CAST MEMBERS - PAST AND PRESENT

THEDA AMENDA-LEHMANN – Chorus


Theda saw her first opera at the age of eight and the musical die was cast.

She studied music at Royal Holloway and holds the Opera Diploma from Birkbeck College, where she also studied Kunstlieder and sacred repertoire.

As the world of operetta is THE place to be for a petite soprano, Theda has merrily sung and danced her way through Die Fledermaus, Orpheus in the Underworld’ and of course The Merry Widow, to name but a few, as well as most of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, with a variety of opera companies and, now, Tarantara Productions.







 

ALEXANDER BAKER – Captain Corcoran and Strephon


Alexander Robin Baker trained at the GSMD and at the National Opera Studio. He has appeared at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Glyndbourne Touring Opera and English National Opera amongst others in the UK. For ENO he appeared as Samuel in Mike Leigh’s production of Pirates of Penzance.

He has also appeared with many European Opera companies most notably with Bergen Nasjonale Opera in Norway. He has also appeared with many orchestras in concert both in the UK and Europe. Future engagements include a return to Norway and a debut in Japan with the Hyogo Performing Arts Centre.




 

SARAH BORGES – Chorus


Born in the back waters of Mississippi, Sarah spent her formative years in Seattle, before moving to London in 2000 where she gained a BA(Hons) in Acting from Rose Bruford College. A life-long love of choral singing, combined with her acting training, has enabled her to enjoyed a varied career in theatre, voice over, singing and commercial work.

Previous work includes; A Class Act, at the Landor Theatre, London; numerous audiobooks recorded both commercially and for the RNIB; commercial campaigns, including Aunt Bessie’s, ASDA, and Boots; and several seasons as a soloist and ensemble singer in The Thursford Christmas Spectacular. www.sarahborges.co.uk





 

REBECCA BOTTONE – Josephine


Rebecca studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Appearances include First Innocent in Birtwistle’s Minotaur (world premiere) and First Niece Peter Grimes (ROH)‚ Cricket/Parrott in Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (Opera North, world premiere and Minnesota, US premiere)‚ Blonde Die Entfürung aus dem Serail (Aix-en-Provence conducted by Minkowski)‚ Marie in Wainwright’s Prima Donna (world premiere, Manchester Festival)‚ Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garsington)‚ Queen Tye Akhnaten and Amanda Le Grand Macabre (ENO)‚ A Little Night Music‚ Sweeney Todd‚ The Sound of Music and Carousel (Châtelet)‚ Clorinda La Cenerentola, Mabel The Pirates of Penzance, Yum-Yum the Mikado (Scottish Opera), Rosmene Imeneo (Barbican)‚ Maid Powder Her Face (ROH), Peter Pan and Pelléas et Mélisande (WNO)‚ Ilia Idomeneo (Blackheath Halls)‚ and Hugh Wood’s Epithalamion (BBC Proms).







 

ASHLEY BREMNER – Bosun, Earl Mountararat, Chorus


Ashley studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Performances include: Donner in Das Rheingold, cover Gunther in Götterdämmerung (Scottish Opera); Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Sharpless in Butterfly, Germont in La Traviata (Swansea City Opera); Restaurant Waiter and Ship’s Steward in Death in Venice (The Aldeburgh Festival); Sonora in La fancuilla del West and Moralès in Carmen (Wexford Opera and Raymond Gubbay); Football Hooligan in Playing Away (Bregenz Festival); Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Armonico); The Pirate King and Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance; The Lieutenant in The Yeomen of the Guard (Carl Rosa); Blifil (recording of Edward German’s Tom Jones-Naxos); Pish-Tush in The Mikado (Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society); Don Giovanni (Bath Opera).







 

BARRY CLARK – Sir Joseph Porter and The Lord Chancellor


Barry began his career with the D’Oyly Carte Company,later working with companies such as Scottish Opera,and New Sadlers Wells.

Later,he toured,as Failsham,in Novello’s “Perchance to Dream” and sang Camille in “The Merry Widow” starring Sally Ann Howes.

In 1986 he joined the original cast of “Phantom of The Opera”,as The Auctioneer and later, Piangi.

He was Pirelli in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at Bristol Old Vic and was in Sir Peter Hall’s Company for “Born Again” at Chichester.

Barry has played many of the so-called “patter roles” in G&S for Carl Rosa Opera and others.


 

MARK LEIGH CUNNINGHAM – Chorus


Mark was born and bred in Cwmbran, South Wales, Mark has a 1st Class Bachelor of Music Degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire in 1999, and then followed this on the Opera Course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama Opera Course in London.

He has worked extensively in the UK and abroad performing with such companies as: Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Swansea City Opera, Garsington Opera, Savoy Opera, The D’Oyly Carte, Buxton Festival Opera, Opera Holland Park, Mid Wales Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, Michigan Opera and Opera Lyon. In 2005 Mark understudied and played the role of Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End.

Last year Mark was asked to be part of the inaugural International Gilbert and Sullivan UK tour, performing in 4 Operettas throughout the Spring and Summer. Since finishing the tour Mark has turned his hand to teaching singing in secondary schools in and around his new home of Dronfield, North Derbyshire and is loving helping the singers of the future.


 

ANDREW DICKINSON – Ralph Rackstraw and Earl Tolloller


Andrew hails from Liverpool and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2011. Recent roles include Dancairo in Carmen (Scottish Opera), Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress (Bury Court Opera) and Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia (Glyndebourne). Andrew has sung Messiah across Central and Eastern Europe, including venues such as Stephansdom Cathedral in Vienna and the Lizst Academy in Budapest. Forthcoming appearances include 3rd Jew in Salome, Pollux in Die Liebe Danae and Da Ud in Die Egyptische Helena for Deutsche Oper’s Strauss Festival (Spring 2016), as well as Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Nights’ Dream in Japan (July 2016).



 

BELINDA EVANS – Celia and Chorus


Coloratura soprano Belinda Evans, born and raised in Somerset, obtained a Vocal Diploma at the Welsh College of Music and Drama following a BA(Hons) Music Degree from Bath Spa University College.

She is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and now studies with Laura Sarti. Recent operatic roles include Venus, Venus and Adonis, Opera Lyrica; Despina, Così fan tutte and Norina, Don Pasquale with Pavilion Opera; Violetta, La Traviata, Opera UK; Frasquita, Carmen and Musetta, La bohème, New Devon Opera; Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte, Savannah Philharmonic USA and Mimì in Opera Up Close’s Award winning production of La bohème at the Soho Theatre.

Please visit www.belindaevans.co.uk for further information and forthcoming events.


 

DAVID FURNELL – Chorus


David trained at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Theatre credits include – Mercedes in La Cage aux Folles, Motel in Fiddler on the Roof, (recreating the role at the international Dolman festival, Big Jule in Guys and Dolls, Sancho in Man of La Mancha, Antonio in Gondoliers, Camille in Merry Widow, Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld, Dr Blind in Die Fledermaus, Alice Plate in Franks Closet.

West End appearances include The Mikado, Iolanthe, The Pirates of Penzance.

For Carl Rosa Opera David has toured all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Canada, America, and many national tours of the U.K. He is also Staff Director and choreographer for their productions of Mikado, Iolanthe, H.M.S, Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, Die Fledermaus, Gondoliers, Patience and most recently choreographed The Mikado for their West End Season staring Alistair McGowan.

As guest soloist David has appeared with many orchestras including The London Pops Orchestra, Midland Light Orchestra, English National Ensemble to name a few. and also appears regularly in Oratorio, Opera galas and many corporate Engagements

David is a regular performer at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.

As an Actor David has appeared in Tom Jones, Peak Practice, Casualty, Soldier Soldier, Hetty Wainthropp, and most recently can be seen as a featured Singer in three of the Go Compare Adverts.

David is the shorter half of the cabaret duo The Opera Gents with Toby Hunt.

 

ANTHONY HARRIS – Chorus


Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama (2011), Vocal studies continue with Kathryn Harries. Opera and Theatre includes Patience (Cover Duke), The Gondoliers (Cover Francesco), Iolanthe, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore (The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, UK Tour), Carmen, The Magic Flute (Nevill Holt Opera and Ryedale Opera), The Merry Widow and Fiddler on The Roof (CLASSICFest Opera), Triple Bill Puppet Opera (Third Hand Opera) and Ivor Novello – The Great British Musical (London Hippodrome), Free as Air and London Revival Cast Recording (Finborough Theatre, London).

Classical Repertoire includes Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, St. John Passion, The London Reqiuem (BBC, Original CD Recording), The Pepys Motet and Four Colours (Original CD Recording).

Solo concerts include Evenings with Anthony, session recording for radio and TV.

Anthony is involved in the training of young singers as a singing teacher, and is heavily involved with The London Youth Choirs and International Children’s Voices of Enfield.

 

SUSANNE HOLMES – Cousin Hebe and Iolanthe


Susanne trained at the RCM and the Flanders Opera Studio, Belgium. Recent opera performances include Suzuki, Hansel, Pitti-Sing, Anna (Intermezzo), Dido, Mercedes, Dorabella, Mignon, Baba the Turk, Celia (La Fedeltà Premiata), Third girl (The House of the Sleeping Beauties, La Monnaie, Brussels and LOD), Der Trommler (Der Kaiser von Atlantis), Nympha (L’Euridice), Hamor (Jephtha), Papagena and Second Lady. Concert performances include Handel’s Messiah, Dixit Dominus, Samson and Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno; Beethoven’s Mass in C, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Harmoniemesse; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Mass in b minor, and Weihnachts-Oratorium; and Mahler’s Symphony IV.


 

TOBY HUNT – Carpenter and Chorus


Toby trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His first engagement was with Carl Rosa in their West End season at the Gieldgud theatre performing The Mikado, Iolanthe and Pirates of Penzance. Other work for Carl Rosa includes a tour of the US as ‘Carpenter’ in HMS Pinafore, ‘4th Yeomen’ in Yeoman of the Guard at the Tower of London and cover ‘Private Willis’ in Iolanthe at Chichester Festival Theatre.At the Buxton Gilbert and Sullivan Festival Toby has appeared in The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, Trial By Jury, Ruddigore and as ‘2nd Yeoman’ in Yeoman of the Guard.

Other operatic engagements include; cover ‘Scarrione’ in Tosca (Grange Park Opera), ‘Frosch’ Die Fledermaus (Bloomsbury Opera), ‘Colline’ La Boheme (Opera Bohemia), cover ‘Mars/John Styx’ Orpheus in the Underworld and cover ‘Dr. Grenvil’ La Traviata (Scottish Opera).

Outside the classical world Toby has worked as a session musician and as a backing vocalist to singers such as Rod Stewart and has done over 300 performances as a singing waiter!

Toby is the taller half of the cabaret duo The Opera Gents with David Furnell.

 

ABIGAIL IVESON – Josephine


Born on the Wirral, Abigail trained as a ballet dancer before entering the Royal Northern College of Music as a singer. Her roles oles include Thisbe Lampe’s Pyramus and Thisbe for Yorke Trust Opera, The Sorceress Dido and Anaeas with Coastal Opera, Bridesmaid Un Giorno di Regno for Iford and Stanley Hall Festivals, Pitti-sing The Mikado for Buxton Festival, Opera della Luna, Carl Rosa Opera Company and more recently in the Raymond Gubbay production directed by Simon Butteriss at the Royal Festival Hall.

Abigail has also sung Josephine H.M.S Pinafore for the Raymond Gubbay Tour (The Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Edinburgh Usher Hall and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall), and for Carl Rosa Opera Company, Edith The Pirates of Penzance in the Raymond Gubbay Spring Tour, Aline The Sorcerer for Opera della Luna, Valencienne The Merry Widow in the Cyprus, Lanzarote and Buxton Festivals and more recently Hanna Glawari The Merry Widow for Opera Danube at St John’s Smith Square, London. As regular soloist with London Festival Opera, she has just returned from Italy after performing Puccini galas at the Palazzo Belmonte, Castellabate, and at the Ca Rezzonico in Venice. On the concert platform, her repertoire includes Mozart’s Vespers, Mass in C minor and Requiem, Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions, Handel’s Messiah and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. With the National Symphony Orchestra, Abigail has performed as a guest soloist in their ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concerts and the Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder in Liverpool. The winner of the Annie Ridyard prize awarded by Sir Edward Downes, she is also a major scholar of the Sir Peter Moores Foundation, and is most grateful for his generous support.

Future engagements include opera galas with London Festival Opera in Germany, Russia and Venice.

 

VICTORIA JOYCE – Phyllis


Victoria graduated from the RNCM and has sung principal roles for English National Opera, Welsh National Opera,English Touring Opera,Opera Holland Park,Grange Park Opera, Aldeburgh Festival and Buxton Festival as well as 2 tours of Britain’s major concert halls as the star of Raymond Gubbay’s Strauss Spectacular.

Internationally, performances include principal roles with the Hamburg Staatsoper, Dresden Semperoper,Frankfurt Oper,Berlin Komische Oper,Rossini Festival Pesaro,Opera Limoges, Macerata Festival,and with the orchestra of the Paris Opera. Uk concerts include Royal Festival Hall, Barbican,Bridgewater Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall in repertoire ranging from Carmina Burana to an Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan.

Recent projects include a live broadcast of Gilbert and Sullivan on BBC radio 2 for Friday Night is Music Night with the BBC concert Orchestra and a series of concerts with the world renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

 

MELANIE LODGE – Leila and Chorus


Melanie Lodge as a mezzo-soprano, is at home playing a range of boys, bags and bitches. Her roles this past year have included the title role in Carmen, creating the role of Mother in The Doll Behind the Curtain for the Tête à Tête Festival, and appearing in the extra chorus of several productions with English National Opera. She therefore has no experience of playing fairies, angels or young beautiful daughters. Due to this harsh type-casting in conjunction with having always been consigned to the colour purple in the rainbow for her school nativity plays, Melanie (with her persistent aversion to all things purple) relishes this opportunity to channel her inner Tinkerbell – though the reality may be closer to fairy godmother.






 

FRANCES McCAFFERTY – Buttercup and Queen of the Fairies


Frances McCafferty has been associated with Gilbert and Sullivan for more than 20 years. She has performed with the D’Oyly Carte, singing Kate, Katisha and Buttercup and with whom she has recorded Patience and HMS Pinafore. She has sung Katisha for English National Opera, Pala Fenice and the Nationale Reisopera in the Netherlands and has sung in concert performances with the Halle and CBSO. For the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival she has sung the Queen of the Fairies and Lady Blanche in Princess Ida.

Frances also has a G&S one woman show, The Merry Maiden.





 

GEMMA MORSLEY – Fleta and Chorus


Gemma Morsley’s operatic roles include the title role in Carmen (Opera South East), La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi (Fulham Opera), Maddalena in Rigoletto (Opera Loki), Flora in La traviata (The Merry Opera Company), Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Oyster Opera), and Second Lady in The Magic Flute (Zeist Opera Festival). Chorus work includes Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and The G&S Opera Company.

Last summer Gemma appeared as Fruma Sarah in Grange Park Opera’s acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof opposite Bryn Terfel, which also played at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms season.








 

RICHARD NAXTON – Chorus


Richard grew up in a G&S-loving household, began performing at age fourteen and, following a career in the City, actually made his professional debut with the D’Oyly Carte at The Savoy. He has since enjoyed a decade singing at the International G&S Festival in Buxton, as well as countless concert and other performances. When not G&S-ing, Richard spends his time as a freelance singer, actor and voice artist based in Germany, but devotes significant time to the crossover group ‘Gregorian’, with whom he will be touring Europe-wide for most of the first half of 2016.







 

CIARA O’CONNOR – Chorus


Ciara O’Connor graduated from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2010 with a BMus(Hons) in performance after four years studying at the Junior Royal Academy. Her first G&S role was Ralph Rackstraw, aged 15 and marked the beginning of a very happy G&S journey including performances at Waterford International Festival (Edith, The Pirates of Penzance), Finborough Theatre (Elsa, The Grand Duke), David Josefowitz Recital Hall, London (The Plantiff, Trial by Jury) and for consecutive years she has been Ensemble/Cover for the Gilbert & Sullivan National Opera Company. When not performing Ciara is happiest on the netball court and is fiercely competitive!









 

KEEL WATSON – Dick Deadeye and Private Willis


Keel Watson studied singing and trombone at Trinity College of Music with Elizabeth Hawes and Roger Brenner.

Recent operatic highlights include the title role Der fliegende Holländer for Fulham Opera, Macbeth for English Pocket Opera at Central Saint Martins and Il Re Aida and Caterpillar Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Opera Holland Park. Major concert engagements include Porgy and Bess with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Carmina Burana in the Royal Festival Hall and A Child of our Time with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Recordings include The Cunning Little Vixen (BBC) and Kenneth Branagh’s film of The Magic Flute.