Biographies

Anush Hovhannisyan

Soprano Anush Hovhannisyan [pron: anoosh hovanisian] is praised as “hypnotically striking” (The Arts Desk), “glamorous, excitingly temperamental” (The Sunday Times), her voice “rich and vibrant, smoky and spiritual” (Music OMH) and “flame-toned” (Gromophone Magazine).

Anush is the winner of First and Public Prizes, Deutsche Grammophon and Royal Danish Opera special prizes at the Stella Maris competition 2016, and of the Concours Suisse Ernst Haefliger 2014 Swiss international competition and was a finalist at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017. As a Jette Parker Young Artist she performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 2013-2015, and has worked under the direction of renowned conductors such as Jonathan Santagada, Renato Balsadonna, Semyon Bychkov, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Nicola Luisotti, Daniel Oren, Mark Wigglesworth, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Sir Antonio Pappano.

Her performances, except of the variety of roles on the ROH, have also included Lucilla (La scala di seta) and Princess (El Gato con Botas) at the Linbury Studio Theatre, the soprano solos in Gloria for the Royal Ballet and Messa di Requiem for the ROH L&P tour to France, Sitâ (Le Roi de Lahore) for Chelsea Opera Group, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) at the Teatro Verdi di Trieste, Anitra (Peer Gynt) with Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and Lady in Waiting (Macbeth) for the Royal Opera’s 2015 tour to Japan. Her recordings include songs by Scriabin with Valentina Lisitsa in Complete Piano Anthology of Scriabin by DECCA and songs by Glinka with Malcolm Martineau in Decades: A Century of Song Vol 2 by VIVAT.

Anush studied singing at the Yerevan State Conservatory in Armenia and at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is a Samling Artist, holder of Bayreuth Scholarship, Ian Smith of Stornoway Opera Prize and Clonter Opera Prize, and a Georg Solti Foundation scholar.

Most recent and upcoming performances include the Opera Gala the Al Bustan Festival, the title role in Maria Stuarda at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, Verdi Messa di Requiem at Glasgow City Halls, Shostakovich Symphony No. 14 with Southbank Sinfonia, Emma (Khovanshchina) at BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall in London, Adina (L’elisir d’amore) at New Generation Festival in Florence, Violetta Valery (La traviata) for Scottish Opera, Amaltea (Mose in Egitto) in Cadogan Hall and back to debut as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) for the New Generation Festival in Florence.

Christopher Luscombe

Christopher Luscombe read English at Cambridge. He began his career as an actor, spending seven years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and going on to appear at the National Theatre, the Old Vic and in the West End. Whilst at Stratford-upon-Avon, he devised and directed The Shakespeare Revue with Malcolm McKee, and this transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in London. His subsequent productions at Stratford as director include Twelfth NightLove’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, the last two transferring to Chichester Festival Theatre and then to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. He is an Associate Artist of the RSC.

His other directing credits in London include Star Quality and The Madness of George III (Apollo); Home and Beauty (Lyric); Fascinating Aïda – One Last Flutter (Harold Pinter – Olivier Award nomination for Best Entertainment); The Comedy of Errors and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe); Nell Gwynn (Shakespeare’s Globe and Apollo – Olivier Award for Best New Comedy); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park); Enjoy (Gielgud); Alphabetical Order (Hampstead); When We Are Married (Garrick – Olivier Award nomination for Best Revival); Travels With My Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Spamalot (Playhouse).

Further credits include Masterpieces (Birmingham Rep); Little Shop of Horrors and The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Things We Do for Love (Harrogate); Candida(Oxford Stage Company); The Likes of Us (Sydmonton); Arms and the Man (Salisbury); A Small Family Business (Watford); Hobson’s Choice (Sheffield); Hay Fever (Minneapolis);Henry V (Chicago); While The Sun Shines (Bath); Candide (Grange Festival) and tours of The Importance of Being Earnest, Tell Me on a Sunday, The Lady in the Van, Lord Arthur Savile’s CrimeSingle SpiesElaine Paige in Concert, Admission: One Shilling, Dandy DickBlue/Orange and The Nightingales. He has staged several private entertainments for the Royal Family, often marking particular anniversaries. These have included the 50th Anniversary of the Coronation at St. James’s Palace, the Queen’s 90th birthday at Windsor Castle and the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace.

His production of The Rocky Horror Show has toured for the last thirteen years. It has completed three seasons in the West End, three Australian tours and also been broadcast in cinemas worldwide. It is touring the UK throughout 2019. He is currently directing The Winter’s Tale for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and this will be followed by Falstaff at the Grange Festival.

Danielle de Niese

Renowned soprano Danielle de Niese was the youngest member to enter the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist’s Program at 19. Her career has included countless starring roles on the opera stages of Paris, London, Naples, Madrid, ZurichBerlin, San Francisco, Tokyo, Sydney and beyond. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and has recorded four studio albums. Her accolades include New Artist of the Year at the 2008 ECHO Awards for her debut solo album Handel Arias, the Orphee D’Or from the Academie Du Disque Lyrique, and a 2009 Classical Brit Award nomination. More recently, she appeared in ITV’s Popstar to Operastar and was the subject of her own BBC4 documentary, Diva Diaries.

For Glyndebourne her roles have been Cleopatra/Giulio Cesare, Poppea/L’incoronazione di Poppea, Adina/L’elisir d’amore, Norina/Don Pasquale. Recent engagements elsewhere have included Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro; Despina/Cosi fan tutte; Ariel/The Enchanted Island (Metropolitan Opera, New York); Title role/Partenope (San Francisco Opera); Anne Truelove/The Rake’s Progress (Teatro Regio) ; Calisto/La Calisto (Bayerische Staatsoper) ; Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro (Staatsoper Hamburg) ; Concerts in Ireland, Paris and St Petersburg. Forthcoming engagements include BBC Proms ; Concerts in Madrid and Los Angeles ; Roxanne Coss/Bel Canto, world premier (Lyric Opera of Chicago).

She is married to Gus Christie, Executive Chairman of Glyndebourne.

Harry Sever

Harry Sever is a conductor with a wide-ranging repertoire and a fluency in both operatic and orchestral style. He has conducted in major venues throughout the UK and worldwide in opera, ballet, and concert repertoire. Recent and upcoming engagements include La Traviata (Opera Holland Park Young Artists), Cendrillon (Bampton Classical Opera), The Nutcracker (Peter Schaufuss Balletten), as well as projects with The Royal Opera Academy, Copenhagen and Birmingham Conservatoire. As an assistant conductor, Harry has worked with Den Jyske Opera (Danish National Opera), the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at the Grange Festival, and the Britten Sinfonia at Sadler’s Wells.

As a vocal coach and repetiteur, Harry has worked with singers from the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and the National Opera Studio, in masterclasses with Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and Toby Spence, and in workshops with the Southbank Sinfonia and CHROMA. Harry is passionate about community music-making, and has worked with the Choir of London and choirs from across the West Bank as part of the Palestine Choral Festival.

Harry studied at the Queen’s College, Oxford and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

He Wu

He Wu was a child star in China. She was selected as a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio London, where she was supported by the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden). She studied with full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Royal College of Music International Opera School. She was selected as a Samling Scholar. She won the Lies Askonas Singing Competition 2015 (UK), and the Voice of China European Competition 2015. She was also a finalist in the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Competition, and the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition.

He Wu’s opera engagements include the role of Receptionist in the world première of Tansy Davies’ ‘Between Worlds’ for English National Opera directed by Deborah Warner; Diana in ‘Giove in Argo’ at the London Handel Festival directed by Laurence Cummings; Susanna in ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ at the Opera North Opera House; and Amor in ‘Orfeo ed Eurydice’ at the Longborough Festival Opera. At the Royal College of Music Britten Theatre, she

sang as Königen der Nacht in ‘Die Zauberflöte’; Marie in ‘La Fille du Régiment’; and Princesse & Le Feu in ‘L’enfant et les sortilèges’.

On the concert platform she has sung Mahler Symphony No 2 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Symphony No.9 with the Wiener Symphoniker, Vivaldi Gloria and Mozart Exsultate Jubilate with the Amersham Festival Orchestra, Beethoven Mass in C and Choral Fantasy at St John’s Smith Square, and Classical Morning concert at Royal Albert Hall.

Wu He gave recitals in the London Symphony Orchestra Schubert Series at the Barbican Centre, and Lieder Recital at the Wigmore Hall. She also gave recitals in London, Barcelona, Munich, Berlin, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, and Abu Dhabi.

She has been invited as guest soloist at the International Opera Awards 2015, International Kammeroper Rheinsberg Schloss Opera Festival, and was chosen to sing before the First Lady of China, Madam Peng, on her visit to the UK in 2015.

John Copley

John Copley has directed opera in most of the world’s major opera houses.  He was Resident Director at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where he worked on many new productions with the world’s greatest conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Sir Colin Davis, Carlos Kleiber, Sir John Pritchard and many other distinguished colleagues.   Among his greatest successes there were Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan Tutte which remained in the repertoire for 21 years and 24 years respectively.  His acclaimed production of La Bohème is still in repertoire after more than 30 years. He has acted, choreographed and designed regularly throughout his long and varied career.

John Copley has staged many new productions at English National Opera, several with Sir Charles Mackerras and Dame Janet Baker, including the award-winning Julius Caesar which went on to San Francisco, Geneva and finally the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where it has been recently revived (as Giulio Cesare). He works regularly with all the major American opera companies including the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Dallas and San Diego and was for many years a regular director with the Canadian Opera Company. In Australia he has directed more than 25 productions for both the Australian Opera in Sydney and the Victoria State Opera in Melbourne.  European productions include Greek National Opera Macbeth (Athens Festival), Madama Butterfly and Otello.  He returned to Athens in 2001 for a new production of Il Corsaro.  John has also directed in Munich, Berlin, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Drottningholm, Stockholm and Gothenburg.

John enjoys a close relationship with many of the colleges and training programmes, including the RAM, the RCM, the National Opera Studio, and Covent Garden’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme. In 2010 John was awarded San Francisco Opera’s prestigious ‘Opera Medal’.  His credits there include three previous productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, and more than 15 titles including Peter Grimes, the U.S. premiere of Tippett’s A Midsummer MarriageManonAnna Bolena and Don Giovanni.

His recent productions include La Traviata for San Francisco Opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Aida for Dallas Opera and Norma for the Metropolitan Opera. Many of his productions can be seen on video, including Mary Stuart and his celebrated Giulio Cesare from English National Opera, as well as La Bohème and Lucrezia Borgia from Covent Garden and L’elisir d’amore from the Metropolitan Opera.

John was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to opera.

Jonathan McGovern

This season Jonathan McGovern makes his anticipated role debut as Don Giovanni in Michael Boyd’s new production for Garsington Opera. Elsewhere he returns to Staatsoper Hamburg as Papageno under Kent Nagano as well as making his company debuts with both Welsh National Opera as Prince Andrei in Prokofiev’s War and Peace and Staatstheatre Klagenfurt as Pelléas. In concert he sings Dido and Aeneas at the Concertgebouw under Christian Curnyn, Fauré’s Requiem with the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège conducted by Hervé Niquet, and Nico Muhly’s The Last Letter for his debut with the Britten Sinfonia. Further ahead Jonathan looks forward to adding the role of Eugene Onegin to his expanding repertoire.

Recent highlights have included outstanding debuts as Pelléas in Barrie Kosky’s new production for Komische Oper Berlin and Papageno for Staatsoper Hamburg in Jette Steckel’s new production under Jean-Christophe Spinosi and for Garsington Opera under Christian Curnyn. Elsewhere, Jonathan has sung the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Calixto Bieito’s new production of Johannes Passion for Teatro Arriaga, Bilbao as well as Robert Carsen’s production of Les fêtes vénitiennes with Les Arts Florissants under William Christie on tour in Toulouse and New York.

On the concert platform recent successes have included Junior in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with Ensemble Modern under Kent Nagano in Berlin, Dortmund and Dresden, as well as Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy at the Verbier Festival under Charles Dutoit, Carmina Burana at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the NDR Podium der Jungen under Andrew Litton and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniel Cohen.

A gifted recitalist, Jonathan has performed with pianists Malcolm Martineau, Graham Johnson, Simon Lepper, James Baillieu, Timothy End and James Cheung. In recent seasons he has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Musee d’Orsay, deSingel, the Oxford Lieder Festival, London English Song Festival and the Lichfield Festival.

Lada Valesova

Lada is an opera coach specialising in Czech and Russian repertoire, a pianist, a recording artist and burgeoning conductor as well as a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

She has won prizes including two awards at the International Smetana Piano Competition and the Alexander Wise Memorial Prize for the best performance of romantic music. Significant teachers, supporters and influences on her pianistic style have been Valentina Kamenikova and Eugene Indjic (pupil of Arthur Rubinstein), James Gibb and Paul Hamburger, Georg Solti and Charles Mackerras.

As a busy concert artist and collaborative pianist she has given recitals throughout Europe and in New Zealand, at prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Dvořák Hall in Prague and the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, and her performance of Le Carnaval des Animaux by Saint-Saëns with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra led to a collaboration on a recording.

Her debut CD recording of Czech piano music, Intimate Studies (Avie), has been praised for the intelligence of her programming and the sensitivity and refinement of her playing. She followed this with a second solo disc, Dumka, and most recently devised and curated the album Fata Morgana, Songs by Pavel Haas (Resonus Classics), featuring vocal music by this neglected Czech Jewish composer. Released in March 2017 it was nominated for a BBC Music Magazine award in 2018 and won the title CD of the Year 2017, awarded by Europadisc.

Lada has featured frequently on radio broadcasts and also appeared in the award-winning television documentary In Search of Mozart, directed by Phil Grabsky, which marked the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth.

In her addition to her teaching at the Guildhall, she is an opera role coach at the Royal Academy of Music. She is a guest coach with the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme, at the National Opera Studio and has coached at the Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, Garsington, Holland Park, Grange Park, Scottish Opera, Kungliga Operan Stockholm, Hamburgische Staatsoper and Den Norske Opera in Oslo. She has coached singers in individual roles including Willard White as Ebn-Hakia in Iolanta, Roderick Williams as Yevgeny Onegin, Natalya Romaniw as Tatyana and Jenůfa, Susan Bullock as Kostelnička, Angela Gheorghiu as Lisa in The Queen of Spades, Nicky Spence in Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappearedand as Janek in The Makropulos Case.

Her collaboration as pianist with the director Ivo van Hove has resulted in an immersive and highly innovative experience, playing for his critically acclaimed production of The Diary of One Who Disappeared, on an international tour which continues in the season 2018-2019 with appearances at the Janáček Festival in Brno, at the Beijing International Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Since July 2017 she has been pursuing her interest in conducting, taking lessons with Sian Edwards, Alice Farnham, Frank Zielhorst and Miriam Němcová.

This autumn Lada has been invited to participate as one of the twelve active participants in the new pioneering pilot conducting course “Women Conductors for Opera” organised by the Royal Philharmonic Society, Royal Opera House and the National Opera Studio in London working with Sian Edwards, Jessica Cottis, Jane Glover, Alice Farnham, Mark Shanahan, Claire Gibault and Natalie Murray Beale.

She was an active participant in the LEADconductors course in Holland, working with Arjan Tien on symphonic repertoire and with Geert-Jan van Beijeren on choral repertoire.

Also this autumn she was an active participant in the conducting course “Opera Accompaniment” in Moscow directed and taught by Maestro Vladimir Ponkin.

 

Mark Austin

Mark Austin’s performances of operatic and orchestral repertoire have been praised for their “eloquent intensity” (Guardian).

In 2019 Mark makes his debut at Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre conducting Aurora Orchestra in two performances of ‘The Monstrous Child’ by Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon. He appears in recital at the Luxembourg Philharmonie and works as assistant conductor at Garsington Opera and with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris.

Recent highlights include ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ (Dartington International Festival), ‘Goyescas’ (Grange Festival), ‘Tosca’ (Musique Cordiale International Festival) and a two-concert Brahms residency with Guy Johnston and Faust Chamber Orchestra at Hatfield House. Mark was assistant conductor for the world première production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s ‘Coraline’ (Royal Opera). He works regularly with figures including Vasily Petrenko, Sian Edwards, Marin Alsop, David Parry, David Hill, Steuart Bedford, and the late Sir Colin Davis, and has conducted orchestras including Britten Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St John’s and the Hangzhou Philharmonic, China. Mark was awarded a Bayreuth Festival Young Artist Bursary and recorded the world première of Alex Woolf’s ‘NHS Symphony’ for BBC Radio 3, which won a Prix Europa. He studies with Sian Edwards and was awarded an International Opera Awards Bursary in 2017.

An accomplished pianist, Mark has performed at venues including Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, St John’s Smith Square, Holywell Music Room, Opera Bastille (Paris) and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre. He is musical assistant to The Bach Choir and regularly conducts the choir in concert and the recording studio.

Born in London, Mark had lessons in violin and piano from an early age. He played in the National Youth Orchestra, and studied at Cambridge University and Royal Academy of Music, where he received numerous prizes and was appointed a Junior Fellow. Mark contributed a chapter on Wagner, Beethoven and Faust to the recently published ‘Music in Goethe’s Faust’. You can read more about Mark on www.mark-austin.net

Mark Elder

Sir Mark Elder has been Music Director of the Hallé since September 2000. He was Music Director of English National Opera (1979–1993), Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1992–1995) and Music Director of Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, USA (1989–1994). He has held positions as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Mozart Players.

He has worked with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic and London Symphony. He is a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and works regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared annually at the Proms for many years, including in 1987 and 2006, the internationally televised Last Night of the Proms and from 2003 with the Hallé Orchestra.

He works regularly in the most prominent international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Other guest engagements have taken him to the Bayreuth Festival (where he was the first English conductor to conduct a new production), Munich, Amsterdam, Zürich, Geneva, Berlin, and the Bregenz Festival.

Sir Mark Elder has made many recordings with orchestras including the Hallé, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, the OAE, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and ENO, in repertoire ranging from Verdi, Strauss and Wagner to contemporary music. In 2003 the Hallé launched its own CD label and releases have met with universal critical acclaim culminating in Gramophone Awards for Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, The Kingdom andThe Apostles. Other Hallé recordings include Die Walküre, Gotterdammerung and Parsifal.

TV appearances include a two-part film on the life and music of Verdi for BBC TV in 1994 and a similar project on Donizetti for German television in 1996. In November 2011 he co-presented BBCTV’s four part series Symphony, and in 2012 fronted BBC2’s TV series Maestro at the Opera. Sir Mark will present a series of TV programmes on BBC4 during the 2015 Proms in which he will talk about eight symphonies ranging from Beethoven to MacMillan featuring performances from the season’s concerts.

In April 2011, he took up the position of Artistic Director of Opera Rara, with whom he has made many award-winning recordings including Donizetti’s Dom Sebastien, Imelda di Lambertazzi, Linda di Chamounix, Maria di Rohan, Les Martyrs and, most recently, Semiramide.

Recent and forthcoming concert engagements, as well as his commitment to the Hallé, include Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, Gürzenich Orchester, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Vienna Symphony, the OAE, Australian Youth Orchestra, Royal Academy of Music and performances with National Youth Orchestra and the Hallé at the 2015 BBC Proms. Operatic engagements include a complete performance of Parsifal at the BBC Proms with the Hallé, Tannhäuser and La bohème at the Opéra National de Paris, Benvenuto Cellini for Netherlands Opera, Meistersinger for San Francisco Opera, Billy Budd, Falstaff and La Traviata for Glyndebourne, several productions for Covent Garden including Wozzeck, Fidelio, La bohème ,Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Etoile and concert performances of Lohengrin with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a recording of which has just been released on the orchestra’s own label.

Sir Mark Elder was knighted in 2008, was awarded the CBE in 1989 and created a Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017. He won an Olivier Award in 1991 for his outstanding work at ENO and in May 2006 he was named Conductor of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society. He was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2011.

Michael Chance

His operatic career identifies him with parts such as Gluck’s Orfeo, Britten’s Oberon and Apollo, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo, Bertarido and Ottone, and a host of gods and heroes and the occasional villain throughout the Baroque and early Classical eras. He has performed in most of the great opera houses and concert halls. His favourites are Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, La Pergola in Florence, Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, and now also The Grange. He has made over 150 recordings, with solo albums devoted to composers such as Purcell, Dowland, Bach, Tavener and Vivaldi. His recording of Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater was recently chosen in BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library. Amongst many international awards for his recordings is a Grammy for his performance in Handel’s Semele (with Kathleen Battle and Marilyn Horne). He received a CBE in 2009.

Michael teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague, in his own Siena Summer Academy in Italy, and in masterclasses all over the world.

He accepted the invitation to be artistic director of The Grange Festival in October 2015. He was given the task of creating from scratch a new opera company and putting together rather hastily the first season in 2017 after the unexpected announcement shortly before the departure of Grange Park Opera from The Grange.

The Grange Festival is the only opera company in the UK to be led by a singer of international renown. It is intensely gratifying that the Grange Festival’s entire senior management team moved from GPO to work with him and stay at The Grange. He also hopes that the confusion of names will be soon resolved.

Michael’s vision for the future of The Grange is based on a long performing career, deep knowledge of the working process to put the finished article on the stage, and a love of open minded collaboration at a high level. He envisages a wide range of possibilities for the theatre at The Grange centred around the core opera festival in the early summer, but also including ballet, drama and other activities with a regional association. The strong sense of local identity with The Grange and its rich cultural legacy are inherent in creating a regional hub at The Grange which he hopes will be a centre of international excellence in the heart of Hampshire. He is determined that everyone who visits will be entranced by the quixotic charm of the setting and thrilled by the fantasy and craft on the stage.

Michael Spyres

American tenor Michael Spyres made his Royal Opera debut in 2013 as Rodrigo (La donna del lago) and has since returned to sing the title role of Mitridate, re di Ponto.

Spyres grew up in Mansfield, Missouri, and studied in the USA and at the Vienna Conservatory. He came to international acclaim in 2008 when he sang the title role in Rossini’s Otello for the Rossini in Wildbad Belcanto Opera Festival. His many other engagements in bel canto repertory include Rodrigo for La Scala, Milan, and Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, Cavalier Belfiore (Il viaggio a Reims) for La Scala, the title role in Aureliano in Palmira and Baldassare (Ciro in Babilonia) for the Rossini Opera Festival, Giannetto (La gazza ladra) for Semperoper Dresden, Conte di Libenskof (Il viaggio a Reims) for Dutch National Opera and Arnold (Guillaume Tell) for Teatro Comunale, Bologna, and La Monnaie, Brussels.

Spyres’s engagements in other repertory include Orlando (Orlando paladino) for Zürich Opera House, Hoffmann (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) for Liceu, Barcelona, Mitridate for La Monnaie and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Faust (La Damnation de Faust) for Opéra National de Bordeaux and Opera Vlaanderen, Benvenuto Cellini for English National Opera, Enée (Les Troyens) in concert with Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Don José (Carmen) for Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ozia (Betulia liberata) for Salzburg Festival, Masaniello (La Muette de Portici) in Bari, Alfred (Die Fledermaus) and Camille de Rosillon (Die lustige Witwe) for Lyric Opera of Chicago and Candide for Opera Vlaanderen and Rome Opera. His many recordings include the solo album A Fool for Love (Delos). He is Artistic Director of Springfield Regional Opera.

Na’ama Goldman

Na’ama Goldman has attracted attention throughout Europe following her recent appearances at Wexford Festival Opera in the title role of Alphonse Mariotte’s Salome, Opera de Tenerife as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Rossini Opera Festival as Mercesa Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims, Hamburg as Mete in the world premiere of Peiffer’s Vom Ende der Unschuld, and at the Vienna Konzerthaus in Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos. This summer, she will join the roster of Glyndebourne Festival Opera for their production of Beatrice et Benedict after which she will debut with Opera Royal de Wallonie as Fenena in Nabucco. She will take the role of Carmen for The Grange Festival in their summer 2017 season.

Born in Israel, she is a graduate of the Mettar Opera Studio at The Israeli Opera. She has performed many roles in her native country including Carmen, Elvira in Don Giovanni (at the Masada Festival), Rosina in Il Barbiere di Sivigilia, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Fenena in Nabucco and Maddalena in Rigoletto, all at the Israeli Opera. She will return there as Stephano in Romeo et Juliette, and Angelina in La Cenerentola. Notable roles at the Mettar Opera Studio included Charlotte in Werther, Hansel in Hansel und Gretel, and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Na’ama currently resides in Milan.

Richard Peirson

Richard Peirson is a repetiteur with the ENO and a highly respected piano accompanist.  He joined The English National Opera in 2005 and has worked with many important singers and conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Edward Gardner, Sir Richard

Armstrong and Mark Wigglesworth. Recently he toured in Australia for concert performances with the renowned tenor Stuart Skelton.  He studied at Cambridge University, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. He was on the music staff of Scottish Opera from 1993 to 2001 where he worked as repetiteur, chorus master and Music Director, and played solo piano and harpsichord for numerous performances.

Richard also works as a freelance coach and accompanist and has given lecture recitals for Divas & Scholars as well as pre-performance talks for the ENO.  His setting of W B Yeats’ “He wishes for the cloths of heaven” is published by Stainer and Bell.

Richard Pinkstone

Born in Northumberland, Richard Pinkstone graduated from the University of York, where he read Music and sang Damon, Acis and Galatea and Tamino, The Magic Flute. He is currently studying for a Masters in Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music, where he is under the tutelage of Timothy Evans-Jones and Gary Matthewman. Richard Pinkstone is a Royal College of Music Richard Carne Scholar, supported by an Yvone Wells Award and The Josephine Baker Trust. At the Royal College of Music, he has sung The Witch, Hansel und Gretel, directed by Liam Steel, and Alfred Die Fledermaus directed by John Copley. His concert repertoire includes Beethoven’s Mass in C, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mass in C Minor and Requiem, and Schubert’s Mass in G and he made his international debut with a recital of music by Puccini, Rossini and Verdi at the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome.

Current engagements include the title role in Albert Herring for the inaugural Grange Festival, Podestà La finta giardiniera for the Royal College of Music International Opera School and Messiah in Truro Cathedral.

Robert Hayward

Robert Hayward studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio and made his professional opera debut singing the title role in Don Giovanni for Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 1986.

Since then he has performed at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Frankfurt Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New Israeli Opera, and Minnesota Opera in a wide repertoire including Wotan and the Wanderer in the Ring, Amfortas/Parsifal, Jokanaan/Salome, Figaro and Count Almaviva/Le Nozze di Figaro, the title roles in Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni, Mazeppa, Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff and Macbeth; Iago/Otello, Ford/Falstaff, Scarpia/Tosca, Marcello/La bohème, Escamillo/Carmen, Tomsky/The Queen of Spades, Nick Shadow/The Rake’s Progress, Mandryka/Arabella, Golaud/Pelleas et Melisande, Kurwenal/Tristan, Prince Ivan Khovansky/Khovanshchina, Simone in Zemlinsky’s Florentine Tragedy and Telramund/Lohengrin.

He has appeared with many of this country’s leading orchestras including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Hallé, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and BBC Philharmonic.

Recent and forthcoming operatic engagements include Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for English National Opera, Commendant and Shishkov/ From the House of the Dead and Ivan Khovanksy for Welsh National Opera,  Baron Prus / The Makropulous Case, Balstrode / Peter Grimes, Jokannen and Scarpia for Opera North, Baron Prus for Opera de Nantes, Jokannen with Opéra de Montréal, the title roles in Il Prigioniero and Bluebeard’s Castle as well as Telramund for Frankfurt Opera, Mephistopheles / Damnation of Faust for Staatstheater Stuttgart,  Bluebeard’s Castle and Tonio / Pagliacci for Scottish Opera, the title role in Falstaff for The Grange Festival and the title role in Mazeppa and Moses / Moses und Aron both for the Komische Oper Berlin. Concert appearances include performances with London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski,  the Orquesta Sinfonica Castilla y Leon, Cambridge University Music Society and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain with Sir Mark Elder.

Samantha Crawford

Soprano Samantha Crawford has recently worked for Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera, Garsington Opera, Edinburgh Festival, Aldeburgh Festival and Théâtre municipal de Fontainebleau. Samantha is the winner of the First Prize at the 2016 Wagner Society Singing Competition and Golden Medal with Honours at the 2017 Berliner International Music Competition.

Repertoire includes Agathe Der Freischütz, Tatyana Eugene Onegin, the title roles in Kátya Kabanová and Jenůfa, Elsa Lohengrin, Eva Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Sieglinde and Ortlinde Die Walküre, Freia Das Rheingold, Fiordiligi Cosi fan tutte and Rosalinde Die Fledermaus.

British Australian soprano Samantha Crawford was awarded the Golden Medal with Honours at the 2017 Berliner International Music Competition and The 2017/18 NSW Wagner Society Award for Emerging Wagner Singers. In 2016 she won First Prize and the President's Prize at the Wagner Society Singing Competition in London and was a Royal Philharmonic Society Chilcott Award finalist. In 2018 Samantha was finalist for the inaugural Hong Kong International Operatic Singing Competition at Hong Kong City Hall, chaired by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Critics have praised her performances as a singer 'whose fine cut soprano brought singing of class,' (Opera) and bringing 'a most complete portrayal,' to her roles (Financial Times).

Upcoming engagements include her return to Teatro Real Madrid for Ortlinde Die Walküre, directed by Robert Carsen, Verdi’s Requiem, and Mozart’s Requiem at Southwark Cathedral, concerts with London Song Festival, Celebrating Australian Music, and Czech Women in Opera with pianist Lada Valešová at The Ivy, London.

On the opera stage, Samantha made her debut in 2014 performing the role of Mrs. Coyle Owen Wingrave to critical acclaim at the Aldeburgh Festival and Edinburgh Festival, under Mark Wigglesworth. Her other recent roles include the title role Suor Angelica at Théâtre municipal de Fontainebleau, Donna Anna Don Giovanni for Garsington Opera and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Sieglinde Die Walküre with Stuart Skelton in concert in London, Agathe Der Freischütz for Blackheath Opera, Blumenmädchen Parsifal for Teatro Real Madrid under Semyon Bychkov (dir. Claus Guth), Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte and Donna Elvira for Garsington Opera, Dido Dido and Aeneas with the Brandenburg Sinfonia, covering Fiordiligi Cosi fan tutte for Scottish Opera, and Miss Jessel The Turn of the Screw for Glyndebourne on Tour (dir. Jonathan Kent). Further roles performed include Rosalinde Die Fledermaus, Contessa Le nozze di Figaro, Frau Fluth Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Popelka in Martinů’s Comedy on the Bridge, and Micaëla Carmen.

In concert, Samantha has also sung a broad range of repertoire at the Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Hall under Martyn Brabbins, BBC NOW under Thierry Fischer, Wales Millennium Centre, LSO St. Luke’s, Schlosstheater Schönbrunn and Cadogan Hall. Her recent performances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Gloucester Cathedral, Verdi’s Requiem at the Medina Theatre, Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder at Newbury Spring Festival, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder at the City of London Festival, Chausson’s Poème de l'amour et de la mer at Barbican Milton Court, Mozart’s Requiem, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Mendelssohn’s Paulus, Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony and Howells' Hymnus Paradisi. Her performances have been broadcast on live cinema relay in Europe, on television and radio for the BBC and filmed for DVD (Sony).

Samantha graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Opera Course with Distinction, where she studied with Yvonne Kenny AM as a Baroness de Turckheim Scholar. She is an alumna of the Wagner Bayreuth Stipendium, Britten-Pears, and Garsington Alvarez Young Artist Programmes.

Samantha is the Co-Founder and Director of the Creative Professionals Network Australia. CPN launched in 2016 with support from the High Commission and the Australian Music Foundation at Australia House, London. CPN’s charitable events have been held in support of International Justice Mission and Home for Good.

Samantha is the recipient of numerous awards including; The Golden Medal with Honours at the Berliner International Music Competition, First Prize and President's Prize at the Wagner Society Singing Competition, J:opera Gesangswettbewerb Sonderpreis Theater Kiel, Wagner Bayreuth Stipendienstiftung, Australian Music Foundation Young Musician, Royal Philharmonic Society Chilcott Award finalist, The Mozart Singing Competition, The NSW Wagner Society Award for Emerging Wagner Singers, The Countess of Munster Trust, Help Musicians UK, Tait Memorial Trust Julian Baring Award, Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust and The City of London Corporation.

Sergey Rybin

Sergey Rybin was born in the city of Tomsk in Siberia (Russia). He began playing the piano aged seven, studying at the specialised music school for gifted children, attached to the Conservatory of Novosibirsk. Subsequently, he studied at the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts, where having gained a Ph.D., he became Professor of Piano and taught for four years.

   Since completing his studies the Royal Academy of Music in London under tutelage of Malcolm Martineau, Sergey has worked extensively for City of Birmingham Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, Opera Holland Park and Grange Park Opera. As a recitalist he performed in Leeds Lieder+ Festival, Hampstead and Highgate Festival, Beaminster Festival and in other prominent venues in the UK alongside Joan Rodgers, Justina Gringyte, Katherine Broderick, Nelly Miricioiu, Sergey Leiferkus and others.

   Sergey has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London and joined the coaching staff at Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at ROH, Covent Garden. After working as a chef repetiteur on the Royal Opera House’s production of Eugene Onegin and joining the music staff team for the productions of Lucia di Lammermoor and Nabucco at the ROH, during past season Sergey returned to the ROH for the productions ofThe Nose, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Der Rosenkavalier.

   During the current season Sergey participated in preparation of Khovanschina at Welsh National Opera, performed in Oxford Lieder Festival with Katherine Broderick and a returned to the ROH for Lucia di Lammermoor. Future engagements include Der Rosenkavalierfor Glyndebourne Festival.

Sky Ingram

Sky Ingram is an Australian soprano living in London, where she trained at the National Opera Studio (sponsored by Opera North) and studied on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She also trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide.

Sky performed the role of Lea in the world premiere of Glare for her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2014 to huge critical acclaim. 2015 marked her American debut as Avis in The Wreckers for the Bard SummerScape in New York, USA.  Returning to the Royal Opera House, Sky sang the role of Venus in Rossi’s Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London and in 2016 she sang the title role of Rusalkain Valladolid, Spain, and La Contessa Le Nozze di Figaro in Norway.

Sky has performed oratorio, concert and recital repertoire around Australia, in New York, Norway, and the UK, and has sung on ABC and BBC radio. She is a regular guest artist with Raymond Gubbay Ltd. and with them has been the soloist in concerts such as Last Night of the Proms, Classical Spectacular, Carols by Candlelight and Spectacular Classics. She has performed, in concert, in various venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Paris Auditorium St Germain, Rouen Opera House, St John’s Smiths Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Barbican Concert Hall, Australia House UK, Wigmore Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham and the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Centre in New York.

Future engagements include Spectacular Classics at the Royal Festival Hall in London, La Contessa/Le nozze di Figaro (Nevill Holt Opera), Dido/Dido and Aneas, Foreign Princess/Rusalka, and Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni.

Sky has won several music Scholarships and Competitions in both Australia and the UK including; Opera Awards Foundation Bursary, GSMD Harold Rosenthal Prize, Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust Bursary, Australian Music Foundation Scholarship, Wingate Scholarship, and the 2011 ROSL Overseas Trophy for the most outstanding musician from overseas, after which she was among a few Australians to be invited by the Queen to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Other significant awards include: Winner of The Australian 5MBS Young Performer of the Year, a George Boland Scholarship, Friends of State Opera South Australia Travelling Scholarship, Tait Memorial Scholarship, Finalist in The Australian Singing Competition Marianne Mathy Awards, and SA Young Achiever of the Year (Arts section).

Recent Opera roles

  • RusalkaRusalka (Valladolid Opera Project, Spain)
  • Contessa Almaviva/Le nozze di Figaro(Pop-up Opera, Norway)
  • LeaGlare (Royal Opera House), Venus Orpheus(Royal Opera House)
  • AvisThe Wreckers (Bard SummerScape, USA)
  • MusettaLa bohème (Opera North)
  • MusettaLa bohème (English Touring Opera)
  • HelenaA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera North, GSMD, WAAPA)
  • Frau FluthDie lustigen Weiber von Windsor(GSMD)
  • Madame LidoineDialogues des Carmelites(GSMD)
  • EmilyOur Town (GSMD – UK & European Premiere)
  • Female Chorus(cover) The Rape of Lucretia(BYO)
  • MicaëlaCarmen (Alexander Productons)
  • PaminaThe Magic Flute (Elder Con.)
  • Clorinda/La Cenerentola (Opera North)
  • Abigail WilliamsThe Crucible (WAAPA – Australian Premiere).

Susan Bickley

British mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley made her Royal Opera debut in 1991 as Fyodor (Boris Godunov) and has since sung Aksinya (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Lyudmila (The Bartered Bride), Mrs Peacham (The Beggar’s Opera), Babulenka (The Gambler), Virgie (Anna Nicole, world premiere) and Old Countess (The Nose) on the main stage, in George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill in the Linbury Studio Theatre and Silvia (Orfeo) at the Roundhouse and Eurycleia (The Return of Ulysses) for The Royal Opera at the Roundhouse. In the 2018/19 Season she sings Second Harlot/Queen of Sheba (Solomon in concert) and Marfa Ignatevna Kabanová (Kát’a Kabanová) for The Royal Opera.

Bickley studied at City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has a long association with English National Opera, where she has sung roles including Herodias (Salome), Paulina (The Winter’s Tale, world premiere), Mother (Between Worlds, world premiere), Eduige (Rodelinda), Jocasta (Thebans, world premiere), Cassandra (The Trojans), Kabanicha (Kát’a Kabanová), Sidonie von Grasenabb (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, world premiere), Mescalina (Le Grande Macabre) and D.I. Anne Strawson (Two Boys). Other notable appearances include Kostelnicka (Jenufa) for Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne, Cassandra for Opera North, Baba the Turk (The Rake’s Progress) and Mrs Grose (The Turn of the Screw) for Glyndebourne, Ghost (The Last Supper) for Berlin State Opera, Ortrud (Lohengrin) and Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde) for WNO, Herodias (Salome) in San Francisco and Dallas and Countess Geschwitz (Lulu) for Opera Vlaanderen.

Bickley’s concert repertory ranges from Baroque works to contemporary music. From 2011 to 2013 she sang Fricka (Das Rheingold and Die Walküre) and Waltraute (Götterdämmerung) in the Hallé’s concert performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen. She has recorded for several leading labels.

She has been invited as guest soloist at the International Opera Awards 2015, International Kammeroper Rheinsberg Schloss Opera Festival, and was chosen to sing before the First Lady of China, Madam Peng, on her visit to the UK in 2015.

Yuriy Yurchuk

Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme 2014–16, during which time his roles included Steersman (Tristan und Isolde), Dumas (Andrea Chénier), Prince Yamadori, Baron Douphol, Germano (La scala di seta, Meet the Young Artists Week), Blazes/Officer (The Lighthouse, Meet the Young Artists Week), Angelotti (Tosca), Baron Douphol and Johann (Werther). In the 2016/17 Season he was a Royal Opera Principal, singing roles including Schlemil (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Baron Douphol (La traviata), Prince Yamadori (Madama Butterfly), Flemish Deputy (Don Carlo), Mandarin (Turandot) and in The Nose.

Yurchuk’s engagements elsewhere have included Marcello (La bohème), Constable and Narrator (The Threepenny Opera) and Ford (Falstaff) for DePaul Opera Theater, King of Egypt (Aida) in a tribute to Martina Arroyo at the 36th Kennedy Center Honors Awards, Washington D.C., and the four villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with the Prelude to Performance Program in New York.

Yurchuk was born in Kiev and gained his masters in vocal performance from DePaul University School of Music, Chicago. He has won prizes at the Queen Sonja International Music Competition (Norway), the Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition (Spain), the Ottavio Ziino International Competition (Italy), the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition (USA) and the Monastero Foundation Bel Canto Competition (USA). Before his singing career Yurchuk worked as a mergers and acquisitions financial consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers for eight years.