Nicky Spence (Concordia Ambassador) Hailed recently by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction’, Nicky Spence is fast emerging as one of ‘our finest young singers’. Nicky is currently a Harewood Artist at the ENO. Following his training at the Scottish Youth Theatre and the NYMT, Nicky graduated from the GSMD and went on to study at the National Opera Studio. A former Britten-Pears Young Artist, Georg Solti and Samling Scholar, Nicky’s awards also include the National Bruce Millar Opera Prize, the Kathleen Ferrier Young Singers Award, the Concordia Barthel Prize, the Sybil Tutton Award, a Young Classical Performer of the Year nomination at the Classical Brit Awards and inclusion in the Gold Medal Final at GSMD. Operatic roles include Soldier in Jonathan Dove’s I giardini della storia for the Batignano Opera Festival, Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Garsington Opera, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd for Shawford Mill, and Count Zedlau Wiener Blut and Belmonte Die Entfhürung aus dem Serail for the English Touring Opera. Future roles includeOsmin/La rencontre imprévue, The Guide/The King goes Forth to France, Ferrando/Cosí fan tutte, and concerts at Leeds Lieder Festival, the National Portrait Gallery and Hampton Court. He sang Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with the British Youth Opera in 2009. More recent roles include McHeath/Beggars Opera, Jaquino/Fidelio at Opera Holland Park, and Lampwick/The Adventures of Pinnochio and Quint/Turn of the Screw for Opera North. Nicky made his debut at the ENO as Brian in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, a commission and co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Christopher Diffey was born in Melbourne and in 2008 he completed his studies on the Royal Academy of Music Opera Course. Operatic roles include Fenton/Falstaff at the Longborough Festival; Talus/Icarus for Tête à Tête; Mercury/Orpheus in the Underworld at the Scottish Opera; Count Almaviva/The Barber of Seville for Opera Brava, Garden Opera and DISS; Paris/Troy Boy for the Merry Opera Company; Borsa/Rigoletto for Bury Court Opera; Ramiro/Cinderella and Rodolfo/La Bohème for OperaUpClose; Alfredo/La Traviata for Garden Opera; Second Priest/The Magic Flute for Opera Holland Park; Cyril/Princess Ida and Fairfax/Yeoman of the Guard for the Buxton International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival; Lensky/Eugene Onegin for Opera By Definition; Mercurio/Il Medo for Ensemble Serse, and Pane/La Calisto and Dardanus/Dardanus for the RAO. Concerts include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Manchester Camerata, Mozart’s Requiem with the Brandenburg Sinfonia, Bach’s Mass in A Major with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Britten’s St Nicholas. In 2012 his performances included reprising Alfredo for Garden Opera and he created the role of Karl in the new crime thriller opera, The Face by Christopher Bowers-Broadbent and Campaspe Lloyd-Jacobs at London’s Gray’s Inn. In 2013, Christopher covered the role of Count Ory for Opera South and Alfredo for Opera UK, a role he performed for them in November of 2012.
Hungarian tenor Gyula Rab is currently studying at the Royal College of Music International Opera School as a Sir Roger and Lady Carr Soirée d’Or Scholar with Dinah Harris. He is also generously supported by The Sussex Opera and Ballet Society, The Josephine Baker Trust and The William Gibbs Educational Trust. Gyula received a first class Master of Music from the Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest) in 2012 where he studied with Éva Marton and was the winner of the Le Meridien Prize and the UNELMA-Dream Scholarship from the Ari S Kupsus Salon Concert Society. He also studied in Florence, Italy as an ERASMUS Scholar and at the Birmingham Conservatoire as a Joseph Weingarten Scholar. Gyula was a member of the Glyndebourne Opera Festival Chorus during 2013 and also participated in a New York tour with the company in 2014. Operatic experiences include Gonzalve in Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole (RCMIOS), Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (Birmingham Conservatoire), the title role in La Clemenza di Tito, Idamante in Idomeneo and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte by Mozart, Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Fox from Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Liszt Academy of Music). Gyula’s notable concert performances incude the world premiere of The Diary of the Butcher song cycle composed by Gyula Fekete, Head of Composition at the Liszt Academy of Music, the tenor solo of Mozart’s Requiem at the Palace of Arts in Budapest, recitals at the Ari S Kupsus Salon Concert Society and singing at the Independence Day Concert at the Finnish Embassy in Budapest.
Austrian-Australian tenor Gerard Schneider studies voice with Yvonne Kenny at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a member of the highly regarded Opera course. Gerard’s recent engagements include repertoire at the State Opera of South Australia, Co-Opera, the West Australian Opera, Clonter Opera, and the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in roles including Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Ferrando in Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Bardolfo in Verdi's Falstaff, Don Riccardo in Verdi's Ernani, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, The Defendant in Trial by Jury, and as both Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro in Wiesbaden, Germany and the Bregenz Festspielhaus, Austria. In his time at the Guildhall, Gerard has sung the title role in Debussy's L'Enfant Prodigue, Jacopo in Verdi's I due Foscari, Ramon in Massenet's La Navarraise, and both General Sir Philip Wingrave and the Narrator in Britten's Owen Wingrave. This year, Gerard sang the title role in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana; a role he will reprise in July at Roman Amphitheatre in Fiesole, Italy. Gerard will make his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in May singing as a featured soloist in extracts from Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Sir Mark Elder. In June, Gerard will sing the Consigliere in Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista before joining the Young Artist Program at the Salzburger Festspiele and appearing as Ruiz alongside Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, and Francesco Meli in Verdi's Il Trovatore. Gerard’s past awards include the Phoebe Patrick Award, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Prize, and the Australian Opera Auditions Committee Prize at the 2011 Australian Singing Competition. Gerard was a finalist in the 2014 Royal Over-seas League Singing Competition and he was the recipient of the Tait Memorial Trust Scholarship at the 2014 Overseas Award. Gerard is supported by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, the Australian Music Foundation and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.
Born in Kenya and having lived all over the world (due to family’s work in the diplomatic corps), Greek tenor Alexandros Tsilogiannis started his music training on the piano at the age of 14. He accidentally fell into singing when his piano teacher enrolled him in the chorus after overhearing him sing; something he initially was hesitant to but then later became very grateful of. Soon after, Alex started auditioning for solo’s within the choir and eventually to larger competitions that propelled him to the front of the stage, where he feels right at home. Before Alex arrived to finish his Masters at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, he wanted to become a pilot, which is why he completed his undergraduate studies in Florida at Jacksonville University, where he trained as a commercial pilot (Aviation Management and Flight operations) and completed his B.A in Music. He chose to follow his talents and passion in Music which brought him back to Europe where he completed his Masters and the Opera Course at the Guildhall thanks to a scholarship from The Gordon Foundation and the GSMD. Future plans for 2014 include playing as Pinkerton with Regent’s Opera, performing with Unexpected Opera, singing in concert around Europe and working with his Three Tenors group, Tenorissimi around the UK. Living in different countries and following different schools resulted in acquiring several languages to a varied degree of competence (English, French, Greek, Italian and German). Off the stage, Alex has many interests and hobbies. He loves photography, scuba diving, athletics and staying up to date in the exciting world of technology and space exploration.
James Cleverton (Concordia Ambassador) In 2009, James made his English National Opera debut as Oppenheimer in Dr Atomic by John Adams, and in October 2010, sang Grigorio in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette in his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. James studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Zurich Opera’s International Opera Studio. Awards include the Texaco Award for Opera, the Veitch Ibier Award for Oratorio and a Susan Chilcott Scholarship. James made his international opera debut as Escamillo in Carmen for the Spier Opera Festival in South Africa and as Silvio in Pagliacci in Hanoi for the Concordia Foundation in 2005. He has performed Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Haydn’s Creation, Verdi’s Requiem in Hanoi, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Mendelssohn’s Paulus, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenen Gesellen with the Swiss Chamber Orchestra. James is an International Ambassador for the Concordia Foundation and travelled with them to Havana, Cuba in 2009 for concerts and workshops as part of their International Educational Exchange programme and Young Audiences Programme.
Njabulo Madlala (Concordia Ambassador) was first prize winner at the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Competition. South African born, from Inanda Township in Durban, he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, gaining his Bachelor of Music with Honours and Master’s Degree at the Post-graduate Opera Course there. At the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, he studied with tenor Denis O’Neill. He has been supported by the Oppeheimer Memorial Trust, the South African National Arts Council, the Sir Peter Moores Foundation, the Countess of Munster Trust and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. Njabulo Madlala is a Britten Pears Young Artist, a Samling Foundation Scholar, and a prize winner of the Young Kathleen Ferrier Bursary and the Kenneth Loveland Gift Prize. He recently sang Mel in Tippet’s Knot Garden for the Montepulciano Festival, broadcast live by Radio Italy, and played the role of the Disciple and an Angel in The Mysteries filmed by the BBC. Njabulo has recently sung in Bird.
Timothy Connor was born in Northern Ireland and studied at TCM and the GSMD with John Evans. His operatic roles include Hel Helson, Paul Bunyan, Title Role Le Nozze di Figaro, Vicar Albert Herring, Maurrant Street Scene, Gaoler and Sacristan Tosca. He made his Barbican debut in Iain Burnside’s A Soldier and Maker and recently appeared with the Orion Orchestra at Cadogan Hall. Timothy sang with Graham Johnson in a Recital of ‘Winterreise’ as part of his Series ‘Cycles in Tandem’ at the Guildhall School. Last year, as a Christine Collin’s Young Artist, he made his Opera Holland Park solo stage debut in a special production of Gianni Schicchi and played Leporello in Don Giovanni with MidWales Opera Young Artists. After his recent move to Berlin, Timothy sang in ‘MauerKlänge’ with Kiez Oper as part of the Berlin-Leuctet Festival. He is grateful for the generous support from Serena Fenwick, John and Carol Wates, the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners, the Kathleen Trust and the Concordia Foundation. Timothy received the MBF Postgraduate Performance Award for 2012/13. He joins the Opera School at the RCM in September 2014 where he plays Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
Ricardo Panela, baritone, born in Aveiro, Portugal, has distinguished himself for his interpretation of the florid baritone Bel Canto roles, deemed ‘beguilingly sonorous’, ‘a technical tour-de-force’ and ‘mesmerising’ by different music publications. Currently focusing on the main Lyric Baritone roles from the Classical Period to Verismo, he debuted at the Teatro San Carlo in Lisbon, in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites, his performance singled out in the press for ‘a beautiful voice and remarkable technical and expressive qualities’. Previous career highlights have included the London premieres of Saverio Mercadante’s Don Chisciotte at Leighton House Museum and of Federico Ruiz’s Los Martirios de Colón at the Southbank Centre. Equally at home in Opera, Oratorio and Recital, Ricardo has also performed, amongst others, for Wexford Festival Opera, Longborough Festival Opera and Casa da Música - Porto. Ricardo is also a two-time bursary recipient of The International Opera Awards Foundation, who have generously supported him for the last two years.Having started his musical studies with Brazilian soprano Juracyara Baptista, Ricardo then continued studying at the University of Aveiro with portuguese bass-baritone António Salgado, where he achieved a BMus in Vocal Performance and Teaching with Distinction, before moving to London to work with Laura Sarti at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he completed his MMus in Performance. He currently studies with Dennis O’Neill and sang in masterclasses with artists such as Montserrat Caballé, Teresa Berganza, Della Jones or Nelly Miricioiu. Ricardo gave his first performance for the Concordia Foundation at St James's Church Piccadilly in August 2016, and further engagements include a return to Wexford Festival Opera and also his first Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Madeira’s Classical Orchestra.
John Savournin, Sheffield born, has fast developed a reputation as singer with considerable state artistry with a voice to match, alongside a developing directing career. In 2016/17, roles will include Colline, La Boheme, for Opera Holland Park and Alidoro, La Cenerentola, for Opera North. He will direct The Magic Flute, for CCO at Iford Arts, The Yeomen of the Guard for the National G&S Opera Company, and his third project for the Concordia Foundation’s Young Audiences’ Project. Recent opera and musical theatre roles include 2nd Gunmen Kiss me, Kate, Schaunard La boheme and Peter Quince A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all for Opera North, Alidoro La Cenerentola for Scottish Opera, The Immigration Officer Flight for Opera Holland Park, Sir Despard Ruddigore Charles Court Opera, Eight Songs for a Mad King for the Land’s End Ensemble, Calgary, Canada. For BYO, roles included Dulcamara, L’elisir d’amore. He recently sang the Old Man The Boy who lived down the Lane by Diana Soh at the Performers’ Voice Symposium in Singapore. Recent concert appearances included Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room recitals as a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and a Park Lane Group Young Artist. In the 2015 season he directed The Gondoliers, The Mikado and HMS Pinafore for NGSOC, Pirates for Opera Holland Park’s Inspire Programme, Tosca for Musique Cordiale Festival in France, where he directed Il Barbiere di Siviglia last season. He is the Artistic Director of Charles Court Opera, producing opera and musical theatre in London for 10 years, alongside their annual ‘Boutique Pantos’.
Gerard Schneider, Austrian-Australian tenor, studies voice with Yvonne Kenny at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a member of the highly regarded Opera course. Gerard’s recent engagements include repertoire at the State Opera of South Australia, Co-Opera, the West Australian Opera, Clonter Opera, and the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in roles including Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Ferrando in Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Bardolfo in Verdi's Falstaff, Don Riccardo in Verdi's Ernani, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, The Defendant in Trial by Jury, and as both Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro in Wiesbaden, Germany and the Bregenz Festspielhaus, Austria. In his time at the Guildhall, Gerard has sung the title role in Debussy's L'Enfant Prodigue, Jacopo in Verdi's I due Foscari, Ramon in Massenet's La Navarraise, and both General Sir Philip Wingrave and the Narrator in Britten's Owen Wingrave. This year, Gerard sang the title role in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana; a role he will reprise in July at Roman Amphitheatre in Fiesole, Italy. Gerard will make his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in May singing as a featured soloist in extracts from Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Sir Mark Elder. In June, Gerard will sing the Consigliere in Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista before joining the Young Artist Program at the Salzburger Festspiele and appearing as Ruiz alongside Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, and Francesco Meli in Verdi's Il Trovatore. Gerard’s past awards include the Phoebe Patrick Award, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Prize, and the Australian Opera Auditions Committee Prize at the 2011 Australian Singing Competition. Gerard was a finalist in the 2014 Royal Over-seas League Singing Competition and he was the recipient of the Tait Memorial Trust Scholarship at the 2014 Overseas Award. Gerard is supported by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, the Australian Music Foundation and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.