Messiah Spring 2019

Jennifer Clark (sopranois a graduateof Cambridge University and the RWCMD’s MA Opera Performance course, where she was a Leverhulme Scholar. Jennifer’s 2018 season saw her re-join The Grange Festival as Blondchen (cover) / Seraglio and chorus / Candide, and Opera Anywhere in the roles of Suor Genovieffa / Suor Angelica; Patience / Patience and Josephine / HMS Pinafore. Previous roles include Emmie (cover) / Albert Herring (The Grange Festival); First Boy / The Magic Flute (WNO); Gretel / Hansel and Gretel (Opera’r Ddraig); Adele (cover) / Die Fledermaus (Opéra de Baugé); Flora / The Turn of the Screw (Hungarian State Opera orchestra.) Recording and film soundtrack credits include Verdi Macbeth (ENO / Chandos), The Mummy (2017) and Shrek 3. 

Jonathan Cooke (tenor) studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, completing his Masters in 2015. During his time there he represented the college in the Junior Kathleen Ferrier competition and won the Frank Spedding Lieder Prize. He also performed in many productions with Scottish Opera. His operatic rôles include Ruggero, La Rondine (RCS) Eisenstein, die Fledermaus (Fulham Opera), Cavaradossi Tosca (Carmina Priapea), Squeak Billy Budd (St Endellion Summer Music Festival), Spoletta Tosca (The Opera Project), Monsieur Triquet, Eugene Onegin (Mid Wales Opera).

Recent engagements and upcoming plans include der Fliegende Holländer in Gloucestershire, Candide in Hampshire, Britten St Nicolas in Yorkshire, Messiah in Cheshire, Madama Butterfly in London.

Chris Faulkner (baritone) graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011. He works in and around London as a freelance musician. Most weeks that means calling for ceilidhs, teaching (singing, ukulele, recorder and djembe) and singing at toddlers in silly costumes to teach them valuable life lessons. He is a member of acclaimed vocal quartet ffourtissimo and has sung with the Opera Holland Park chorus. Opera roles include Adonis in ad Parnassum’s Venus and Adonis (which was a bit of an ego boost…) and as Officer and cover Bartolo in Merry Opera’s Barber of Seville  This is his fourth tour with Merry Opera’s Messiah.

Francis Gush (counter-tenor) graduated at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Lawrence Zazzo and Dinah Harris. He has recently completed a season as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, cast as the solo singer in a production of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, at the Swan Theatre in Stratford. Previous operatic engagements include Oberon/ A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RCM), David/ Saul (RCM), Ottone / L’incoronazione di Poppea (Coronation Opera). He is an also an experienced choral and ensemble singer, performing with the Gabrieli Consort, La Nuova Musica and the Britten Sinfonia Voices, and having completed a lay-clerkship at Magdalen College in Oxford.

Olympia Hetherington (mezzo-soprano) completed her Masters this year at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied under the tutelage of Susan Roper. During her time at the RNCM she performed various roles in opera scenes including Concepcion (L’Heure Espagnole), Idamante (Idomeneo) and Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro). While studying she also made her professional debut at Longborough Festival Opera in the role of Third Spirit and Second Lady cover (Die Zauberflöte) and returned again this year to cover Dryad in Ariadne Auf Naxos. Olympia regularly performs as an oratorio and concert soloist. Upcoming engagements include Dixit Dominus with the Orchestra of St John’s at the Ashmolean Museum, Mozart Requiem with the St John Singers and Vivaldi Introduction and Gloria. 

Richard Leach (Organist and Assistant Conductor) plays regularly for Ealing Abbey Choir, Streatham Choral Society and The Music Makers' Choir of Harpenden. He is the Organist for The Merry Opera Company's Church Tours of the Verdi Requiem and Messiah this season and he has played for the English Baroque Choir, OSJ Voices, Twickenham Choral Society and Hastings Philharmonic Choir. He has given organ recitals at Canterbury Cathedral, Nottingham Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, All Saints Marlow, and at Queen's and Magdalen Colleges in Oxford. As an ensemble pianist he has played at the Wigmore Hall, for the Concordia Foundation, and as a staff accompanist at the Royal Academy of Music. He has played live on BBC Radio 3's In Tune as well as on The Choir with Blossom Street. He has directed the music for a number of operatic productions, including Il barbiere di Siviglia (Pop-Up Opera) and Tosca (Grimeborn); he was assistant conductor for the Woodhouse Festival 2014 and for Royal Academy Opera's productions of Le nozze di Figaro and L'incoronazione di Poppea and he was chorus master for Ariodante and May Night. He has worked as a répétiteur for the Royal Academy of Music (Mahler Second Symphony) and The English Concert (Messiah).  He teaches the piano at St Benedict's School and he is a visiting vocal coach for Royal Academy Opera; he was a guest operatic coach at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for their Summer 2017 season. He has worked with a number of distinguished conductors including Semyon Bychkov, Sir Mark Elder, Trevor Pinnock, Jane Glover and Nicholas Kraemer. He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music.

Rosie Lomas (soprano) studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Kate Paterson and graduated in 2011. She made her operatic debut in June 2011 as American Suburban Girl in ENO's Two Boys (Muhly) and returned to ENO to play Josh in The Perfect American (2013) and Third Daughter in Akhnaten (2016). Other operatic roles include Vixen in Silent Opera's Vixen (The Vaults - June 2017), Flora in The Turn of the Screw (Holland Park - July 2014), First Boy and Papagena cover in The Magic Flute (Longborough - July 2017), Oberto (Alcina 2016) and Valletto (L’incoronazione di Poppea 2018) as a Longborough young artist. Future engagements include revivals of both ENO’s Akhnaten, and Silent Opera’s Vixen. 

Matthew Quirk (bass-baritone) spent many years advising boardrooms of international companies across Europe, where he saw passions played out in operatic dimensions. Roles include Benoit/Alcindoro (la boheme), Leporello (Don Giovanni ), Bartolo & Basilio (The Barber of Seville), Sarastro (Magic Flute), Germont (la traviata), Raimbaud (Count Ory), Kecal (Bartered Bride), Jupiter (Orpheus in the Underworld), The Old Man (Bloch’s Macbeth), Swallow (Peter Grimes), Calchas & Agamemnon (La belle Hélène), Marcus (Kiss Me, Figaro!), Street operas in England and Ireland,, Drunken Poet (Fairy Queen), Polyphemus (Acis and Galatea), Ipparco (L’Egisto), Pandolfe (Cendrillon), concerts of opera and cabaret items on tour & at St Martin’s-in-the-Fields. He is the founder of Merry Opera &  has sung in all 10 tours of the Messiah. He  studies with Gary Coward.

John Ramster (Stage Director) is a director, teacher and writer, his performed and published work stretching from opera to novels to stage-works. Born in the east of England, he was educated at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, studying medieval and renaissance History. He began his operatic career assisting the late Clare Venables, then joined the Glyndebourne Festival as an Associate and Revival Producer, working on many productions including Peter Sellars' acclaimed Theodora. Recent productions include: Der fliegende Holländer for Bergen National Opera in Norway, Verdi Requiem (Merry Opera), Carmen (Bergen National Opera, Norway), The Paper Bag Princess (also BNO), Radamisto (Guildhall) Agrippina (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland),  Theodora (Royal Northern College of Music), 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), Il pastor fido (London Handel Festival/RCM), Ariodante (Cambridge Handel Opera Group); a self-penned pasticcio opera Kiss me, Figaro! (Merry Opera) was nominated for several Off-West-End Awards. His staged Messiah (Merry Opera) has toured biannually for the last nine years to great acclaim.  A teacher of stagecraft specifically for young opera singers, John began his teaching at the GSMD over twenty years ago. An Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music,  John was Drama Lecturer and Resident Producer for Royal Academy Opera for fifteen years, directing over twenty productions including Eugene Onegin, L'incoronazione di Poppea, The Lighthouse, The Rake's Progress, Dove's Mansfield Park and Die Dreigroschenoper.  He is a visiting tutor for the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at Covent Garden.  His 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. 

Benjie del Rosario (tenor) trained at Trinity College of Music with John Wakefield.  Opera roles include Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi); Fenton (Falstaff); Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni); Monostatos, 1st armed man, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Don Basilio,Don Curzio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Don José (Carmen), Yakuside, Goro (Madam Butterfly), Peppe ( I Pagliacci), 

Boy 1 (Trouble In Tahiti), Macduff (Macbeth)  Canio (Pagliacci) He was lead tenor in Bel Canto’s Opera Hour,at the Edinburgh Festival.  He has sung at Opera Holland Park, Buxton G&S Company, Opera de Baugé, Opera South East , Hampstead Garden Opera, East meets West Initiative , St Paul’s Cathedral and St Martin-in-the-Fields.  Oratorio engagements encompass Haydn’s Creation Harmoniemesse and Beethoven’s Mass in C.  He currently studies with Brian Parsons.

Daniel Roddick (baritone) has sung in Merry Opera’s  Kiss me, Figaro! and Barber of Seville. he was born in Cardiff and studied Engineering, Economics & Management at Oxford University. He then worked in management consultancy and financial advisory, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder. He later took a break from his career in finance to study at Trinity College of Music and then at the Royal Academy of Music, now combining his two careers - working in private equity by day and moonlighting as an opera singer by night. This is his eighth tour with Merry  Opera’s Messiah.

Rebecca Taylor (Music Director and Conductor) read music as Organ Scholar at Lincoln College, Oxford, studying with David Sanger. As both an organist and choral conductor she has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 & 4, made CD recordings and performed in the UK and abroad in venues such as Westminster Abbey, St George's Chapel Windsor, St Martin in the Fields, St John's Smith Square, the Barbican and St Mark's Venice. Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music on the MA Piano Accompaniment course under Michael Dussek and Carole Presland, she has been increasingly in demand both as an accompanist and repetiteur. Rebecca was awarded a distinction in her LRAM diploma and was a member of the prestigious Academy Song Circle. After graduating, she continued her training as a Junior Fellow Trainee Repetiteur and was gained a place on the Solti Peretti Repetiteurs' Masterclass Course. As an accompanist, Rebecca’s reputation is growing following her success in winning the Maureen Lehane Accompanist Prize at Wigmore Hall. In June 2015, Rebecca accompanied the Welsh candidate in the Song Prize Competition of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. She is accompanist of the Leeds Festival Chorus, Assistant Conductor and Pianist with Twickenham Choral Society and joint Accompanist and Assistant Conductor of the acclaimed English Chamber Choir.

Glenn Tweedie (tenor) studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and at the Royal College of Music in London. He has performed in Florence, Saltzburg, Holland, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Malaysia. 

He worked with BYO, Grange Park, European Chamber Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Opera UK and  Merry Opera.

His roles include Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) , Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte),  Tamino, Monostatos (The Magic Flute), Torquemada (L'heure Espagnol) , Lacouf, Le journaliste (Les Mamelles de Tiresias), Dr Caius (Falstaff) , Gastone (La Traviata), Piquillo (La Perichole), Camille (The Merry Widow),Triquet and Lensky (Eugine Onegin). Glenn has sung in all 10 tours of Merry Opera’s Messiah, for which he is also the revival director, and lives in  Whiteabbey Co Antrim, teaching and performing across Northern Ireland.

Rosalie Warner (mezzo-soprano) was born in Oxford and studied English Literature at the University of Manchester. This year she will graduate from the Artist Masters course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she studied with Susan Waters. Opera credits include world premieres by Nino Russell and Clare Elton, Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro, University of Manchester), chorus in iolanta (Guildhall Opera) and the Rake’s Progress (British Youth Opera). Multi-disciplinary collaboration forms the backbone of her work as a singer and harpist. She has performed at the Leeds Lieder Festival, 2021 Concerts, St Marylebone Festival, The Place, Milton Court Concert Hall and the Wigmore Hall.