Alistair, 22, is a final year music student at Birmingham Conservatoire, studying Vocal and Operatic Performance as a Bass-Baritone.
Originally from Northampton, Alistair started his singing career as a boy chorister at All Saints Church, before joining the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Alistair sings with the National Youth Choir, and is also a Senior Lay Clerk at St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham where he featured as a soloist on their recent broadcast of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3.
He is also a member of the Chamber Choir of Birmingham Conservatoire, conducted by Paul Spicer. Outside of choral singing, Alistair regularly appears in operatic productions at Birmingham Conservatoire, as well as performing in the chorus of the Dorset Opera Festival 2016. Notable performances include ‘Blow’ in Venus and Adonis (title role), Verdi’s Macbeth (Chorus), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Chorus), Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Alidoro), and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Geharnischte Mann).
Future engagements include singing the bass solos in Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Birmingham Cathedral, and playing the role of Dr Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Phillipa Thomas studied music at the University of York, winning the University Concerto Prize. Following her MA, she continued her training at Birmingham Conservatoire where she won the Conservatoire Singing Prize.
In 2017 Phillipa’s performance of ‘Carmen’ for Dulwich Opera Company was described as “the best Carmen I’ve seen since Maria Ewing… at Glyndebourne in the ’80s.” (Louise Flind – Opera Today). Other recent roles include ‘Cherubino’ (Le nozze di Figaro, East London Opera), ‘Dorabella’ (Cosi fan tutte, Dulwich Opera Company), ‘Giovanna’ (Rigoletto, Nevill Holt Opera), and ‘Orlofsky’ (Die Fledermaus, Fulham Opera Young Artist).
Recent solo engagements include Bach’s Cantata No. 48 (RPO under Ben Pope), Duruflé’s Requiem (Bristol Choral Society under Hilary Campbell), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (King’s College Cambridge under Stephen Cleobury). Phillipa has recently finished recording alto solos for numerous oratorios as part of a project with the professional ensemble Blossom Street Singers. Previously performed works include Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, Dvorak’s Mass in D, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Requiem and Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Requiem, Purcell’s Come ye Sons of Art, and Vivaldi’s Gloria for various choral societies in the UK.
Stour Singers are delighted that Darren Jeffery – who excelled in the title role in Handel’s Saul for us in May this year – has accepted our invitation to be the 2017/18 Honorary Fellow. Darren’s expressive bass baritone voice is very versatile, and he is completely at home on both the operatic stage and the concert platform. Starting his musical training at the Royal Northern College of Music, Darren was one of the very first singers to join the Royal Opera Young Artists Programme (even singing there with Luciano Pavarotti!).
Darren has built an extensive career, singing a diversity of roles from Handel to Wagner, from Britten to Stravinsky, in some of the great opera houses of the world from our own Royal Opera House and English National Opera to Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. He has also sung at Glyndebourne, Garsington, and the Proms. Based with his family in Cornwall, he can often be seen restoring Land Rovers and tinkering with tractors as well as encouraging young local singers!
Darren’s programme from now until summer next year includes a premiere at English National Opera, oratorio in Bude, Dartington, and Liverpool, singing ‘Monterone’ in Verdi’s Rigoletto at Covent Garden, Britten in Moscow, and an extensive tour of the Netherlands in the title role of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman. Closer to us, Darren is singing at Longborough Festival Opera in July next year as the ‘Music Teacher’ in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. What a full programme!
When invited to be our Honorary Fellow, Darren said he would love to accept, and was thrilled to be asked. The thrill is ours!