Alan Fairs

Alan’s background was in church and choral music.  He was a chorister at Caius College, Cambridge, then bass lay clerk at Worcester Cathedral.  He also sang with several professional choirs, especially the BBC Singers, and developed a wide-ranging oratorio repertoire, with engagements for a large number of choral societies from Truro to Aberdeen.

After winning the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ national ‘Festival Days’ competition, he embarked on a full-time solo singing career, with many years of private study in singing.  After several solo recitals on Radio 3, and further oratorio concerts, he auditioned successfully for Glyndebourne, embarking on an award-winning operatic career which has spanned three decades.  He has performed many principal roles at Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and Covent Garden, as well as with other opera companies in the UK and abroad.

After this long career in opera, Alan has decided to focus on oratorio – where he began.  Concerts this year have included two performances of Stainer’s Crucifixion, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Haydn’s The Seasons, the Nelson Mass, the Stabat Maters of Rossini and Dvorak, Brahms’ German Requiem, Stanford’s Songs of the Fleet, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, a premiere of De Profundis by Piers Maxim, Dvorak’s Requiem and several performances of Messiah, with a Verdi Requiem to look forward to next year.  Over the past year, Alan has also given three performances of Barber’s Dover Beach with two string quartets.

With his wife, Heather, accompanying, he recently presented a ‘Teatime Entertainment’ – a light-hearted affair on Sunday afternoons, featuring Songs of Jerome Kern, Flanders and Swann, etc., which raised just short of £3,500 for the Save the Children Fund.  They offer the same for choral societies’ fundraising.

Besides his work as a singer, Alan is an economist, DIY enthusiast, and cook.  Since he drives a car to almost all his rehearsals and engagements, and lives far from London, he considers he must have driven well over half a million miles in his long career, and sometimes thinks of himself as being a professional driver, the bouts of singing being merely what happens between all the long journeys.  He has driven home to Bewdley, Worcestershire through Shipston very late at night on many occasions!

Richard Dowling

Richard Dowling

Richard Dowling is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music’s Opera Course, where he was privileged to perform the role of Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. He also particularly enjoyed appearing as Le Prince in Massenet’s Cendrillon, performing in the Wigmore Hall with the Academy Song Circle and as a soloist in the Academy’s complete Bach cantatas series. He is now generously supported by Opera Prelude, with whom he appears regularly in their lectures and recitals.

He recently sang the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with West Green Opera and, working with the inspirational Graham Vick, performed the role of the Sailor in Birmingham Opera Company’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. He has also worked in educational outreach, singing the role of Nemorino in Donizetti’s Elisir d’amore with Jackdaws OperaPLUS.

With Garsington Opera he performed as the Glassmaker in Britten’s Death in Venice conducted by Steuart Bedford, as Selimo in Rossini’s Maometto II, and Mosquito in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. He was pleased to be awarded Garsington Opera’s 2014 Simon Sandbach Award. He also sang the role of Count Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville as a young artist with Mid Wales Opera.

Richard is a keen recitalist, was a participant in the 2015 Wigmore Song Competition and recently gave a recital at Leighton House, Kensington, inspired by his life and paintings. He is also an experienced oratorio artist, engagements including Britten’s Ballad of Heroes and Mozart’s Requiem in the Bridgewater Hall, Finzi’s Dies Natalis in Brentwood Cathedral, Janacek’s Otcenas in Gorton Monastery and Handel’s Messiah in Lincoln Cathedral.

He also enjoys singing with the Gabrieli consort and with the Choir of the Age of Enlightenment, including a recent tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio under maestro Masaaki Suzuki.

Richard originally studied Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester and went on to complete a PhD in the field of crystallisation while working as a Lay Clerk at Manchester Cathedral.

Raphaela Papadakis

Raphaela Papadakis

London-born soprano Raphaela Papadakis, winner of the National Mozart Competition, made her professional début at Garsington Opera whilst still a student at the Guildhall School, for which she was praised by the Financial Times as giving “the most attractive solo performance” of the show.  Since then, she has gone on to perform roles with Independent Opera and Bury Court Opera, and covered at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Royal Opera House and the Berlin Staatsoper.  Operatic highlights this year include appearing as Mozart’s Susanna as reimagined by composer Ollie Brignall in a new opera called Roles, a Metta Theatre production taking place as part of the V&A’s Opera: Passion Power and Politics exhibition, and at West Green House Opera in her house début as Duzzwadeva in Morag Joss’ new English translation of Offenbach’s one act operetta Ba-ta-clan.

A passionate recitalist and concert singer, Raphaela made her début at Carnegie Hall in 2014, and this year has appeared at the Oxford Lieder Festival, the Beethoven Woche in Bonn, Musicfest Aberystwyth, St John’s Smiths Square and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, with collaborators such as Tom Poster, Sholto Kynoch, James Cheung and the Meta4 Quartet.

Raphaela’s other awards  include the York Early Music Festival Prize at the London Handel Festival, 1st Prize and Audience Prize at the Clonter Opera Competition, and 1st Prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards.  She is a Samling, IMA, and City Music Foundation Artist, and a winner of the Making Music Award for Young Concert Artists.  She is also a Selected Artist for Making Music’s brochure 2019/20.

Raphaela studied at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating with a first-class degree in English Literature.

For more information, please see her website raphaelapapadakis.com or follow her on twitter @raphaelasings

 

Robert Rice

After a choral scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge, British baritone Robert Rice gained a DipRAM in London under Mark Wildman, continuing his studies with Richard Smart, Sheila Barnes and Nicholas Powell.

Robert Rice

As a concert artist his repertoire is extensive and varied: highlights of last season included singing Humperdinck at the Berlin Konzerthaus, Mozart at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival, and concerts of Monteverdi, Bach, Dvorak, Vaughan Williams, Walton and Carl Orff.  Robert’s interest in performing contemporary classical music as a soloist began in his twenties when he tackled the modernist expressionism of Peter Maxwell Davies and Ligeti, and this led to staged premieres of works by Judith Bingham, Paul Clark and Nigel Osborne (with Opera Circus, touring the UK and Bosnia & Herzegovina).  In recent years he has been involved in premieres of diverse new works, those by Jacques Cohen, Philip Cooke, Paul Drayton and Piers Maxim being notable examples.  His future plans include further appearances as the various love interests of Alma Mahler in Elizabeth Mucha’s Art Sung project, and he debuts in April as Mydas in Franz von Suppé’s The Beautiful Galatea.  As a recitalist he often collaborates with German guitarist Erich Schachtner on programmes of lieder and lute songs.

Robert has recorded Judas in The Apostles with Canterbury Choral Society and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and his version of Cornelius’ Die Drei Könige (The Three Kings) with the choir Polyphony is a favourite on both Classic FM and BBC Radio 3 whenever Christmas approaches. When not performing, he leads workshops, adjudicates, and teaches widely, including for the National Youth Choir, Eton Choral Courses, and at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Novello & Co. Ltd have published many of his vocal arrangements, while others are sung worldwide, and have been recorded, by the King’s Singers. His nickname Berty has confused countless acquaintances. He often tries to arrange his singing engagements around skiing trips to the Alps, although aware that it should be the other way round.

Ruth Holton

Ruth Holton (Photograph by Gerald Place)

The soprano Ruth Holton has enjoyed a varied career as an oratorio singer and recitalist in repertoire ranging from medieval to contemporary music. Her interpretations of the passions and cantatas of JS Bach established her as a leading baroque soloist through concerts and recordings for Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Leipzig Thomanerchor, Amsterdam Baroque and the Holland Boys Choir. She has sung with leading ensembles throughout the world including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hilliard Ensemble, Fretwork and Ensemble Modern.

The clarity of Ruth’s voice makes her a popular choice for newly commissioned music and she has sung in premières of works by Steve Reich, Peter Salem, David Briggs, Guy Woolfenden and others.

In 2014 she toured Germany, England and the USA with the forte pianists Malcolm Bilson and Zvi Meniker in recitals marking CPE Bach’s 300th anniversary. More recently her concert repertoire has included Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, Verdi Requiem, Howells Hymnus Paradisi and Strauss Four Last Songs.

This season Ruth gives recitals of Schubert Lieder and new works by Robert Scott, and performances of Rutter Magnificat, Brahms Requiem and Mendelssohn Lobgesang.

Ruth has given masterclasses at Dartington, Madrid and Gdansk. She is the
Organist and Director of Music at All Saints West Dulwich, and she founded the community choir Sing4ALL in 2014.

Jubilate!

9th December 2017

St. Edmund’s Church, Shipston-on-Stour

Mozart, Exultate jubilate
Kuhnau, cantata Uns ist ein Kind geboren
J.S. Bach, cantata 191, Gloria in Excelsis Deo

with:

Robyn Allegra Parton – soprano

Phillipa Thomas * – mezzo-soprano

Robert Tilson * – tenor

Alistair Donaghue – bass baritone

(* by arrangement with Birmingham Conservatoire)

and the

Queen’s Park Sinfonia

and our rehearsal accompanist Rachel Bird on keyboard

Queen’s Park Sinfonia

Since its formation in 2002 the Midlands-based Queen’s Park Sinfonia has quickly established itself as one of the new generation of exciting chamber orchestras in the UK.  Queen’s Park Sinfonia offers the wealth of talented young graduate musicians in the region the opportunity to develop in a professional environment.

Often collaborating with highly acclaimed soloists and performing in prestigious venues across the Midlands, the orchestra allows its members to perform with like-minded professionals in supportive and creative surroundings.  As a youthful ensemble it strives to create performances that are both challenging and satisfying to musicians and audiences alike.

Queen’s Park Sinfonia exists as a ‘non-profit making’ organisation and currently receives no financial support.  All concerts and engagements enable the ensemble to finance future projects and allow for the ongoing promotion and development of the orchestra.

Queen’s Park Sinfonia is an ensemble with an ethos that is both community and regionally based.  In an increasingly competitive environment, young professional musicians require both support and encouragement in order to continue developing.  The aim is to create opportunities for these musicians within the region and ensure that their skills are used within the wider community by encouraging creativity and an involvement in musical activities for people of all ages, cultures and abilities.