic roles have included Serpetta in ‘’La finta giardiniera’ for Ticino Musica in Switzerland and Barbarina in ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ for Opera Project. Laurie’s recordings and broadcasts include the premiere recording of Bob Chilcott’s ‘Requiem’ for Hyperion Records, songs by Malcolm Arnold for remembrance CD ‘Bright Jewels’ and ‘Der Holle Rache’ from Die Zauberflote.
Irish soprano Grace Bermingham is currently studying on the MA Opera Performance course at the Royal Welsh College of Music under the tutelage of Janet Price and Ingrid Surgenor. Having completed her B.A. Degree in English and Music at N.U.I. Maynooth, Grace completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she studied with Virginia Kerr. In 2011 she was awarded the Dublin City Council Bursary for music. A multiple prize winner in competitions throughout Ireland, Grace’s professional experience includes both operatic and concert performances with Resurgam, Degani Ensemble, Wide Open Opera, Good Works Opera, Lyric Opera , Opera Ireland, Friends ofWelsh National Opera and Opera Theatre Company. Her solo concert work includes Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, St. Matthew Passion, Fauré’s Requiem, Brahms Requiem, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass. Opera scene performances include Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), First Lady (Magic Flute), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Gretel (Hansel & Gretel) and La Fortuna (L'incoronazione di Poppea) for the RWCMD and Welsh National Youth Opera. Grace is an alumna of Opera Theatre Company's Young Associate Artist programme and is kindly supported by the Iris O'Brien Foundation, The Arts Council of Ireland and The Leverhulme Trust.
Ruth Betteridge trained at The Royal Northern College of Music achieving a first class honours degree studying with Deborah Rees. This summer Ruth performed as part of the chorus in a production of The Merry Widow with CLASSICfest at the Gilbert & Sullivan International Festival, where she also won the Gilbert & Sullivan International Festival Song Competition (2013). Ruth was winner of the Elsie Thurston Competition (2010) and finalist in the National Junior Kathleen Ferrier Competition (2010). Whilst at the RNCM Ruth has performed the role of the role of Lucy in Paradise Moscow (2013), Emmie in Albert Herring (2011) and Mrs. Ham in Noyes Fludde (RNCM Outreach). She sang in the chorus for the production of La Belle Helene (2009), La Clemenza di Tito (2010), Carmen (2010) and Vanessa (2011). Ruth's opera except roles include Venus in Ascanio in Alba (2012), Mrs Nordstrom in A Little Night Music (2012), Monica in The Medium (2012) and Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief (2013). Ruth has had the privilege of taking part in master classes with Sir Thomas Allen, Malcolm Martineau, Joan Rodgers, Julius Drake and David Owen Norris. She performed at the Manchester MEN Arena with Andrea Bocelli broadcast on BBC television (2011), and for two years running was guest soloist for the Bridgewater Hall Carol Concert, broadcast on Manchester BBC radio (2009) and Premier radio (2010). Ruth was guest soloist for the Edinburgh City Carol Concert at the Mansfield Traquair (2012) and has performed as a soloist with the RNCM Session Orchestra. Ruth's experience on the Musical Theatre stage include the roles of Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors (RNCM 2011), Dorothy in The Wiz (RNCM 2010), Joanna in Sweeney Todd, Maria in West Side Story and Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers. Ruth not only enjoys performing but also loves teaching music to young people. She currently conducts Bolton Music Service Central Training choir and Urmston Grammar choir, she also teaches singing in schools and privately. While working at Camp NEOSA in Ohio America, Ruth led and conducted the choir and from 2009-11 was a vocal coach for the Royal Northern College of Music Youth Perform.
Victoria Farley is a classically trained soprano/actress from Sussex. At the age of 17, Victoria became the youngest singer in the country to be awarded the A.T.C.L. Vocal Recital Diploma, which led her to study at London’s prestigious music conservatoire, Trinity College of Music. Immediately upon graduation, Victoria joined the original 25th Anniversary Tour cast of ‘Les Miserables’ and appeared as a featured ensemble member in the 25th Anniversary concert at the O2 Arena, London.
Other theatre credits: Rosa Budd in ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ West End Revival (Arts Theatre); Kathy Kirby in ‘Kathy Kirby: Icon’ (Etcetera Theatre); Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado (Landor Theatre); European Premiere of ‘Thirteen Days the Musical’ (Arcola Theatre); Wendy in Peter Pan (Basildon Towngate Theatre); Secretary in ‘My Favourite Madman’ (Tristan Bates Theatre), and the title role in Cinderella alongside Joe McElderry (Hayes).
Concerts: Soloist for The Lord Mayor of London’s Summer Banquet (Guildhall, London) and soloist for ‘The Musical World of Charles Dickens’ (National Portrait Gallery), both for the Concordia Foundation.
Florina Ilie is a Romanian soloist who entered the world of musical performance when she was only 7 years old. After 8 years of violin and 10 of choir singing, she joined the National University of Music as a student, improving her remarkable singing abilities during 6 years of study. She debuted on the stage of the National Opera in Bucharest at only 17, in the role of the third child in “Die Zauberflöte” – W.A. Mozart. Since then, she approached complex roles as Pamina from (“Die Zauberflöte” – W.A.Mozart), Donna Elvira (“Don Giovanni” – W.A.Mozart), Prince Charmant (Cendrillon – J.Massenet) or Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi – G.Puccini). In 2011, during an international workshop-contest organized by Escales Lyriques (Paris, France), Florina performed Gounod’s Marguerite. In the summer of 2012, she obtained a study stipendium at the ISA Sommerakademie in Wien, where her performance was highly appreciated. During the final competition of the Wien Sommerakademie, she was awarded the Förderpreis der Jungen Oper Austria. In the autumn of 2012 she got her first major collaboration with the oldest opera theater in France – Opera Theatre Metz for Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote” – first lady role. In the end of this same year she returned to Vienna for a series of shows with Junge Oper Austria – Hänsel und Gretel –Taumännchen and Sandmännchen. In 2013 Florina returned in Romania for her last year of Masters in the National University of Music Bucharest. She also won First Prize and Award of Excellence – “Paul Constantinescu” Contest, Ploiesti, Romania, third Prize “Mihail Jora” Contest, Bucharest, Romania and Second Prize “Victor Giuleanu” Contest, Bucharest, Romania. Following the completion of her Masters degree she was selected to perform as “Donna Elvira” from Don Giovanni and she did several shows in the National Opera Bucharest. November 2013 found her in Wien for yet another show with Junge Oper Austria – Serpetta role in Mozart’s “La Finta Giardiniera”. Florina, currently 25 years old, strives to enrich her talent through her strong personality and determination, entangled with seriousness, conscientiousness and a great passion for music.
Rebecca Moon began her training with the National Youth Music Theatre before continuing her vocal studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she was the recipient of the John Ireland Song Prize and a scholarship to study at the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule, Germany. Roles include Celia/ Iolanthe (G&S Opera Company); 1st Witch/ Dido and Aeneas (Opera North); Lolo/ The Merry Widow (Philharmonia); Kate/ The Yeomen of the Guard (Philharmonia/ RLPO); Musetta/ La Bohème (Go Opera); Cat and Fish/ Just So (Tête à Tête); Maddalena/ Monteverdi’s Flying Circus (Armonico Consort); Marie/ Peter the Great (Opera South); Mary Turner/ Of Thee I Sing & Let ‘Em Eat Cake (Opera North; BBC Radio 3 Live Broadcast; recipient of Sadler’s Wells Dame Hilda Bracket Award for comedy in opera for the role of Mary); Mabel/ The Pirates of Penzance (G&S Opera Company/ Carl Rosa Opera); Papagena/ The Magic Flute (Longborough Festival Opera/ Kentish Opera); Barbarina/ The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Brava); Esmeralda/ The Bartered Bride (Surrey Opera); Clori/ Clori, Tirsi e Fileno, Second Fairy/ The Fairy Queen (RWCMD Opera). Recent solo choral work includes Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music for Lord Harewood’s Memorial, the Schütz Christmas Oratorio and Praetorius Christmas Mass in Cadogan Hall for the Armonico Consort, and Haydn’s Creation for Wadebridge Choral Society.
Alexandra Saunders graduated in 2011 with a First Class Honours in her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire and is continuing her vocal studies with Louise Crane. She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon last year, and has sung in two new plays: Written on the Heart by David Edgar and The Heresy of Love by Helen Edmundson. Later in the year, she returns to the international Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton to sing Fiametta in the G&S Opera Company’s new production of The Gondoliers, directed by Jeff Clarke and John Owen Edwards, as well as appearing in new productions of The Grand Duke and Patience. She will also sing Valencienne in The Merry Widow and Anne Egerman in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music during the ClassicFest in Harrogate in August.
Jennie Witton graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Jennie made her UK début as Ortlinde in Die Walküre at the St. Endillion Festival, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi for Fulham Opera, Anna 1 in Kurt Weil’s Die Sieben Todsünden at the GSMD, ensemble in Opera North’s Carousel and her début as an actress playing Marion Scott A Soldier and a Maker at the Barbican. Other performances include Page in Chabrier’s Le Roi Malgré Lui for Wexford Festival Opera, understudied the soprano solo in the UK tour of ‘One Night in Vienna’ with the Johann Strauss Orchestra for Raymond Gubbay Ltd, sang Fleury in La Rondine for Opera di Peroni and also joined Glyndebourne Festival Opera for Rameu’s Hippolyte et Aricie. Jennie appears regularly on the oratorio and concert platform both as a soloist and as a consort singer. As a soloist, oratorios include Messiah (Handel), Gloria (Vivaldi), Requiem (Brahms), The Armed Man (Jenkins), Requiem (Mozart), Samson (Handel), St John’s Passion (Bach) An Eternal Light (Goodall) and Requiem (Fauré) amongst others. One of her most relished experiences, she sung soprano chorus in a fully staged production of Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the National Theatre directed by Sir Jonathan Miller with the Southbank Sinfonia.
Fleur de Bray A recipient of the Baroness De Turkheim Vocal Scholarship and the Eva Turner Award for sopranos, Fleur completed a Bachelor of Music Degree and Master of Music Postgraduate Degree in Opera Composition at Cardiff University, where she was awarded the David Lloyd Vocal Scholarship and the Sir Geraint Evans Prize. Operatic roles include: Swan in Jonathan Dove’s Swanhunter for Opera North; Sandman and Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel for the Mananan Opera Festival; Frasquita in Carmen for Clonter Opera; Queen Nitocris in Handel’s Belshazzar and Belinda in Dido and Aeneas with the Manchester Camerata; Zerlina in Don Giovanni for Longborough Festival Opera; Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte for Co-Opera and Merry Opera; Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor for Opera Lyrica, and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Mimi in La Boheme, and Josephine in HMS Pinafore for Opera South East. Fleur has also sung throughout Europe as a concert soloist and has a great passion for performing contemporary opera and new vocal works. She is currently studying with Dennis O’Neill CBE at The Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff and will be singing the role of Governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw as part of the Christine Collins Young Artists Scheme 2014 at Opera Holland Park.
Tanya Cooling (Concordia Mentee 2011-12) New Zealand soprano, Tanya Cooling has performed internationally in opera, chamber music, film and sound design. She holds a Master of Music and a Master of Music Performance (Guildhall Artist) both with Distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was the first singer to become a Guildhall Artist Fellow in 2008/09 since the award’s conception. Tanya was a 2007 Young Songmaker and that same year made her debut at the Barbican Centre with the London Symphony Orchestra. Tanya has given performances at Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall with conductor John Wilson, and the Palau de la Musica, Valencia. She regularly gave recitals in London and made many Festival appearances including the City of London Festival, the Oxford Lieder Festival and international Festivals in Spain and Italy. Her operatic work in Europe included the English National Opera, the British Youth Opera and performances in Italy and Germany including a DVD production of Erwin und Elmire broadcast on German National Television stations. Tanya made her film debut and recorded arias for the BBC and Paramount production of “The Duchess” released in November 2008 and recorded works by Philip Cashian with the London Schubert Players in 2011.
Laura Mitchell studied at the Royal College of Music, the Benjamin Britten International Opera School, and the National Opera Studio 2007/8, where she won the Kathleen Ferrier Song Prize and the Lies Askonas Prize. Roles include Countess Almaviva/Le Nozze di Figaro and Elisa/Tolomeo for the BBIOS; Aldimira/Erismena, First Witch/Dido and Aeneas and Ninfa and Proserpina (cover)/Orfeo for the ETO; Lidka (cover)/Two Widows by Smetana at the Scottish Opera, and most recently Kristina/The Makropulos Case for the ENO. Concert work includes Tippett’s Spirituals and Rutter’s Requiem at St. John’s Smith Square; Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 with the Emerald Ensemble at Bristol Cathedral; Bach’s B Minor Mass at St. John’s Smith Square; Haydn’s Nelson Mass with Sir David Willcocks and Handel’s Messiah at Kings College Cambridge with Stephen Cleobury; Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate with the London Pro Arte Orchestra in Denmark, and Strauss’ Four Last Songs at the Hatfield Auditorium conducted by Peter Stark. Laura gratefully receives support from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust from their Funding and Recital Scheme, the Concordia Foundation from the Barthel Prize, the Wingate Scholarship, the Zetland Foundation and the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Anna Patalong 2014 Second Prize Winner of the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition at the Liceu‚ Barcelona and 2013 Third Prize Winner in the Moniuszko International Vocal Competition‚ Anna Patalong trained at GSMD during which time she received numerous awards including the Maggie Teyte and Miriam Licette Prizes and was a finalist at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards. She is a proud Samling Scholar. Operatic roles include Countess Ceprano/Rigoletto and the Voice of the Dawn/La Rondine for Opera Holland Park; Musetta/La Boheme, Bianca and Gabriella/La Rondine and Emmie/Albert Herring for the British Youth Opera, and Susanna/Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Brava, the title role in Dido and Aeneas, Papagena/The Magic Flute, Ilia/Idomeneo, Nedda/Pagliacci, and Asteria/ Tamerlano for GSMD Opera Scenes. At GSMD, Anna sang the title role in Donizetti’s Rita and Almeida’s La Spinalba. Anna has performed at many venues across the UK including the Barbican, at the Royal Albert Hall and St. John’s Smith Square. Recital engagements abroad have featured festivals in Italy and Tel Aviv. Anna has also appeared on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, Hear and Now, with a live broadcast of George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children from the Barbican, as well as a special operatic broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Elizabeth (Beth) Desbruslais was award a fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music, which began in January 2015. A graduate of the Guildhall Schools award winning Opera Course and winner of their prestigious Silk Street Award for an outstanding opera singer, she continues her studies with Susan Waters. She is extremely grateful to be sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, The Guildhall School Trust, The Kathleen Trust and Serena Fenwick. She is the proud recipient of The Association of English Singers & Speakers Courtney Kenny Award 2012. Roles include: Title Role understudy The Adventures of Pinocchio Jonathan Dove (GSMD); Edmondo, il Paggio Francesca di Foix Donizetti (GSMD); Mezzo Actor understudy A Night at the Chinese Opera Judith Weir (British Youth Opera); Sandman & Hansel understudy Hansel and Gretel Humperdink (Clonter Opera); Mrs Soames understudy Our Town Rorem (GSMD); Oberon understudy A Midsummer Night's Dream Britten (Barbican Theatre); Chorus Oresteia Xenakis (ROH Linbury Studios). As a keen recitalist and concert artist, Beth has performed across the globe including: Alto Soloist Stabat Mater Arvo Part (BBC radio 3, total immersions series); Guest Artist The Commonwealth Resounds: Heads of Government Gala Concert (Trinidad); Chorus L'enfant du Christ (Queen Elizabeth Hall); Alto Solo St Matthew Passion Bach (London Dockland Singers & various); Alto solo Requiem Duruffle (LDS); Alto solo Requiem Mozart (Brentwood Cathedral); Alto Soloist Stabat Mater Pergolesi (St Lawrence's Church, Sidcup); Frauenliebe und Leben (Cycles in Tandem with Graham Johnson); Alto Solo Der Staat Adressen (GSMD); Recital The Purcell soloist's prize(The Wigmore Hall); Recital (The Linbury Studios, ROH). She was a finalist in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards and the Susan Longfield Award and is a former pupil of the Purcell School of Music and a former member of the National Youth Music Theatre.
Marta Fontanals Simmons Described as possessing “real star quality” and giving a “a powerhouse performance that’s a vocal and physical tour de force”, Marta has completed both postgraduate and Opera Course training at GSMD under the tuition of Marilyn Rees. She is supported by the Gwen Catley Scholarship, the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and a Sybil Tutton Award. Marta was a Ferrier Competition finalist in 2014, was awarded first prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2011, performing at Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’. Her operatic experience includes Pinocchio in Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, Paggio Francesca di Foix Donizetti and Kate Julian Owen Wingrave at GSMD as well as Ruggiero in Agostino Steffani’s Orlando Generoso(The Barber Opera) Drummer The Emperor of Atlantis Viktor Ullmann (Grimeborn Festival) Hansel Hansel and Gretel (Clonter Opera) Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly (Grange Park Opera).This year, Marta will be joining Garsington Opera playing Woodpecker and covering Fox The Cunning Little Vixen and playing Mercedes and covering Carmen Carmen for Mid Wales Opera. Solo concert performances include Strauss Deutsche Motette at St John’s Smith Square, recitals at St Martin-in-the-Fields and Christchurch Spitalfields.
Charlotte King was born in London and completed her BMus (Hons) and MMus in Performance at Goldsmiths College, University of London, before continuing her studies on the Guildhall Artist Masters at the Guidhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD). At Goldsmiths, Charlotte sang roles with the resident opera company including Third Lady (The Magic Flute), the title role in Carmen, Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Mrs. Sedley (Peter Grimes) and Maddelena (Rigoletto). Charlotte sang with the Goldsmiths Sinfonia as a soloist on several occasions in works including Elgar Sea Pictures, Vaughan-Williams Serenade to Music and the UK premiere of Korngold’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At GSMD, Charlotte performed the roles of Suzuki (Madame Butterfly), the title role in Carmen, Isabella (L’italiana in Algeri), Poppet (Paul Bunyan) and Zenobia (Radamisto) for Studio Scenes and was a member of the chorus for the Massenet and Martinu opera triple bill in 2012. Charlotte has sung roles for Hampstead Garden Opera, the St. Endellion Festival, Riverside Opera, British Youth Opera and as a guest artist for P&O Music Festivals at Sea. In 2012 and 2013, Charlotte sang as a member of the chorus for Grange Park Opera and in 2014 will appear in the role of Hen, cover Forester’s Wife and Owl and as a member of the chorus for Garsington Opera. Charlotte continues to study with John Llewllyn Evans.
Rachael Maura obtained her BMus (Hons) from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. She also achieved the Guildhall Artist Graduate Certificate from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, studying with David Pollard. She has now been accepted on to the prestigious Morley College Opera School. During her time at RNCM, she has performed in the chorus of operas including Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Bizet’s Carmen. She performed the character of Orsini in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, ‘Second Lady’ in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Andronico in Handel’s Tamerlano in the annual opera scenes. Rachael also had the privilege to sing in classes taken by Ryland Davies, Kate Flowers, David Owen Norris and Alastair Hume of The King’s Singers. She played the role of Buttercup in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S Pinafore with Manchester University’s G&S Society and was also a soloist in Handel’s Messiah. Since being in London she has performed in a recital series at the Royal Academy of Music and the Elgar Society. She has performed in the chorus of the Guildhall School’s opera, Donizetti’s Francesca di Foix and has performed the role of Madame de la Haltiere in Massenet’s Cendrillon in the annual opera scenes. Rachael also sang in master-classes taken by Emma Kirkby and Sarah Walker. Back home, Rachael was also placed first in the Opera Aria section of the Carrickfergus Festival winning the prestigious Rose Bowl prize and was also a finalist in the Northern Ireland Young Musician of Year in 2009.
Lucinda Stuart Grant A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Lucinda studied on the Opera course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Her operatic roles include Suor Zelatrice, Suor Angelica for Giornata Opera, Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Co-Opera, Cretan Woman, Idomeneo, for the Edinburgh Festival/ Radio 3, Cherubino (Shadow) Le Nozze di Figaro for Scottish Opera, Stewardess, Flight for British Youth Opera and Irene, Theodora, for the High Wycombe Festival. She was a member of the chorus for Wexford Festival Opera & Garsington Opera in 2013 and is looking forward to singing chorus in Handel’s Ariodante and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for Festival d’Aix-en-Provence this Summer. During her studies roles included Hänsel, Hänsel und Gretel, Nancy, Albert Herring, Madelaine, Kaspar Hauser and Hélène Bezukhova, War and Peace. She has performed with various choral societies throughout the UK and her repertoire includes Magnificat (Bach), Petite Messe Solennelle (Rossini), Requiem (Mozart & Verdi) A Child of our Time (Tippett), Judas Maccabaeus (Handel) and Messiah (Handel). Future engagements include Second Lady, The Magic Flute for Young Opera Venture and Annina, La Traviata for Opera South.
Born in Denmark, Lise Christensen first studied History before embarking on singing at The Royal Danish Academy of Music and at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD). Here she won the Schubert Prize, The Crompton Lieder Award and The Philhamonia Chorus’ Prize. She completed her studies at The National Opera Studio in 2004, supported by The Friends of Covent Garden, a Jean Dunlop Bursary and the Sybil Tutton Charitable Trust. Lise is also a Samling Scholar. Professional engagements include Gertrude/Hansel und Gretel for Iford Arts, Hyppolyta/A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Marcellina/Le Nozze di Figaro for the ETO, Prince Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus for the London Lyric Opera, and Rosanna in Scottish Opera’s FIVE:15 in 2008. Other roles include Carmen for Mid Wales Opera, Dorabella for GSMD, the Little Prince for BBC Wales Meg Page, Falstaff for Stanley Hall Opera and Alisa/Lucia di Lammermoor for New Sussex Opera. As an oratorio and concert soloist, Lise’s performances include Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for Concordia Foundation under John Wilson, Beethoven’s Choral Symphony with the Manchester Camarata at the Bridgewater Hall, Verdi’s Requiem in Truro Cathedral, Rossini’s Stabat Mater in the Brangwyn Hall, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the Philharmonic Chorus, Verdi Requiem in Truro Cathedral and at London Imperial College, Mozart Requiem in Peterborough Cathedral and C minor Mass in Copenhagen and Bach St. John Passion in The Pittville Pump Room.
Anna Huntley studied at the Royal Academy of Music and is a graduate of the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. Prizes and awards include an Independent Opera Fellowship in 2009, the Michael Oliver Prize 2009, the Douglas Craig Opera Bursary 2009, the Hampshire Singing Prize, the Oxford Recital Award and the Musicians Benevolent Fund Education Award. Performances include Dido/Sorceress (cover) in After Dido, based on Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Hermia/A Midsummer Night’s Dream for ETO; Dorabella/Cosi fan tutte for the English Chamber Opera; Ramiro/La Finta Giardiniera, Angelina/Cenerentola and Mignon for the BBIOS; Cherubino/Le Nozze di Figaro at the Dartington International Summer School; Isabella/L’italiana in Algeri for the XXIV Festival Internazionale de Musica Cinque Terre; Cis/Albert Herring for the British Youth Opera, and Cherubino/Le Nozze di Figaro, Sesto/Guilio Cesare and Stewardess/Dove’s Flight at the RAM. Anna is a regular oratorio soloist with performances including Bach’s B minor Mass with Trevor Pinnock, Handel’s The Choice of Hercules with Daniel Taylor and Laurence Cummings, and Haydn’s St Nicholas Mass at the King’s Lynn Festival with the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Concert work includes Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Colne Philharmonic Orchestra, arias and duets by Handel with Laurence Cummings at the El Escorial Festival in Madrid, and recitals at St. Martin in the Fields, Handel House and the Winchester Festival. Anna is a Samling Foundation Scholar and a winner of the Concordia Foundation Founder’s Prize for 2013.