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CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
Soprano Christine Buras has been praised for her rich lyrical timbre, dynamic stage presence, and fearless approach to 20th and 21st century repertoire. Equally at home on operatic and concert stages, Christine’s repertoire spans from Baroque chamber music, to the operas of Verdi and Strauss, to contemporary performance art. Having grown up in Washington, DC, she has been based in London, UK since 2013, where she enjoys a busy career as an emerging artist. Christine’s operatic roles include Contessa Almaviva (Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro), Gretel (Humperdinck Hänsel und Gretel), Helmwige (Wagner Die Walküre), Erste Dienerin (Strauss Die Ägyptische Helena), Suor Dolcina (Puccini’s Suor Angelica), Hélène (Chabrier’s Une Éducation Manquée), Lucy (Menotti’s The Telephone), Theodora (Handel’s Theodora). In concert she has been a frequent soloist at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. John Smith Square in works including the Bach St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, and B minor mass; Handel Messiah, Dixit Dominus, Judas Maccabaeus, and Samson; Mozart Exsultate jubilate, Requiem, and C minor mass; Haydn Creation; Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem; Mendelssohn Elijah; and the Verdi Requiem. This season Christine makes her debut with Merry Opera in their immersive production of Handel’s Messiah, returns to Regent’s Opera as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and performs the title role in Handel’s Theodora with the Hampstead Collective. When she’s not singing, Christine enjoys knitting jumpers and hosting fabulous dinner parties.
Hailed for her “rounded, well-sung characterization” (Opera Magazine, December 2021) of “Mama” in Madeleine: British mezzo-soprano Deborah Holborn is enjoying success on the opera and concert platform. Recent roles include: Mother/Witch/Hansel und Gretel (London Euphonia Orchestra), Mrs. Dalton/1936: Fishing (World Premiere), Flora/ La traviata, Giovanna/Rigoletto and Cretan Woman/Idomeneo (Opera de Baugé), Mrs Herring/Albert Herring (St. Paul’s Opera), Marcellina/Le nozze di Figaro (Hampstead Garden Opera and Random Opera),Grandmother/Jenůfa (Aylesbury Opera), Barena-Herdswoman-Mayor’s Wife/Jenůfa and Feklusa/Káťa Kabanová (Fulham Opera),Maddalena/Rigoletto and Fenena/Nabucco (Brent Opera), Mother/Hansel and Gretel (Opera in the Meantime) and (Le Petit Verre Opera Company),La Zia Principessa/Suor Angelica (Opera in the Meantime), Mercedes/Carmen (Rogue Opera) and (Brent Opera), Count Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus (Opera Kensington), Flower Maiden/Parsifal (Haddington Wagner Society), Second Lady/Dido and Aeneas (Coro 11), Mother Goose/The Rake’s Progress (Edinburgh Studio Opera). Chorus work includes: Longborough Festival Opera(Fidelio, The Flying Dutchman, Don Giovanni and L'elisir d’amore) and Hampstead Garden Opera (Sāvitri). She has had extensive experience on the oratorio platform including: St. John Passion (Bach), The Messiah/ The Ways of Zion do mourn/My song shall be alway (Handel), Mass (McMillan), Coronation Mass/Requiem Mass/Mass in D (Mozart), Petite messe Solonelle(Rossini) and Mass in G (Schubert). Deborah also enjoys bringing music to the community and in particular those with dementia. She runs a regular song group with “Herts Musical Memories” and performs frequently in care homes with the charity “Lost Chord.” She is looking forward to several role debuts this summer including:Hata (The Bartered Bride), L’ecureuil, La Chatte (L’enfant et les sortileges) and her first Wagner role debut: Maddalena (Die Meistersinger).
Glenn Tweedie is from Whiteabbey Co Antrim where he is now based having spent a large part of his earlier career in London. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester as an undergraduate and then the Royal College of Music in London as a post graduate. Further study and singing has taken him to Italy and the Teatro del Maggio in Florence, some time with The European Festival Chorus in Saltzburg including their Italian tours. He has worked with the National Reis opera in the Netherlands and has been on major tours singing Opera and operetta in UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Malaysia. Glenn sings an extensive tenor repertoire in concert, oratorio and opera. He has worked ‘a number of seasons’ with BYO, Grange Park Opera, European Chamber Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Opera UK and many more and has been singing with Merry Opera for a number of years in many of their productions and as a regular in their Gala concerts. His roles include a wide variety of repertoire including Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) , Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Monostatos (The Magic Flute) Mozart, Torquemada (L'heure Espagnol) Ravel, Lacouf and Le journaliste (Les Mamelles de Tiresias) Poulenc, Dr Caius (Falstaff) , Edouard (Un giorno di regno) Gastone (La Traviata) Verdi, Piquillo (La Perichole) Offenbach, Don Luigi (Maria Padilla) Donizetti , Pifear (Si J'etais Roi), Camille (The Merry Widow) Lehar, Hypochondriac (The Gambler) Prokoviev and Triquet and Lensky in (Eugine Onegin) Tchaikovsky. Glenn was in the original cast of the Merry Opera Messiah and has now sung around 60 performances.
Bulgarian-American baritone Thomas Litchev has been praised as 'gripping to watch and hear' (clevelandclassical.com) for his portrayal of the Sodbuster in Missy Mazzoli's PROVING UP with Oberlin Opera Theatre. Thomas is originally from Colorado and is currently London-based while he finishes postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music, where he is a Leverhulme Arts Scholar. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he was awarded the Louise and Marguerite Bloomberg Greenwood Prize. In the 2022/23 season, Thomas made his European-debut at the Trondheim Barokkfest as Adario in Rameau’s LES INDES GALANTES. In the 2023/24 season, Thomas will make debuts with London-based opera company Gothic Opera as Hudson in Robert Planquette’s RIP VAN WINKLE. He also appears as a baritone soloist for a staged version of THE MESSIAH with Merry Opera. Previously, he was seen in CARMEN (Le Dancaïre, Morales) with St Paul’s Opera. He then joined Opera Kipling’s new production of LA CENERENTOLA as Dandini. This past spring, Thomas was a soloist for the Guildhall Studio Orchestra’s annual ‘American Songbook’ concert, performing songs written by prolific female American songwriters. Last autumn, he went on tour with pianist Iain Burnside in his performance-piece ‘Open your eyes’ that aimed to shine a light on the Climate Crisis in collaboration with the Irish Minister of Culture. During his time at Oberlin, Thomas was featured in a number of production with Oberlin Opera Theatre. He was seen as Don Alfonso in Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE, Demetrius in Britten’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, and as the Second Commissioner in Poulenc’s DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES. Thomas was also a Dannenberg Honours Recital recipient. He also played the role of Ariodate in Handel’s SERSE with the Chautuaqua Institution, where he was a Sabina Mooney Seifart Memorial Scholarship receipient. In addition to his operatic engagements, Thomas enjoys performing song repertoire and new works. For his Master’s recital at Guildhall, he curated a programme of song from the female perspective centred around Fauré’s song cycle LA CHANSON D’EVE with pianist Héloïse Bertrand. He also performed Kaija Saariaho’s piece for baritone TRUE FIRE with pianist Gavin Roberts. At Oberlin, he was a soloist for the premiere of Elizabeth Ogonek’s piano concerto WHERE ARE WE NOW, a recording of which was subsequently released with Oberlin Music Label in 2021. He was also seen in the West-Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s COLD MOUNTAIN with the Music Academy of the West in 2019.
Will Sharma is a conductor and répétiteur working across a broad range of opera, orchestral and music theatre repertoire. In 2023, Will joined the music staff of Dijon Opera as assistant conductor, coach and language coach for their production of The Turn of the Screw, as well as the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as assistant/cover conductor and continuo for their production of Händel's Arminio. He continued his work as a répétiteur with Longborough Festival Opera, working on productions of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, and their education and outreach production of The Downfall of Don José, an adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen. Past highlights include: TIDE! at the Aldeburgh Festival, a world premiere by Emily Hazrati and Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh, commissioned by Britten Pears Arts; and West Green House Opera’s 5 star production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin; as well as orchestral concerts with the GoodEnsemble and Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra, where he was Principal and Associate Conductor respectively. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Will completed his undergraduate degree in Vocal Studies under the guidance of John Evans and Adrian Thompson, before joining their Opera School. He studied as a répétiteur with Elizabeth Rowe and Susanna Stranders and subsequently as a conducting fellow where he was mentored by Dominic Wheeler. At Guildhall, Will worked as assistant conductor and chorus master for their 2021 Opera Makers world première as well as productions of The Little Green Swallow (Dove), Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) and various opera scenes. He was a répétiteur and continuo player for productions such as I’m Cleaning, I’m Cleaning (Esbenshade), the spring Opera Scenes, and their critically acclaimed production of La fedeltà premiata (Haydn). Equally at home in Musical Theatre, the 22/23 season saw Will return to the world famous Minack Theatre for productions of Everybody's Talking About Jamie and 13: The Musical; and as musical director for The Kids Who Make It Happen at Cadogan Hall. He has worked on shows such as Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar (Lloyd Webber); Sweeney Todd (Sondheim); Dogfight (Pasek & Paul) and Sister Act (Menken) to name but a few. In 2023, Will took up the role the Musical Supervisor for The British Theatre Academy, working with some of the UK’s finest young performers on a wide range of musical theatre shows, concerts and workshops, having worked with the company since 2018. He has worked on recordings with iTheatrics as UK musical director and pianist for new JR productions including Matilda, Cats and My Fair Lady. Prior to their sad closure, he was part of the creative team for the Make a Difference Trust, a charity which raised funds to help those affected by HIV and AIDS in both the UK and worldwide. Since 2017, he had been their Musical Director and Arranger for A West End Christmas, an annual concert featuring talent from London’s West End held at the Actor’s Church, Covent Garden, as well as playing for and advising on other events such as West End Eurovision.
British lyric soprano Bethan Terry is a Junior Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Recent engagements include performing a tour of recitals in Italy, with regular duo partner Francesca Lauri. In June, Bethan was a Young Artist at Leeds Lieder Festival and performed in Clonter Opera’s Spring Opera Showcase. In November 2022, Bethan performed works by George Walker in a special BBC Immersion concert, led by Alison Buchanan, broadcast on BBC Radio 3. This was followed by a tour of Mozart’s Così fan tutte with North Wales Opera Studio, which featured Bethan’s debut performances as Fiordiligi. In March, Bethan sang in a Lieder concert curated by Graham Johnson at Milton Court Concert Hall. Bethan looks forward to competing in the Hurn Court Singer of the Year Competition and the London Song Festival Schubert Lieder Prize this month. Her operatic roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Countess and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Elettra (Idomeneo), Frasquita (Carmen), Stella (A Streetcar Named Desire), Jenny (Die Dreigroschenoper), Semele (Semele), Avis (The Wreckers), Lady Billows (Albert Herring). Competition success includes: finalist in the Paul Hamburger Prize, Somerset Song Prize 2022, GSMD English Song Prize, Bath Opera Isobel Buchanan Award, English Song Competition for Voice and Piano, Elisabeth Schumann Lieder Duo Competition and highly commended in the 2019 Lillian Ashe French Song Duo Competition with duo partner Francesca Lauri, with the duo later winning the competition in 2020, adjudicated by Roger Vignoles. Bethan has participated in masterclasses with Susan Manoff, Julius Drake, Kate Royal, Elaine Kidd, Nicky Spence, Yvonne Howard, Tobias Truniger, and Toby Spence. During the Summer of 2021 Bethan was a Young Artist at the Waterperry Opera Festival, performing in the chorus of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love and roles in the Young Artist opera scenes. Her appearance as the soprano soloist in Kurtag’s The Late Messages of Mrs R. V. Troussova with the Ubu Ensemble, has been postponed to a later date. Bethan was a Help Musicians Scholar in 2021. She is currently part of the Josephine Baker Trust Scheme. Bethan completed the Artist Masters programme at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with distinction under Professor Janice Chapman and Marie Vassiliou, supported by The Rosaleen McFie Osborn Fund and The Sidney Perry Foundation in 2023. Graduating in 2021, she received a Bachelors degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, having studied with Sophie Grimmer.
Maggie Cooper is a British Mezzo-Soprano, described by ‘The Times’ as ‘captivating...naive and delicate, yet tough, touching and never cloying...she delivers with searing power and passion’. She was awarded a scholarship and trained at GSMD. Mezzo highlights include the title role of Carmen and Hexe Hänsel und Gretel. As a soprano her operatic highlights included Cio Cio San Madame Butterfly (Opera Up Close) Mimi La Boheme (Longborough Festival Opera YAP), Donna Anna Don Giovanni. Maggie is passionate about contemporary opera. She recently premiered the role of Princess Diana in ‘A Silver Spoon’ by Lisa Logan with Anthony Hose at the Beaumaris Festival.
Jonny studied his Masters in Performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama after studying as a choral scholar in the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge. Recent performances include with BBC Singers, London Voices, Hampstead Collective, Vox Medicea in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, London Choral Sinfonia, London Contemporary Orchestra and the Venice Music Project.
Studied physics at King's College London where he was in the chapel choir, and performed, directed and conducted Gilbert & Sullivan and musical theatre. A stint in the City followed before studying singing at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where he was a TCM Trust Scholar and a Kathleen Roberts scholar, and was awarded the Paul Simm Opera Prize. He has been a New Generation Artist for Iford Arts, and a Christine Collins Young Artist for Opera Holland Park. Recent engagements include Antonio (The Marriage of Figaro) for Waterperry Opera Festival; Pooh-Bah (The Mikado) and Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance) for Merry Opera; Max Kane (Dinner at Eight, European premiere) and Luka (The Bear, Walton) for Wexford Festival Opera; and Blackbeard (Moonfleet) for Salisbury Playhouse.
Jack Stone was a student of Chethams; graduate of the Royal College of Music (receiving the Harold Darke Prize) and is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists. Jack has held accompanist posts at Dean Close School; Tewkesbury Abbey; Carlisle Cathedral; Chelsea Ballet; Morley, Regents & Chelsea Opera. He has performed at notable venues such as St Paul’s, Bristol, Manchester & Southwark Cathedrals; Temple Church & RCM. Jack is currently Director of Music at Catford Parish Church; répétiteur for Lewisham Urban Opera; tutor at Morley College; accompanist of The South London Singers and a freelance vocal coach and teacher.
Valerie Wong, Hong Kong-born Soprano took part in multiple opera productions including Mikado 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, Semele by Handel as Ino, Così fan tutte and Le Nozze Di Figaro by Mozart, Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II, La Cenerentola by Rossini, Don Giovanni by Mozart, Tosca by Giacomo Puccini, HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan, Otello by Giuseppe Verdi. She recently made her debut as Wenjiao in The Monk of the River at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2021. Wong graduated with a Master of Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama 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 in 2015. Wong was a recipient of the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir Scholarship, the Michael Rippon Memorial Scholarship, and the Guildhall Financial Award.
Joshua Elmore is a Countertenor and a native of Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A. He studied at the University of Southern Mississippi where he received a bachelor’s degree in music education and at the University of Leeds where he received a master’s degree in vocal performance. Elmore has performed in the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe, and the UK where he presented several recitals, premiered pieces, and has been the soloist in numerous works. A few of his musical engagements are as follows: Countertenor Chorister, Seven Last Words (English National Opera Chorus), 'La Maestra Delle Novizie', Suor Angelica (Carmina Priapea Opera Company), ‘Cat’, Brundibar, (Boco Arts), Alto/Mezzo Soprano soloist, Vivaldi’s Gloria (Richmond Choral Society), Alto soloist, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (St. Mary Magdalene Church Richmond Choir), and ‘Ruth/Zorah’, Ruddigore (Leeds University Opera Society). He also appeared on BBC News: Africa where he sang and was interviewed to assist in promoting Pegasus Opera Company’s online concert. In his spare time, Elmore enjoys going to the gym, eating, and laughing over a pint (not simultaneously or in that particular order).
Andrew Woodmansey is a Tenor and singing teacher studying under Neil Baker, supported by the Elliot Rosenblatt Memorial Scholarship, the Kathleen Creed Scholarship, the Prowdes Trust, and the Williams Trust. As a performer Andrew is a keen exponent of Contemporary music, having played roles in 8 World and UK opera premieres, including works by Libby Larsen, Michael Gordon, Peter Wiegold, Mark Springer, and John Sturt, in venues including The Cockpit Theatre, Wilton Music Hall, OSO arts, and The Playground Theatre. Andrew has also performed widely in canon works. Roles have included Tamino and Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Spoletta (Tosca). Soloist engagements have included Beethoven‘s 9th Symphony, Carmina Burana and Bach‘s St John Passion (arias and Evangelist) among several others; in venues such as Christchurch Priory, St John’s, Guernsey, The Minack Theatre, Cadogan Hall, and The National Center for Arts, Mumbai. As a teacher, Andrew is the vocal teacher at Fortismere music center, where he teaches members of the Fortismere community choir, among others.
Before setting up Merry Opera, Matthew spent many years advising boardrooms of European companies where he saw passions played out in operatic dimensions. For Merry Opera: Leporello Don Giovanni, Basilio Barber of Seville, Bartolo Marriage of Figaro, Sarastro Magic Flute, Germont La Traviata, Benoit/Alcindoro La Boheme, Marcus Kiss Me, Figaro!, Sergeant of Police Pirates of Penzance, bass soloist in staged productions of Handel’s Messiah and Verdi Requiem. Elsewhere: Raimbaud Count Ory, Kecal Bartered Bride, The Old Man in Bloch’s Macbeth, Swallow Peter Grimes, Drunken Poet Fairy Queen, Polyphemus Acis and Galatea. He has also performed concerts of opera and cabaret items on tour and at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
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