WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

SIR SIMON KEENLYSIDE – Baritone – 1984 & 1987

Sir Simon Keenlyside made his operatic debut, as a British Baritone, here at Clonter Opera Theatre in 1984. “I learned a lot and am grateful for the platform, which was my first attempt at an opera, which has since taken me all over the world,” he recalls. Simon became so successful, he first appeared in the Royal Opera House just 6 years later as Ping from Turandot. From 1994 onwards, Simon has performed with The Royal Opera almost every season. He has landed roles in various operas, such as Don GiovanniDie Zauberflöte, La traviata and Macbeth (including on tour in Japan with The Royal Opera). He was appointed a CBE in 2003 and awarded a knighthood in 2018.

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AMANDA ROOCROFT – Soprano – 1984

Amanda Roocroft’s first appearance Clonter Opera, 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 Jenufa in 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.

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JONATHAN LEMALU – Bass Baritone – 2000 & 2001

Jonathan’s association with Clonter Opera Theatre 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.

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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 premiere 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.

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NATALYA ROMANIW – Soprano – 2010 & 2011

Natalya won the Clonter Opera prize in 2010, and performed the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor for Clonter Opera in 2011. She went on to cover Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo for 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 sings Tatyana Eugene Onegin, in her house debut with Welsh National Opera, and for Scottish Opera in a new production by Oliver Mears. Looking further ahead, Natalya will make her debut with English National Opera as Mimì La bohème.

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JUNG SOO YUN – Tenor  2011

South Korean tenor Jung Soo Yun has studied at Yonsei University in Seoul, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Cardiff International Academy of Voice. He received the Richard Tauber Prize in 2010 and was the winner of the 2011 Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition. 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.

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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 (having first covered the role at Clonter in 2011), 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.

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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. Marta is proud to be a Susan Chilcott Scholar and Concordia Foundation Artist.

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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 makes a house debut at the Welsh National Opera in 2018/2019 season in the same role.

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RAPHAELA PAPADAKIS – Soprano – 2012 & 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 Raphaela 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. Rafaela 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 and future roles include the cover of the title role in Cavalli’s Hipermestra at Glyndebourne Fesitval Opera and Orestilla in Porpora’s L’Agrippina in its British premiere with Barber Opera.

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GÉRARD SCHNEIDER – Tenor – 2013 & 2014

Gérard Schneider made his first appearance at Clonter Opera Theatre in 2013 as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and since then he appeared in the 2014 Opera Gala. He studied voice with Adrian Thompson and Yvonne Kenny as a member of the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Gérard’s awards include the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Prize, and the Australian Opera Auditions Committee Prize. He has appeared with, among others, the State Opera of SA, West Australian Opera, and Co-Opera in roles including Rodolfo La bohème, Bardolfo Falstaff, Luigi Il tabarro, Ferrando Così fan tutte, and as Don Basilio and Curzio Le nozze di Figaro in both Wiesbaden, Germany and Bregenz, Austria. Highlights of Gérard’s operatic work include the title role in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito in Salzburg and in Florence’s the Teatro Comunale. Having achieved a strong presence internationally, he has appeared throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall, Wexford Festival Opera and the Salzburger. Looking to the future, Gérard will be joining the Ensemble at Oper Frankfurt performing Der Hirt in Krol Roger and the Prince in Rusalka. Also, he will be making his debut in the role of Gounod’s Faust in a new production at Opera Omaha.

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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. She is the winner of the 2015 Maggie Teyte Prize and a 2017 Leonard Ingrams Award. Alison studied on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, 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, Vixen The Cunning Little Vixen Grimeborn Festival, Frasquita Carmen (understudy) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lady in Waiting Gloriana St Endellion Festival, Miranda The Dancing Master GSMD, Bětuška The Cunning Peasant GSMD and Servilia La clemenza di Tito RNCM. 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. Future engagements include performing the role of Barbarina in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in her debut with English National Opera. Alison continues her studies in London with Gary Coward.

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HENRY NEILL – Baritone – 2017

Henry performed the title role in Clonter’s production of The Marriage of Figaro in 2018. Henry graduated from the Royal Academy of Music Opera School. He was the winner of the 2016 Royal Overseas League Singer’s Prize and 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 Conte (Le nozze di Figaro – RAO), Smirnov (The Bear – RAO), 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.