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Sir Simon Keenlyside – Baritone – 1984 & 1987

Sir Simon Keenlyside made his operatic debut, as a British Baritone, here at Clonter in 1984. He first appeared in the Royal Opera House just 6 years later as Ping Turandot. From 1994 onwards, Simon has performed with The Royal Opera almost every season, and opera houses throughout the world. He was appointed a CBE in 2003 and awarded a knighthood in 2018.

Amanda Roocroft – Soprano – 1984

Amanda Roocroft’s first appearance Clonter, was as a student of the Royal Northern College of Music, in 1984. Whilst studying, in 1988, she won the Kathleen Ferrier Award, and in 1989 she was praised by the British Critic, Michael Kennedy, for her performances in the college production of Cosi fan tutte. In the years between 1989 and 2010, Amanda has succeeded in performing at well-established events and venues including the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Welsh National Opera, the Royal Opera House, The English National Opera, and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In 1994, she was also the subject of a Granada Television documentary, Amanda Roocroft: Opera’s Rising Star. As well as breaking into the British Opera circuit, Amanda succeeded in the North America, appearing in Don Giovanni as Donna Elvira at the Metropolitan Opera, and sang at Houston Grand Opera. In 2003, the University of Manchester awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Music. For her performance in Jenufain the English National Opera in 2007, Amanda received the Laurence Oliver Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Throughout her career, Amanda has also had the great pleasure of performing with the likes of Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, and has made regular appearances at the London BBC Proms and at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Johnathan Lemalu – Bass Baritone – 2000 & 2001

Jonathan’s association with Clonter began in 2000. He was cast for Clonter’s production of The Marriage of Figaro and returned to Clonter in 2001 to perform in The Barber of Seville. Along with the rehearsal and training of stagecraft, vocal and physical stamina, Jonathan was awarded the 2000 Clonter Opera Prize winner. Also, as a 2001 Singers Academy Member, Jonathan received invaluable coaching from John Tomlinson at the Royal Opera House. In 2010, Jonathan was awarded with a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.

Lee Bisset – Soprano – 2000/2006

Lee performed the role of Tatyana in Eugene Onegin for Clonter in 2000, and returned to perform the role of Violetta in La traviata in 2006. She went on to represent Scotland at Cardiff Singer of the World and to join the Young Artists Programme at English National Opera. She has since sung principal roles for companies including the Dorset Opera Fest of Piet Swerts’ Symphony of Trees with the Flanders Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of this season for Lee Bisset have included a return to Opera Omaha in the title role of Tosca and the première of Piet Swerts’ Symphony of Trees with the Flanders Symphony Orchestra. Following major successes as Sieglinde in Opera North’s Die Walküre and Isolde in Longborough Festival Opera’s Tristan und Isolde, she will make her debut as Isolde at the Stadttheater Bern next season and, looking ahead, she will sing Brünnhilde in Longborough Festival Opera’s new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, which starts in 2019 and culminates in the full cycle in 2023.

Natalya Romaniw – Soprano – 2010/2011

Natalya won the Clonter Opera prize in 2010, and performed the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor for Clonter in 2011. She went on to cover Armida in Handel’s Rinaldofor Glyndebourne on tour, and successfully auditioned for the young artist programmes at the MET, New York, The Jette Parker young artist programme, Covent Garden and Houston Grand Opera, Texas, which was the offer she accepted. In 2012 Natalya was the first ever recipient of both the Lovely Song Prize and first prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards. Subsequent accolades include representing Wales in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, where she was a Song Prize finalist. Last season Natalya was nominated for the Times Breakthrough Category at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. Most recent roles include Tatyana Eugene Onegin for Garsington Opera, Lisa Queen of Spades in a return to Opera Holland Park,  Jenufa for Grange Park Opera in their new Theatre in the Woods at West Horsley Place.  In 2017-18 Natalya sang Tatyana Eugene Onegin in her house debut with Welsh National Opera and for Scottish Opera in a new production by Oliver Mears. Natalya recently made her debut with English National Opera as Mimì La bohème. In 2019 she returned to Garsington Opera as Mařenka The Bartered Bride.  Also in 2019 she made her first solo recital recording in a collaboration with the pianist Lada Valesova, featuring repertoire by Dvořák, Janáček, Novák and Rachmaninov.

Jung Soo Yun – Tenor – 2011

South Korean tenor Jung Soo Yun first performed at Clonter as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He has performed for HRH Prince Charles at St James’s Palace and sung in Kiri Te Kanawa’s Christmas Concert at Cadogan Hall. Yun has also sung across the UK in oratorio repertory, including Haydn’s Creation and Verdi’s Requiem, and in recital at Wigmore Hall. Operatic performances include Macduff Macbeth and Italian tenor Der Rosenkavalier for Opera North, Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi and Nadir Les pêcheurs de perles for Opera Holland Park, the title role in Werther for Les Azuriales Opera, and Ruggero Lastouc La rondine for Go Opera/Opera di Peroni. Yun made his Royal Opera debut in 2013 as Mainfroid Les vêpres siciliennes.

Elin Pritchard – Soprano – 2011

Elin first performed at Clonter as the Maid and cover of the title role Lucia di Lammermoor in 2011, returning to take part in the Opera Gala in 2015. Welsh soprano Elin Pritchard is a graduate of the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and of London’s National Opera Studio. Her operatic roles include Violetta La traviata and Fiordiligi Così fan tutte for Den Jyske Opera, Kupava The Snow Maiden and Nedda Pagliacci for Opera North, Lucia Lucia di Lammermoor for Buxton Festival Opera, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni for the Finnish National Opera, Micaela Carmen for Mid Wales Opera, Female Chorus The Rape of Lucretia for British Youth Opera, and Musetta La bohème, Miss Jessel The Turn of the Screw, Nella Gianni Schicchi, Giorgetta Il tabarro and Stella I gioielli della Madonna for Opera Holland Park. For Scottish Opera, Elin has sung Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress, Violetta La traviata and First Dryad Rusalka. She sings regularly in concert, her repertoire including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Bruckner’s Mass in F Minor, Brahm’s Requiem, Dvořák’s Te Deum, Fauré’s Requiem, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle, Haydn’s St Nicholas Mass with the English Chamber Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mass in C Minor and Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem.

Marta Fontanals- Simmons – Mezzo Soprano – 2012

Marta performed the role of Hansel in Clonter’s 2012 production of Hansel and Gretel. Studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Marylin Rees, Marta was the winner of the 2011 Maurene Lehane Vocal Award, runner-up for the 2011 Thelma King Award, and finalist in the Hampshire Singing Competition. She has performed as a soloist at Barbican Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St John’s Smith Square. Recordings include Harvey’s Songs of Li Po for BBC Radio 3, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Holst’s The Coming of Christ with the Holst Orchestra. Recent opera experience includes Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly (Grange Park Opera 2012), Eva Comedy on the Bridge (Minotaur Music Theatre 2011) and Lucretia The Rape of Lucretia (British Youth Opera 2011). In 2012, Marta performed the role of Ruggiero Orlando generoso at The Barber Opera. Recent performances have included critically acclaimed house and role debuts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Siébel in David McVicar’s production of Faust and as Hel in the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ The Monstrous Child at the Linbury Theatre. This season Marta makes her debut at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, performing in George Benjamin’s critically acclaimed Lessons in Love and Violence.

Anush Hovhannisyan – Soprano – 2012

Since winning the Clonter Opera Prize in 2012, and performing in the Opera Gala of the same year, Anush joined the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, Covent Garden.  In 2014 Anush won the 1st Prize in Concours Suisse Ernst Haefliger International Competition. 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. Anush is the winner of First and Public Prizes, Deutsche Grammophon and Royal Danish Opera special prizes at the 2016 Stella Maris Competition. Most recent and upcoming performances include Violetta Valery La traviata, for Scottish Opera, Amaltea Mose in Egitto in Cadogan Hall, Berg Seven Early Songs and Beethoven Symphony No 9 with the Southbank Sinfonia, Strauss Four Last Songs with Amicus Orchestra, and performing debut as Donna Anna Don Giovanni at New Generation Festival in Florence. Further to the unanimous praise on her debut as Violetta Valery La traviata for Scottish Opera,  Anush made a house debut at the Welsh National Opera in 2018/2019 season in the same role. She was due to return to Welsh National Opera in 2020 as Hélène Les vêpres siciliennes and made her debut with Opera North as Musetta in the revival of Phillida Lloyd’s acclaimed staging of La bohème.

Raphaela Papadakis – Soprano – 2013

Raphaela played Gretel in Clonter’s 2012 production of Hansel and Gretel, returning to Clonter to win the Opera Prize in 2013, and performing in the Opera Gala later that same year. In 2014 she made her professional operatic début at Garsington Opera as Bathilde, Offenbach’s Vert-vert, as well as her song recital début at Carnegie Hall New York. Also Raphaela covered the Nymph in Michael Boyd’s production of Orfeo for the Royal Opera House, and the London première of Nicola LeFanu’s Tokaido Road, for which She created the role of the spurned geisha Kikuyo for the world première, Cheltenham Festival. Raphaela sang the role of Ann in the British première of Simon Vosecek’s Biedermann and The Arsonists, and won 1st Prize at the National Mozart Competition. Raphaela has recently completed the English National Opera’s training scheme for young artists, and gone on to cover at the Royal Opera House and perform at the Berlin Staatsoper. Recent roles include the cover of the title role in Cavalli’s Hipermestra Glyndebourne Fesitval Opera and Orestilla in Porpora’s L’Agrippina in its British premère with Barber Opera. Recent and future plans include Haydn’s Creation with Paul McCreesh, performances with Multi-Story at the Aldeburgh Festival, creating the role of Doria Manfredi in a new play about Puccini’s life called Il letto by Christopher Hogg, a Helios Collective production for the Buxton, Copenhagen and Grimeborn Opera Festivals, and concerts of French song with Tom Poster, Elena Urioste and the Navarra Quartet at the Roman River Festival, recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Gérard Schneider – Tenor – 2013 & 2014

Gérard Schneider made his first appearance at Clonter in 2013 as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and he returned to perform in the 2014 Opera Gala. Since then Gérard has performed throughout the world, including major debuts at the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Wexford Festival Opera, and the Salzburger Festspiele.  Gérard joined the Ensemble at Oper Frankfurt in the current season, debuting to great acclaim as both the Prince in Rusalka and Der Hirt in Krol Roger. He also made his debut with the Komische Oper Berlin in Barrie Kosky’s new production of La bohème and returned to Bard SummerScape for three projects celebrating the works of Alexander Pushkin  which included  the role of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart & Salieri. For the 2019/20 season, Gérard continued his Ensemble work with Oper Frankfurt, performing Der Hirt in Krol Roger and the Prince in Rusalka. In the 2020-2021 season Gerard continues as a member for the ensemble at Opera Frankfurt in the title role of Werther, and Lenski in Eugene Onegin.

Alison Rose – Soprano – 2013

Alison made her first appearance at Clonter in 2013 as Adele in Die Fledermaus, returning to take part in the Opera Gala the same year. Since then she has gone on to win the 2015 Maggie Teyte Prize and the 2017 Leonard Ingrams Award and was a National Opera Studio Young Artist for the 2015/16 season. Concert highlights include Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in 2016, Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall, Iain Burnside’s musical play Shining Armour with Roderick Williams and Victoria Newlyn, Britten’s Les Illuminations at the Southwell Music Festival and solo recitals at the Oxford Lieder Festival and the Royal Opera House Crush Room. Operatic roles include Barbarina Le nozze di Figaro Garsington Festival Opera and English National Opera; Vixen The Cunning Little Vixen Grimeborn Festival; Frasquita Carmen (understudy) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Performances at the National Opera Studio have included residencies with Opera North, Welsh National Opera, and a performance of scenes from contemporary opera at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Recent and future performances include her debut with Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

Henry Neill – Baritone – 2017

Henry performed the title role in Clonter’s production of The Marriage of Figaro in 2018. He holds several national awards, including a Concordia Foundation Artists Award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Recent performances include Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall, appearances on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, Dutch National Radio 4, Wigmore Hall, and the Oxford and Leeds Lieder Festivals. Operatic roles include Quince A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shadwell Opera, and Marquese La traviata – West Green House Opera. In 2017, Henry played the role of Noah in English Touring Opera’s newly-commissioned production of Silver Electra, and the role Edmund Bertram in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, commissioned by The Grange Festival. Henry is currently a member of the solo ensemble at the Deutsches Nationaltheater, Weimar. Current and future projects there include Guglielmo Così fan tutte, Conte Le nozze di Figaro, Masetto Don Giovanni, Geschem Nathan und seine Kinder by Andrew Kassel, Reinmar Tannhäuser and Silvano Un ballo in maschera. Henry has since played Papageno Die Zauberflöte with Swedish Opera Festival Opera på Skäret after which he returned to the UK to debut as Schaunard La bohème with Opera North. Future engagements include opera projects with the Vienna Boys Choir, Théâtre Fribourg and Grand Théâtre Genève.

Albert Herring 1987

The last time Clonter presented Albert Herring in any shape or form was in 1987. It was a short excerpt from Act 1, presented as a double bill with Cosi Fan Tutte. Both with piano.

There is less than a week to go until the cast arrive to start rehearsals for Clonter’s first full production of Albert Herring, with full orchestration.

We very much hope you can join us for this historic moment in Clonter’s history – More Info

Cast List of 1987

Lady Billows – Bernadette Donnelly
Florence Pike – Louise Crane
Miss Wordsworth – Bernadette Lord
Mr Gedge – Robert Ursan
Mr Upfold – Nigel Roberts
Super Intendent Budd – Gordon Cowie
Sid – Richard Chew
Albert Herring – Andrew Wicks
Nancy – Verona James

Director – Patrick McGuigan
Piano – John Wilson

“I had just covered the role of Nancy in Glyndebourne, but didn’t get the chance to go on, so the opportunity to try it out in front of an audience was wonderful, especially as Wyn Davies was the orchestra of one. It was a fantastic experience. We were all treated as part of the Lockett family. I remember it with great fondness.”

Buddug Verona James

Described as “a Brancusi” in the New York Times, “a real showstopper” in the Guardian and “ravishing” in the Financial Times, the critically acclaimed Welsh mezzo soprano Buddug Verona James trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and National Opera Studio. In 1986 she won the Welsh Singers Competition.

Buddug has performed roles for Almeida Opera, Cleveland Opera (USA), Dutch National Opera, English Pocket Opera, English Touring Opera, Glyndebourne, Lanternhouse International, Opera Atelier (Canada), Opera Circus, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, Opera Northern Ireland, Opera Theatre Company (Dublin), Opera Players, Travelling Opera, Opera 80, Operavox Cartoons, Mid Wales Opera, Music Theatre Wales and Siobhan Davies Dance Company. She has premiered in operas by Gerald Barry, Jonathan Dove, Deirdre Gribbin, Julian Joseph, Wolfgang Rihm and John Woolrich. In 2020 she recorded the role of Ogwen in Opra Sebon: Golch dy ddwylo for OPRA Cymru. Buddug’s one-woman shows; Castradiva by Mark Ryan and A Knife at the Opera by Chris Harris have toured to Croatia, Ireland and numerous theatres and festivals in the UK including Edinburgh and Buxton.

Her concert performances include; Mozart’s Ch’io mi scordi di te with Jane Glover and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, the title role in Juditha Triumphans at the Vivaldi Festival, London, Matthäus Passion with Paul Steinitz, Johannes Passion with Thomas Dausgaard, Theodora for Paul McCreesh, Bach Cantatas with John Georgiadis and the London Virtuosi, Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Elijah at the Royal National Eisteddfod with Owain Arwel Hughes, Messiahwith Lim Yau and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Raymond Calcraft at Exeter Cathedral, Dvorak Mass at the Auditorio Nacional, Madrid and Falla’s El Amor Brujowith George Vass at the Presteigne Festival. In recital, she has performed with Benjamin Bayl, Raymond Calcraft, Dearbhla Collins, Martin Cousin, Wyn Davies, Jonathan Dove, Gretel Dowdeswell, Iwan Llywelyn Jones, Andrew Wilson-Dickson and Caradog Williams. Buddug has premiered works by Gerald Barry, Elfyn M Jones, James MacMillan, Pwyll ap Sion, Phyllis Tate, Andrew Wilson-Dickson and most recently a song cycle composed for her by the celebrated British composer Jonathan Dove.

Buddug’s recordings include; Thomas Chilcot songs with Andrew Wilson-Dickson and the Welsh Baroque Orchestra (Meridian), Arias by Handel and Gluck featured in Castradiva, The James Sisters sing Gospel, Caneuon y Werin/Songs of the People – Folk Songs from the British Isles and America arranged by Haydn, Howells, Tate, Wilson-Dickson, Pwyll ap Sion, James MacMillan and Jonathan Dove (Fflach), The Intelligence Park (Faranesi) by Gerald Barry (NMC Records).

She has also undertaken various acting roles for BBC, HTV, S4C, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Torch Theatre and Theatr peña.  Her most recent roles include Mrs Ogmore Pritchard in Kevin Allen’s film adaptation of Under Milk.