OPERA GALA – LONDON
Tuesday 12th November 2019 - 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm
“Classy young singers, a world-class repetiteur and slickly staged set of pieces… Whenever Clonter is unearthed from its Northern roots, it rightly receives huge commendation for its work…” Louise Christie, Opera Today 2017.
For those based in the south, Clonter’s Gala will be transferring to the elegant 18th Century ballroom, originally designed by Robert Adam, at the Lansdowne Club on Tuesday 12th November – Now bookable online.
The opera gala consists of a variety of well loved opera arias, duets, and ensembles, followed by some musical theatre classics, in a well established operative prelude to Christmas, and is ideal for anyone who has not been to an opera before, but would like to dip their toe in the water, before committing to a full blown one. Each item is set into context by the director, so no prior knowledge necessary.
For this year’s Opera Gala, Clonter is delighted to welcome back Alexandra Lowe (Soprano), who took part in the 2017 Masterclasses and Spring Opera Showcase, returning this February as the Guildhall School of Music And Drama, as their nominee for the Opera Prize Concert, and winning first prize, and performing the role of Donna Elvira in Clonter summer production of Don Giovanni. Also returning to Clonter is Andrew Henley (Tenor), who will be performing the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Alexandra Oomens (Soprano), who will be performing the role of Zerlina, and Stephanie Maitland (Mezzo-soprano), who took part in the 2018 Masterclasses and Spring Opera Showcase. Clonter is delighted to welcome Benson Wilson (Baritone) and Oliver Platt (Director) for the first time.
Hailing from Monmouth, Andrew studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is a recent graduate of the National Opera Studio. He studies with Gary Coward, supported by the WNO Sir John Moores Award. He was with winner of the 2019 Dunraven Young Welsh Singer of the Year. Roles at RWCMD included Fenton Falstaff, Albert Albert Herring and Schoolmaster The Cunning Little Vixen. Operatic engagements have included Tybalt Romeo and Juliet with Opéra de Lyon, Novice Billy Budd with the St. Endellion Festival, Lechmere Owen Wingrave with British Youth Opera, Major (cover) Patience with English Touring Opera, Kekikako Bataclan with West Green House, Christoph Kommilitonen! with Welsh National Youth Opera and excerpts of Rodolfo La Boheme with ROH Reimagined, in association with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. 2019 engagements include Father Grenville Dead Man Walking with Welsh National Opera, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni with Clonter Opera and Heinrich von Schreiber Tannhäuser with the Stadttheater Klagenfurt. Concert engagements have included Mendelssohn Elijah at Cadogan Hall with the City of London Sinfonia, an opera highlights concert with the WNO Orchestra conducted by Carlo Rizzi at BBC Hoddinot Hall, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge with Nicola Rose as a supporting event for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Beethoven An die ferne Geliebte with Michael Pollock, Verdi Requiem at St. Paul’s Covent Garden, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and Purcell The Fairy Queen, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, both with the CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall.
Alexandra is a Spanish/English soprano who recently completed her training at the Guildhall Opera School. She previously graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree and a Masters of Music from the RNCM. Most recent competitions and awards include The Clonter Opera Prize, the Elisabeth Harwood Prize and the Kennedy Award for Singing Strauss. She is a recipient of a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Sarah Brightman Scholarship. In 2018 she became a Samling Artist. Operatic roles performed at the GSMD and/or the RNCM include Fiordiligi, Helena, Lucia I/II, Anna Gomez, Rose Maurrant,Theodora and Métella. Professionally she has played Fiordiligi (Neville Holt Opera) and Barena (Grange Park Opera). Roles at BYO include The Bride/Wife/Mother and Mrs. Coyle. In August Alexandra will be playing Barbarina and covering Contessa at The New Generation Festival in Florence, before joining the National Opera Studio in September 2019.
Stephanie Maitland is a Scottish mezzo-soprano studying on the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music, under the tuition of Jane Irwin. Over the summer, she was an Alvarez Young Artist with Garsington Opera, covering the role of Mrs Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, conducted by Richard Farnes and directed by Louisa Muller, and singing in the chorus of The Bartered Bride by Smetana, conducted by Jac van Steen and directed by Paul Curran. Since starting at the RNCM, Stephanie has sang the roles of Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen in 40minutes, the Sandman in RNCM’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata for the John Manduell Commemoration Concert, La Principessa in Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi in RNCM’s Puccini double bill and Madam By-ends and Alto soloist in RNCM’s spring production of Vaughan William’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. She has also sang in a masterclass with Dame Ann Murray and was involved in Clonter Opera’s Spring Opera Showcase. She was also involved in the first recording of Cellier’s Dorothy with Richard Bonynge, released by NAXOS. During the previous summer, she sang with Buxton International Festival, singing chorus and covering the role of Zuma in Verdi’s Alzira and singing chorus in Mozart’s Idomeneo. Future engagements include singing the role of La Prieure in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at RNCM. Stephanie was also a semi-finalist in By Voice Alone and won a Singer’s Preparation Award from Audition Oracle. Stephanie is generously supported by The Cross Trust and by Help Musicians UK. She is a recipient of the Alice Orrell and A&N Kendall Award and previously held a Sybil Tutton Award from Help Musicians UK.
Australian soprano Alexandra Oomens recently graduated from Royal Academy Opera, studying with Lillian Watson and Jonathan Papp. In 2017 Alexandra made her European debut as a soloist at the Concertgebouw in the Holland Festival, with Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. Alexandra in an alumna of the Georg Solti Academy, studying under Meastro Alessandro Corbelli, Barbara Frittoli, and Sir Richard Bonynge. Whilst with Royal Academy Opera, Alexandra has performed such roles as Vixen – The Cunning Little Vixen (Janacek), Semele – Semele (Handel), La Princess & La Chauve-Souris – L’enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel), Laurette – Le Docteur Miracle (Bizet), Tina – Flight (Dove), Cupidon – Orphée Aux Enfers (Offenbach), and Damigella – L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi). Other roles include Clizia – Teseo (London Handel Festival), Isabelle – L’Amant, Jaloux, Lisel – The Chimney Sweep, Alinda – Giasone (Pinchgut Opera), Childerico – Faramondo, and Belinda and 2nd Lady – Dido & Aeneas (Brisbane Baroque). Alexandra holds an MA and Dip RAM for an outstanding final recital from the Academy, and a BMus (Hons) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Alexandra is extremely grateful for the generosity and sponsorship of the Carr-Gregory Trust Scholarship, and John Baker Opera Award.
Seán began his studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where he studied with Virginia Kerr. He has been invited to perform for several presidents of Ireland, HRH The Prince of Wales and at festivals across Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe and the U.S.A. He has studied and performed at the Aspen Music Festival & School and the Franz- Schubert-Institut in Vienna. Seán studied on the prestigious Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he was awarded a full
scholarship. His singing teacher is Robert Dean. This season Seán sang Guglielmo Così fan tutte and will sing Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Guildhall School. He was a member of the Alvarez Young Artist Programme at Garsington Opera for the 2019 season where he covered the title role in their new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni directed by Sir Michael Boyd and conducted by Douglas Boyd. Seán also covered the title role for a semi-staged performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, with the Orchestre Chambre de Paris. He will return to the role of Demetrius in Spring 2020 to cover the role for Scottish Opera in Glasgow & Edinburgh. Recently Seán sang Silvio Pagliacci, Frank Die Fledermaus, Olivier Capriccio for Guildhall School Opera Scenes and Notaio Gianni Schicci at the Barbican Hall with the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Also at the Guildhall School Seán has performed Dandini La Cenerentola & Hamlet (title role) in Guildhall School Opera Scenes as well as Assan The Consul (Guildhall School) & Novice’s Friend Billy Budd (St. Endellion Festival). In song he has collaborated with Graham Johnson, Iain Burnside, and Ann Murray DBE at the Guildhall School, Barbican Hall, Wigmore Hall (London), Lincoln Center (New York City) and National Concert Hall (Dublin). He took part in masterclasses with Dame Ann Murray during the Irish Culture in Britain Series at the Wigmore Hall before studying at the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien. In Austria, Seán studied with master teachers such as Elly Ameling, Robert Holl, Roger Vignoles & Julius Drake. In recital, Seán has performed at Song in the City, LSO St.Luke’s, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, Clifden Arts Festival, Galway, St. Columba’s Church, Ennis and Hillsborough Castle for HRH The Prince of Wales. Concert engagements include performances with the Ulster Orchestra, Galway Cathedral, the National Concert Hall, the Drogheda International Classical Music Series, the Abbey Theatre, the Dublin Fringe Festival and the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Also a talented pianist and organist, he has been the subject of several television and radio broadcasts in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and has also performed as an actor at the Abbey Theatre (National Theatre of Ireland), Dublin Fringe Festival and in numerous projects across Ireland. At the Guildhall school he was a Gwen Catley Scholar, supported by the Amar-Frances & Foster-Jenkins Trust.
Musical Director/Coach – Clive Timms
Clive Timms studied at Birmingham University and the London Opera Centre. He joined the music staff of ENO after a season with WNO and was subsequently appointed Assistant Music Director of Opera North on the company’s inception in 1978. For these companies he conducted a large number of performances of a varied operatic repertoire. He retired from the Guidhall School of Music & Drama in 2012 after 22 years as Head of Opera Studies, where in 2007 he was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for his work in the Opera Department. He was responsible for many notable productions, often of unusual and stimulating repertoire, the majority of which he conducted, latterly Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and the European première of Ned Rorem’s Our Town – and he continues to coach aspiring singers at the Guildhall School. His association with Clonter dates back to 1989 but more recently he has conducted the productions of La cenerentola, Lucia di Lammermoor, Hansel and Gretel, Die Fledermaus, Faust, Così fan tutte, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, and La bohème.
L’arlesiana, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Le Cenerentola, Suor Angelica, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Opera Holland Park); Iolanta and L’Enfant et les Sortileges Double Bill (Royal Academy of Music), Cosí fan Tutte (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), Der Freischütz (Blackheath Halls Opera), The Elixir of Love (Scottish Opera), La Cenerentola (Danish National Opera/nominated for a Reumert Prize); Owen Wingrave (The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); Werther (English Touring Opera) and scenes for the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music. Suor Angelica (and the revival of Gianni Schicchi) as part of Il Trittico (OHP) in 2015, was nominated for awards by the Royal Philharmonic Society and WhatsOnStage for best new production, and was chosen as one of The Telegraph’s best 5 productions of the year. Oliver has also worked extensively as an assistant/staff director, including productions at the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera Holland Park, English Touring Opera, Tête à Tête and the Royal College of Music for directors including Sir David McVicar, Barrie Kosky, Richard Jones and Kasper Holten.
Accompanist – Robin Humphreys
Robin Humphreys is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and a holder of the prestigious Diploma in Professional Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied piano accompaniment with David Lloyd. Appearing in concert both as a soloist and an accompanist for over 35 years, he now pursues a successful career as an accompanist and répétiteur, the breadth of his repertoire being reflected in television and radio broadcasts ranging from BBC Radio 3 to Emmerdale! At the RNCM, Robin is a senior music coach within the School of Vocal Studies, for whom he was also chief répétiteur on the majority of college opera productions from the late 1990s until 2013. He has appeared with the Manchester Camerata in the world première of “A Feast of Fables” by Paul Reade, has been Musical Director for Feelgood Theatre Productions and, from 1990-2000, Opera & Concert Productions (Worldwide) Ltd with whom he toured throughout the Gulf, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East. Robin has a particularly close association with Clonter Opera Theatre in Cheshire, where he regularly works as Assistant Musical Director and Accompanist. He is also an accompanist member of the British & International Federation of Festival.
Director – TBC
Opera Gala London – The Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, London W1J 5JD