Cast & Creatives
Pamina / 1st boy
London-based Soprano Rebecca Milford is thrilled to be returning to Merry Opera, after singing the title role of Cinderella in their production Cinderella ’23. Rebecca was a Wild Arts Young Artist, performing the roles of Lauretta and cover Gianetta in their tour of The Elixir of Love. Other operatic roles include, Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen with Opera Brava (2022), Head Hen and cover Vixen in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with Hampstead Garden Opera (2022), and cover Anne Page in Vaughn-Williams’ Sir John in Love with British Youth Opera at Opera Holland Park (2022). Alongside her performing career, Rebecca is an experienced opera outreach manager and practitioner, who passionately advocates accessible opera and music for all, and is currently the Education Manager for the opera company Wild Arts.
Tamino / 1st Armed Man / 2nd Slave
Welsh tenor William Searle will be returning to Garsington Opera as an Alvarez Young Artist this summer covering the role of Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, having played Ufficiale in Il barbiere di Siviglia and covered Circusmaster in The Bartered Bride in 2023. Other roles include Bertram (La donna del lago), Souffleur (Viva la diva), Lensky [cover] (Eugene Onegin) all at the Buxton International Festival and Albazar (Il turco in Italia) at Longhope Opera.
He is in demand in oratorio and song repertoire, performing Handel’s Messiahat the Royal Albert Hall and Bach’s Magnificat at Cadogan Hall, collaborating with Graham Johnson at the Wigmore Hall and with the Southbank Sinfonia live on Classic FM.
Papageno / Speaker
Cumbrian born baritone Christopher Faulkner studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Ian Kennedy and graduated in 2011. Previous roles for Merry Opera have included Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro(Mozart), Bartolo in The Barber of Seville (Rossini), Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert and Sullivan), Koko in The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan) and soloist in their Staged Messiah (Handel). Other recent roles include Sam in Trouble in Tahiti(Bernstein) for Green Girl Opera, Harry Blansack in The Silken Ladder (Rossini) and Graham Ramsbottom in Rita (Donizetti) for Opera Allegria, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart) and Don Giovanni in Mozart’s Don Giovannifor Dulwich Opera. He has played Adonis in Venus and Adonis (Blow) for Ad Parnassum and The Judge in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury with Leeds Festival Chorus.
As well as being a soloist Christopher also sang with the Opera Holland Park Chorus for five seasons between 2010 and 2015. Christopher also calls and plays guitar for The Ceilidh tree.
The Queen of the Night / 1st Lady / 2nd Boy
Welsh Soprano Eleri Gwilym graduated from Cardiff Law School before completing her Master's Degree at the Royal Academy of Music. Eleri has sung in the chorus of Trouble in Tahiti (Bloomsbury Opera), Hedd Wyn (WNO), Der Freuschütz under Sir Mark Elder, May Night (RAO), The Threepenny Opera (RAO), Dido and Aeneas (Royal Academy Early Music) and in the world premiere of Wythnos yng Nghymru fydd (OpraCymru) as well as singing the roles of Pamina and Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, First Witch in MacBeth, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (OpraCymru) and Prima Cercatrice in Suor Angelica (Berlin Opera Academy). Eleri has sung in the chorus at Buxton International Festival (Eugene Onegin) where she also covered the role of Papira in Lucio Papirio Dittatore and more recently in the Chorus of Opera Holland Park (La Traviata, Carmen, Hänsel und Gretel) where Eleri will return in the 2024 summer season. Upcoming productions include featuring in the Opera-Movie Un nos Ola Leuad (OpraCymru/Channel 4/S4C) which will be released next year.
Sarastro / Speaker / 2nd Slave / 3rd Slave
Before founding Merry Opera in 2009, Matthew spent many years advising corporate boardrooms, where he saw passions played out in operatic dimensions. Roles include Leporello (Don Giovanni), Bartolo and Basilio (The Barber of Seville), Sarastro (Magic Flute), Germont (La Traviata), Bartolo (Marriage of Figaro), Raimbaut (Count Ory) Kecal (The Bartered Bride) , The Old Man (Bloch’s Macbeth), Polyphemus (Acis and Galatea), Merry Opera’s staged Messiah, Fairy Godfather (Cinderella) and Marcus (Merry Opera’s Kiss me, Figaro!)
Monastatos / Old Lady / 1st Priest / 3rd Lady / 3rd Boy
Dominic studied under Jane Irwin at the RNCM, generously supported by the Waverley Fund, the Sybil Tutton Award and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Dominic is delighted to be working with Merry Opera again, having performed Cinderella ’23. He has also sung Didymus in Handel’s Theodora(Essex Baroque), Narciso in Agrippina (HGO) and covered Ruggiero in Alcina (Opera North). In November 2023 Dominic covered Strumpet Ginger in Sir David Poutney’s Purcell pastiche Masque of Might (Opera North), and sang the role at the Lowry in Manchester, under Harry Bicket. Future plans include Apollina in La Canterina (Haydn) for Buxton International Festival.
Papagena / 1st Boy / 2nd Lady / 2nd Priest / 1st Slave
The Hong Kong-born Soprano has taken part in multiple opera productions including Rip Van Winkle as Hans, The Portrait of Manon as Jo (Jean), Mikdao by Gilbert and Sullivan as Peep-Bo, L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti as Gianetta, Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Offenbach as La Voix, Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini as La Badessa and La Ciesca.
Wong graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a Master of Performance under John Evans. She also obtained the Bachelor of Music (Honours) under renowned soprano Nancy Yuen and the Diploma of Music from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
John is a Suffolk-born award-winning director, educator and writer. He studied History at Cambridge and learned his operatic trade with the Glyndebourne Festival and Tour.
For Merry Opera: Cinderella23, Mikado, Don Giovanni, The Pirates of Penzance, The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, a staged Verdi Requiem; a self-penned pasticcio opera/musical Kiss me, Figaro! was nominated for several Off-West-End Awards including Best Production. His acclaimed staged Messiah for Merry has received over 110 performances.
Recent productions include: L'elisir d'amore (Jyväskylä Opera, Finland), Don Giovanni (Kilden Opera, Kristiansand, Norway), Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci, Eugene Onegin (West Green Festival), Libby Larsen's Frankenstein(Trinity Laban), Beginnings (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), Le nozze di Figaro (Icelandic National Opera), Der fliegende Holländer, Carmen, The Paper Bag Princess (Bergen National Opera). In previous seasons, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte (Turku Festival, Finland), Lucia di Lammermoor (Belgrade National Opera award for Best Direction), Don Giovanni, L'elisir d'amore (Opera Faber, Portugal).
A renowned educator and director of young opera singers, John is currently Associate Head of the Vocal Department at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. An Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, he was Drama Lecturer and Resident Producer for Royal Academy Opera for many years and has also taught for the Jette Parker programme at Covent Garden and the National Opera Studio.
John’s first novel, Ladies’ Man, was translated into seven languages; he is currently writing a book on acting for opera singers, and an historical murder mystery set in Handel's London called Da Capo may one day be finished. Future plans include Die Zauberflöte and Alcina (Guildhall), Suor Angelica with West Green, Der fliegende Holländer for Trondheim and Kristiansand, Norway, La bohème for Theatre Vanemuine (Tartu, Estonia) and continuing management and teaching for Guildhall.
Kelvin trained at the RCM and has worked for ROH, ENO, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park,, ETO, Longborough, NI Opera, Neville Holt. He is MD Postgraduate Opera at Trinity Laban and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has coached for ROH JYAP and Morley College.
He is particularly versed in Wagner repertoire as vocal coach, official accompanist and recipient of the Bayreuth Bursary, and as Anthony Negus’ repetiteur at Longborough since 2008. Kelvin has accompanied Thomas Allen and John Tomlinson in recital, and Stuart Skelton on Radio 3. He has coached singers such as Aïda Garifullina, Christopher Ventris, & performed at the Wigmore Hall, St Johns Smiths Sq, and RFH.
He has conducted Jenufa, Carmen, Cavelleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Samson et Dalila, Turn of the Screw, Norma, Otello, La Boheme, Così Fan Tutte, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Future projects: The Ring Cycle for Longborough Festival Opera, Assistant Conductor Island of Dreams for Grange Park Opera, Musical Director The Magic Flute for Merry Opera.
Bridget Kimak has created sets and costumes for theatre and opera companies worldwide. Her designs have been critically acclaimed for their flair, quality, wit and inventiveness. Bridget’s latest show is L’elisir d’amore for Jyväsylän Oopperan.
Previous productions include Don Giovanni (Kilden Opera, Kristiansand, Norway), Le Nozze di Figaro (Icelandic Opera), Der fliegende Hollander, (Bergen National Opera), Die Zauberflote and Le Nozze di Figaro (Abo Svenska Teater, Finland), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Den Jyske Opera, Denmark), Theodora (Royal Northern College of Music), Il Viaggio a Reims and Semele (Chicago Opera Theatre), Sixty Minute Cinderella(Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre), the premiere of Steven Sondheim’s Saturday Night, and a number of productions at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. Bridget obtained a Fine Art degree before training as a Theatre Designer at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Upcoming projects include Der fliegende Hollander for Trondheim and Kristiansand, Norway, La Cenerentola, for Landestheater Detmold, Germany and Pagliacci, for Opera Holland Park.
Assistant Director/Stage Manager
Lorrie graduated from Rose Bruford in 2016, going on to direct and perform with theatre companies in the UK, Norway and France. In 2017/2018 they managed Cutty Sark Theatre at Royal Museums Greenwich, before becoming Producer and Tour Manager for The Merry Opera Company, touring extensively across the UK. Recent credits include: Assistant Director/Stage Manager for Merry Opera (The Mikado, Cinderella23), Stage Manager for St Paul's Opera (Carmen) and Gothic Opera (Rip Van Winkle), Festival Stage Manager for Waterperry Opera Festival (including Mansfield Park, Svadba, King Harald Saga), and Revival Director for Merry Opera (Staged Messiah).