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Clonter is delighted to present a recital given by the winner of The Betty Bannerman Award for French Song 2020 (Formerly known as the Claire Croiza Betty Bannerman Award), soprano Rachel Speirs, accompanied by Robin Humphreys.

This award is given to a student at the Royal Northern College of Music, adjudicated by internationally acclaimed soprano Joan Rodgers CBE and Clonter’s founder, Jeffery Lockett MBE.

Betty Bannerman was the mother of Jeffery Lockett.

For further info on Betty Bannerman – https://www.clonter.org/about-clonter/betty-bannerman/


Rachel Speirs Recital – Promo


Rachel Speirs Recital – Premiere


Rachel Speirs – Soprano

Scottish Soprano Rachel Speirs is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music where she won the Betty Bannerman Award for French Song 2020, the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the singing of Strauss in 2019 adjudicated by Simon Keenlyside, and was a finalist in the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Prize in 2020 adjudicated by Dame Ann Murray and Sarah Tynan. In 2020 Rachel sang the role of Maria Bertram in Mansfield Park conducted by Nicholas Kok and directed by Stephen Barlow, and was due to join Grange Park Opera and Wexford Festival Opera for their Summer seasons, as well as making her debut at the Bridgewater Hall with the BBC Philharmonic singing the 1st Soprano Solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. In 2021 Rachel will sing the role of Lotty with Retrospect Opera for their revival recording of G.A. MacFarren’s The Soldier’s Legacy. Recent operatic engagements include Voice of a Bird The Pilgrim’s Progress conducted by David Parry, Suor Osmina Suor Angelica with Martin Andre, and Mustardseed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for RNCM Opera, as well as Papagena/cover Pamina The Magic Flute for Flat Pack Music. Chorus appearances include Carmen and Madame Butterfly  with Heritage Opera, and The Rake’s Progress directed by Stephen Unwin and Don Giovanni directed by James Hurley for British Youth Opera. Rachel sings regularly in recital and on the concert platform, and has been praised particularly for her interpretation of German Lieder. Recent concert engagements include Haydn’s The Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Bach’s Weihnachts -Oratorium. Recital highlights include regular appearances in the Haddon Hall lunchtime recital series, and performances of Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with pianist Caroline Clemmow and clarinettist Linda Merrick, principal of the RNCM. Rachel also premiered John Joubert’s final work for the voice ‘Remember’ alongside the Villiers Quartet and recorderist John Turner at the William Alwyn Festival in Blythburgh in 2018. Rachel enjoys a busy schedule of outreach work as a SoundUp Artist, bringing music to people living with dementia, and has worked in a similar capacity for The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Healthy Arts, and The Sixteen Education Department.

Full Biog – https://www.rachelspeirssoprano.com


Robin Humphreys – Accompanist

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 productions from the late 1990s until 2013. He has appeared with the Manchester Camerata in the world premiere 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 Festivals.


This broadcast will be available to watch free of charge.


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