Cathy Bell

Cathy Bell

Cathy Bell studied English and Medieval Literature at Cambridge and singing as a postgraduate at Birmingham Conservatoire. She is a former CREAR Scholar and was a member of the Handel House Talent Scheme 2014-15. Baroque music continues to be a particular specialism: in the current season she has made solo debuts at the Valletta International Baroque Festival as Venus in Pepusch Venus and Adonis, and at the Barbican as Second Witch in Purcell Dido and Aeneas with the Academy of Ancient Music.

Cathy particularly enjoys her work as an oratorio and concert soloist, with recent highlights including Bach Mass in B minor with Cantemus at Dora Stoutzker Hall in Cardiff; Bach St John Passion with Leicester Bach Choir; Vivaldi Gloria at Bath Abbey; A. Scarlatti Salve regina at Wells Cathedral; Vivaldi Introduzione e Gloria for Montgomeryshire County Music Festival; Handel Messiah at Cadogan Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields; CPE Bach Magnificat with Nottingham Harmonic Choir; Mendelssohn Elijah with the Bach Choir at the Royal Festival Hall; Rachmaninov Vespers at the St Magnus International Festival in Orkney and with several groups including Britten Sinfonia, Wimbledon Choral Society and the Oxford Bach Choir; and several London recitals of baroque music at the Handel House and the Wallace Collection.

Opera roles include a reprisal of Second Witch (Purcell Dido and Aeneas) in Norway this summer; Carmen for Barefoot Opera; Arsamenes (Handel Xerxes) for Hampstead Garden Opera; Russian Nanny (Britten Death in Venice) for Garsington Opera; Third Lady/Third Boy (Mozart Die Zauberflöte) for Diva Opera and the Palestine Mozart Festival; Arasse (Hasse Siroe) for the London Handel Festival; and roles in contemporary operas for Tête à Tête, Grimeborn and WNO MAX. Chorus work includes Scottish Opera, Garsington, Grange Park, Bergen Nasjonale Opera and the festivals in Aix-en-Provence and Beijing.

Cathy also works regularly with groups including the BBC Singers, the Academy of Ancient Music, Philharmonia Voices, Sonoro, the Dunedin Consort, the Clerks’ Group and EXAUDI, and sings for film and video game recording sessions with London Voices, RSVP Voices and the Pinewood Singers. She lives in London with her husband Jon Stainsby, also a singer, and their daughter Rosie, born in 2016.

 

Susanna Fairbairn

Susanna Fairbairn
English soprano Susanna Fairbairn’s début song CD is now available on the Naxos label: Songs of Geoffrey Bush and Joseph Horovitz. Susanna gained an MA with Distinction from the Wales International Academy of Voice, and also studied at Trinity College of Music, winning the Wilfred Greenhouse Allt Prize, Paul Simm Opera Prize, and First Prize in the English Song Competition. Susanna formerly studied flute as an Instrumental Scholar whilst an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford. Susanna has performed recitals nationwide including at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Southbank and St. James’s Church Piccadilly. She has sung under the batons of John Eliot Gardiner, Marin Alsop, Laurence Cummings and Sian Edwards, at such venues as The Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Cadogan Hall, and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Memorable performances as a soloist extend to a wide range of repertoire, including staged versions of the St. John and St. Matthew Passions for English Touring Opera, Tavener’s Veil of the Temple at Canterbury Cathedral (in the presence of the composer), Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, Beethoven 9, Poulenc Gloria, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue and Mozart’s C Minor Mass. Susanna has also appeared numerous times for the BBC: highlights include being interviewed in 2017 on Radio 3’s In Tune by Clemency Burton-Hill, and appearing on the soundtracks for two BBC dramas with music by Solomon Grey. She makes her Three Choirs Festival debut in Gloucester this year in Israel in Egypt.

Operatic highlights include Galatea Acis and Galatea for Opera Theatre Company; Countess Le nozze di Figaro for Longborough Festival Opera; cover Donna Anna Don Giovanni for Opera North; and for English Touring Opera: Donna Anna Don Giovanni, Juno La Calisto, and Eleonora Il furioso.

Having spent part of her childhood in Africa, Susanna has continued to enjoy living and working in many different parts of the world, as far as India and Brunei. From scuba diving to rock climbing, rowing or playing rugby at college, undertaking vegetarian cooking lessons with a 95-year-old matriarch in Mumbai or embracing veganism, life has been a fascinating journey so far. Exotic episodes aside however, Susanna believes there’s still nothing better than a long walk by the river followed by a pint of local ale!

Tom Raskin

Tom Raskin

Born in Bath, tenor Tom Raskin studied at the RNCM in Manchester and New College, Oxford, before going on to become a Britten-Pears Young Artist. In 2000 he was awarded the Anne Ziegler Prize, followed by the Freckleton Prize in 2001, and was the recipient of a major Scholarship from the Peter Moores Foundation which funded study both in Italy and London.

Recent concert work includes the Verdi Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Calaf in Turandot (concert performance), Stainer’s Crucifixion in Norway, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from King’s College, Cambridge, and arias in the St John and St Matthew Passions (Norwich Cathedral).

Tom is one of the four tenors in the BBC Singers, and besides the vast range of choral works that he performs with them, has sung a wide range of solos, from Streshnev in Mussorgsky’s Kovanshchina at the 2017 Proms to the St Matthew Passion arias and Christmas Oratorio arias, to Bernstein’s Hashkiveinu, to Jason Donovan’s half of the duet “Especially for you.” He is much in demand on the concert platform in Britain and abroad, in places as far-flung as Novosibirsk in Siberia to St Mark’s Basilica, Venice. He has performed with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, the CBSO, The Sixteen and English Baroque Soloists.

He also has a large operatic repertoire from the baroque to the present day; he recently sang the Cockerel in Stravinsky’s Renard with the BCMG in one of Oliver Knussen’s last appearances on the concert platform, and he recorded the role of Signor Ravioli in Alfred Cellier’s The Mountebanks with the BBCCO. He gave the world premiere of Lord Fitztollemache in Weinberg’s Lady Magnesia, and has sung for Glyndebourne, Garsington, Opera South, Opera East and the Iford Festival. He has made regular appearances with New Chamber Opera.

In 2017 and 2018 Tom gave several recitals with the pianist Christopher Weston; a mini-tour of Schubert’s Winterreise, and Finizi’s Till Earth Outwears.  More recitals are planned in 2019, including one in All Saints’ Church, West Dulwich, and a Vaughan Williams celebration in Thaxted.

Julian Debreuil

 

Julian Debreuil

 

Julian studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Adrian Thompson and at the Royal College of Music with Ryland Davies, followed by private tuition with Nicholas Powell. He is the recipient of major awards from the Wingate Foundation, English Speaking Union, Musicians Benevolent Fund, Royal Society of Musicians, Josephine Baker, Countess of Munster and Benslow Music Trusts and was also a finalist in the Schubert Society of London, London Song Festival, John Warner Memorial Award, the Hampshire National Singing Competitions and was highly commended by the Wagner Society of London as having ‘a powerful, attractive sound with a great deal of vocal colour’.

Engagements in the current season include the roles of Colline La Boheme and Talbot Maria Stuarda for OperaUpClose, a gala concert of opera arias at St Martin-in-the-Fields, a recital of Vivaldi bass arias with the Holland Park at Our Lady of Victories Kensington, Mass in C Beethoven with the Derby Choral Union, Catantas 21 & 29 J. S. Bach with the Birmingham Bach Choir, Nelson Mass Haydn with St James’ Spanish Place and The Messiah Handel with the Purcell Orchestra at St Mary Abbots Kensington.

In the 2017-18 season Julian sang the Oracle of Neptune in Idomeneo Mozart for Buxton Festival Opera; Sarastro in The Magic Flute Mozart for OperaUpClose and Charles Court Opera; Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin Tchaikovsky at the Arcola Theatre; Jeptha Handel with the Hull Bach Choir; the title role in Elijah Mendelssohn for the Dulwich Choral Society; Johannes-Passion J. S. Bach with the Purcell Orchestra; Cantatas 21 & 29 J. S. Bach with the Birmingham Bach Choir; Maria Theresa Mass Haydn with the Grimsby Choral Society; 2001: Le Chant des Enfants des Etoiles Chin with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

In previous years Julian has also performed roles for Iford Arts Festival, Opera Project, Diva Opera, Salmiya Opera Theatre Kuwait, OperaUpClose, Tete-a-Tete Opera and Pop-Up Opera.

In his free time Julian enjoys hiking, running, playing football, squash and table tennis and is also a passionate consumer of cake, coffee, cheese, wine, stout and porter. Julian lives with his wife and daughter in South London, the latter of whom he is greatly enjoying introducing to the great historical recordings of his favourite opera singers.

Alan Fairs

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.

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.