Anitra Blaxhall Soprano
Idril/Chorus Soprano 1 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Chorus Soprano 1 (Beren and Luthien)
These are the biographies of our friends and colleagues who perform with us live and take part in our demo recordings.
Anitra Blaxhall trained at the Victoria College of Arts in Melbourne, Australia and sang with Opera Australia prior to moving to the UK. Since living in Britain, she has sung with Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera, and for the last fifteen years, with Welsh National Opera. She has sung roles and understudies with both companies, and has also maintained a career in session singing and corporate entertainment.
Julian Boyce Baritone/Video Director
Scrooge/Narrator/Baritone Soloist (Christmas Carol, 2017)
Eöl/Voronwë/Chorus Bass 1 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Beren/Chorus Bass 1 (Beren and Luthien)
Hurin/Gwindor/Chorus Bass 1 (The Children of Hurin)
Mandos/Curufin/Chorus Bass 1 (Feanor)
Green Lizard/Yellow Rose Tree/Chorus Bass 1 (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Cirdan/Mandos/Chorus Bass 1 (The War of Wrath)
Whilst studying Drama at the University of Kent Julian won the Canterbury Cathedral Bursary Award for singing. He is a graduate of The Opera School (Wales) and received a major award from the James Pantyfedwen Foundation to fund his postgraduate studies at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, where he was awarded the Della Windsor Memorial Prize.
Julian joined the Welsh National Opera Chorus in 2005. Roles for WNO include Bogdanowitsch (Merry Widow - televised by the BBC), Montano (Othello - Televised by S4C), Le Dancaire (Carmen), Steuermann (Tristan & Isolde), Customs Officer (Boheme), Antonio (Nozze di Figaro), Yakuside (Madam Butterfly) Enzo (Sweetness and Badness), Dog (Cunning Little Vixen) ,Fiorello (Barber of Seville), Diener (Lulu), Elder (Moses and Aaron), Surgeon (Forza del Destino) and understudy Schaunard (Boheme), Angelotti (Tosca), First Streltzy (Khovanshchina), Zuniga (Carmen), Ceprano (Rigoletto), Bonze (Madam Butterfly), Ortel (Meistersingers) and 1st Streltzy (Khovanshchina).
Julian has also appeared as a soloist for WNO in Messiah at St. David’s Hall, ‘Chorus!’, Carbon 12 and performs regularly in outreach work for WNO Youth and Community. He is in demand as a soloist in oratorio, works include Handel’s Messiah and Jephtha, Bach’s Magnificat, Stravinski’s Pulcinella, Schubert’s Mass in G, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Dvorak's Te Deum, Verdi’s Requiem and Carmina Burana.
Operatic roles outside of WNO include Sharpless (Madam Butterfly), Sacristan/Sciaronne (Tosca), Papageno (The Magic Flute), Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas), Betto (Gianni Schicci), Guglielmo (Cosi Fan Tutte), Fiorello (Barber of Seville), Drunken Poet and Coridon (The Fairy Queen), Nilakantha (Lakme), Figaro/Bartolo (Le Nozze Di Figaro), Dottore/Marquis (La Traviata). He has performed with Central Festival Opera, Curtain Call Productions, Candlelight Opera, Swansea City Opera and Opera Box. Most recently Julian sang Scarpia (Tosca) in a semi-staged concert with Crosby Symphony Orchestra.
Future engagements include Dr. Metvier (War and Peace) with WNO and recital with Volante Opera Productions for the Wirral Arts Festival.
Simon Crosby Buttle Tenor/Audio Engineer, Volante Tenor
Tenor Soloist/Various Characters (Christmas Carol, 2017)
Tuor/Chorus Tenor 2 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Finrod Felagund/Chorus Tenor 2 (Beren and Luthien)
Turin Turambar/Chorus Tenor 2 (The Children of Hurin)
Feanor/Chorus Tenor 2 (Feanor)
The Student/Chorus Tenor 1 (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Earendil/Elrond/Chorus Tenor 2 (The War of Wrath)
Simon was born in West Yorkshire and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Jeffrey Lawton. Whilst there he was a recipient of the Anne Ziegler Award and was funded by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.
He has performed the roles of Pinkerton Madama Butterfly (Mananan Festival & Rhosygilwen Festival), Ruggiero La Rondine (RNCM), Lensky Eugene Onegin (RNCM), Candide Candide (RNCM), Ishmael Nabucco (Hull Choral) and Tikhon Katya Kabanova (Scottish Opera).
Simon joined the Welsh National Opera Chorus in 2009, and since joining he has performed the roles of Priest Magic Flute (WNO), Sailor/Shepherd Tristan und Isolde (WNO), Giuseppe La Traviata (WNO), Woodpecker Cunning Little Vixen (WNO), 1st Nobleman Lohengrin (WNO), Edmondo Manon Lescaut (WNO), Tootles Peter Pan (WNO), Sir Bruno i Puritani (WNO), German Soldier/Runner In Parenthesis (WNO), Malcolm Macbeth (WNO), Goro Madama Butterfly (WNO), 1st Lackey/ 1st Waiter Der Rosenkavalier (WNO), Kuzka Khovanshchina (WNO), Kedril From the House of the Dead (WNO), Borsa Rigoletto (WNO) and Michael Holbrook Migrations (WNO)
In concert, Simon has performed with many choral societies, in works including: Messa di Gloria Puccini, Petite Messe Solennelle Rossini, Te Deum Bruckner, Requiem Lloyd Webber, Creation Haydn, Hiawatha's Wedding Feast Coleridge-Taylor, Nelson Mass Haydn, Stabat Mater Dvorak and Eternal Light Goodall.
Michael Clifton-Thompson Tenor
Chorus Tenor 1 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Gorlim/Chorus Tenor 1 (Beren and Luthien)
Saeros/Dorlas/Chorus Tenor 1 (The Children of Hurin)
Malgor/Olwe/Chorus Tenor 1 (Feanor)
Michael Clifton-Thompson was born in Newport, Gwent and studied with Irene Livingstone and Glenville Hargreaves. He joined WNO Chorus in 1985 where roles have included Spoletta Tosca, Andres Wozzeck, Leopold, Der Wirt and Animal Seller, Der Rosenkavalier, Borsa Rigoletto, Young Servant Elektra, Prince of Persia Turandot, Giuseppe La traviata, Messenger Beatrice and Benedict, Don Curzio Le nozze di Figaro, Parpignol La bohème, Drunken Prisoner From the House of the Dead, 1st Prisoner Fidelio, Squeak Billy Budd, Missail Boris Godunov, Monostatos The Magic Flute, 1st Prisoner Leonore, 3rd Jew Salome, Beppe Pagliacci, The Defendant Trial by Jury, Monsieur Triquet Eugene Onegin, Romeo in the Star-cross’d Lovers tour 2005, Idiot and Orderly Wozzeck, Raoul de St Brioche The Merry Widow and Monsieur Triquet Eugene Onegin for WNO.
Michael also makes numerous appearances on the concert platform around the UK.
Laurence Cole Bass
Morgoth/Chorus Bass 2 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Morgoth (Beren and Luthien)
Morgoth (The Children of Hurin)
Morgoth (The War of Wrath)
Laurence Cole is from Hertfordshire. He graduated in English Literature from the University of York and worked at the BBC for several years before deciding to pursue a singing career and studying at Birmingham Conservatoire. When not singing, Laurence enjoys horse riding, walking, visiting unusual and occasionally unsafe areas of Eastern Europe and looking after his new boxer puppy Marley. He also enjoys the trials and tribulations of being a lifelong supporter of Luton Town FC.
He has been a member of the WNO chorus since 2008. Roles at WNO include Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Angelotti in Tosca, the Badger in Cunning Little Vixen and Matveyev in War and Peace.
David Fortey Tenor, Volante Tenor
Chorus Tenor 2(The Nightingale and the Rose)
David Fortey is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he gained a Bmus (Hons) Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Studies. Whilst studying at the college David was awarded the Mabel Linwood Christopher Award, the Manning Prize for Tenors and was a joint winner of the Sir Geraint Evans Vocal Scholarship.
Upon graduating, David began his professional career with Glyndebourne Festival Opera and later with Garsington Festival Opera. Since 2007, David has been a principle member of the award-winning male ensemble Only Men Aloud. His work with Only Men Aloud has given him the opportunity to record extensively for television and radio, and also the opportunity to tour internationally; performing at some of the worlds most prestigious concert halls, arenas and stadiums. In 2012, David took part in the opening ceremony of the London Olympic games, performing with Only Men Aloud in front of a worldwide audience of 900 million people.
Discography with Only Men Aloud to date includes ‘This Land of Ours’, 2007 for EMI Classics, ‘Only Men Aloud’ 2008 and ‘Band of Brothers’ 2009 for Universal Records, ‘In Festive Mood’ 2011 for EMI Classics, ‘Unplugged’ 2013,’On the Road’ 2015 and ‘Favourites’ in 2018, for OMA Records. In 2010 ‘Band of Brothers’ was voted Classical Album of the year by the public and Classic FM listeners, gaining the group a coveted Classical Brit Award.
As a solo artist, David enjoys performing a wide variety of solo concerts and engagements, as well as singing with his wife Angharad Morgan as a member of ‘Cantare Vocal Duo’, and as a member of the “Volante Tenors’ alongside Simon Crosby Buttle and Huw Llewellyn!
David also enjoys regularly working in music education as a singing teacher and vocal animateur, helping to mentor and develop the next generation of young talented singers and musicians within Aberdare and Treorchy comprehensive schools, and across Wales working on Youth and Community music projects for The Aloud Charity, and Welsh National Opera.
Helen Greenaway Mezzo
Chorus Mezzo 2 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Chorus Mezzo 2 (Beren and Luthien)
Morwen/Chorus Mezzo 2 (The Children of Hurin)
Chorus Mezzo 2 (Feanor)
Butterfly/White Rose Tree/Chorus Mezzo 2 (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Chorus Mezzo 2 (The War of Wrath)
Helen studied music at Leeds University and singing at the Royal Academy of Music. She was a founder member of the New D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus and is now a full time chorister at WNO. Roles for WNO include Margret in Wozzeck and Captain Turner in Rhondda Rips it Up. Elsewhere roles include Carmen for Columbian Artists USA tour and Dorabella for Opera Project.
Paula Greenwood Soprano
Chorus Soprano 2 (Feanor)
Chorus Soprano 1 (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Paula Greenwood began her vocal studies in Dublin, where she subsequently won multiple prizes in the Siemens Feis Ceoil competitions, graduating with an M.Mus from the Dublin Conservatory of Music in 2004. She was awarded the Blyth-Buesst Opera Prize and A.M. Parker Prize while studying at the Royal Academy of Music, London, graduating with distinction in 2007. An opportunity to study on scholarship with renowned tenor Dennis O’Neill at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice brought her to Cardiff.
Paula’s professional performances include Currency (Denis Roche, Diversions Festival) as well as Michael Gordon’s Van Gogh Opera with the Crash Ensemble. Paula sang the role of Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro for Lyric Opera in the National Concert Hall, Dublin as well as on tour with Opera Theatre Company in 2007. Extensive oratorio performances include Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle in Richelieu, Haydn Stabat Mater in Worcester Cathedral and Sea Symphony for the Three Choirs Festival. Most recent oratorio performances include Handel's Messiah with the CBSO in Symphony Hall and Town Hall in Birmingham. Paula joined the WNO chorus in 2013 and covered and performed the role of Papagena in The Magic Flute in Spring 2015 and Alyeya From the House of the Dead in Autumn 2017. Other performances include Prid in Rhondda Rips it up and Alyeya at the Janáček Brno Festival in December 2018.
Paula's most unexpected opera experience when she was proposed to by chorus tenor Joe Roche onstage at the Wales Millennium Centre during the dress rehearsal for Lohengrin in 2013. When she is not singing, Paula enjoys going for walks with their two Boston Terriers in Heath Park.
Jasey Hall Bass
Sauron/Chorus Bass 2 (Beren and Luthien)
Chorus Bass 2 (The Children of Hurin)
Amras/Chorus Bass 2 (Feanor)
Daisy/Red Rose Tree/Chorus Bass 2 (Nightingale and the Rose)
My musical education began in Bolton where I played tuba in school and local authority wind bands, brass bands, brass ensembles and sang in choirs, a madrigal group and a folk group. I then studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music where I also studied piano and taught myself to play the ukulele, juggle, diabolo, unicycle and fire breath. (Running away to join the circus has always been my plan B).
After a brief flirtation with Opera North (If single extra chorus in Boris Godinov can be described as brief.) I joined the full time chorus of Welsh National Opera. As well as singing for WNO I am also asked to dance, fight, climb the set, stilt walk, row, sail, run, jump, stand, sit, kneel, lie down and roll over. I’ve been arrested, deported, imprisoned, shot, stabbed, gassed, hung, killed in battle, executed, victimised, honoured, disgraced, exiled, flirted with, rejected, despised and made love to. I've played tinkers, tailors, soldiers, sailors, rich men, poor men, beggar men and thieves, not to mention priests, monks, nobles, peasants, prisoners, madmen, animals and musicians.
I play the ukulele and sing comic songs at the drop of a hat. I've written a few hundred comic songs myself with varying levels of success, ranging in style from pastiche to outrageous plagiarism or
recycling, as I like to call it. Their subject matter ranges from children's counting songs to bawdy ballads of such outrageous depravity as to make a seaman blush. Many of the songs I've written are
about my friends and the shows I've been in and would be utterly incomprehensible and humourless
to those who do not know the people or the shows in great detail. I have done many song recitals at
Covent Garden not to mention numerous other tube stations and particularly enjoy torturing the North
Wales Friends of WNO with the Llandudno Calypso a couple of times a year.
I run a ukulele club for adults and children in a vague attempt to take over the world! My hobbies include walking, climbing, roller skating, ice skating and kayaking yet I seem to spend most of my spare time sitting on my backside in front of the goggle box.
Rosie Hay Soprano/Composer
Chorus Soprano 1 (The War of Wrath)
Rosie Hay was born in Staffordshire and studied with Gerald Wragg at the City of Leeds College of Music. Whilst still a student she won the first International Young Singer of the Year Award at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
Rosie began her career singing a wide variety of styles. She was a founder member of the Finzi Singers with whom she made many recordings and she sang with several choirs including the Western Wind Ensemble with whom she recorded and performed overseas.
Since 1992 Rosie has been a member of the chorus of Welsh National Opera and has performed many principal roles with the company, most notably the title role in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on a number of occasions. When WNO was invited to Finland for the Savonlinna Opera Festival Rosie sang the role of Anna in Verdi’s Nabucco.
WNO regularly performs at ROH Covent Garden and has been to the Coliseum and Sadlers Wells. Being a member of an international opera company has taken Rosie to Paris, Hong Kong, Finland, Brno, Dubai and Oman where WNO had a week's residency at the Royal Opera House in Muscat where Rosie sang solo in a concert at the magnificent King's Concert Hall.
Rosie has performed as a principal in several videos and recordings including two world premiers, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' The Doctor of Myddfai and James Macmillan's The Sacrifice which features Rosie not only singing but playing the electric guitar!
One of Rosie’s most enjoyable escapades at WNO was being a part of WNO’s groundbreaking “Rhondda Rips it Up”, a truly collaborative opera celebrating the achievements of the suffragette movement.
During lockdown Rosie turned her hand to composition and arranging and is delighted to see her work performed on the Volante Opera Productions video feeds
Helen Jarmany Mezzo
Melian/Chorus Mezzo 1 (Beren and Luthien)
Melian (The War of Wrath)
Helen Jarmany’s passion for singing began at an early age through her local church in Lancashire. She sang in various musicals, choirs and festivals as a child and at the age of 14 started taking singing lessons. In 2001 she began her professional training at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where she was awarded a Dora Elizabeth Chappell Entrance Award and an Eva Turner scholarship to help support her studies.
Helen has now worked for many of the UK's finest Opera companies including Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne and Opera North. Highlights include the role of Olga in Eugene Onegin for Welsh National Opera, 2nd Jewish Mother in The Merchant of Venice for Welsh National Opera which she performed at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 2017, a film and theatre co-production with English National Opera at the Young Vic theatre of Dido & Aeneas (After Dido) where she sang the role of 2nd Witch/Jenny, the role of The Hostess in Boris Godunov (Night Pieces) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s Jerwood Young Artist Programme and the role of Arminy in Carousel at the Barbican Centre in London for Opera North. Other covered roles include: Suzuki in Madama Butterfly (WNO), Alto Solo Voice/6 solo voices in Moses und Aron (WNO), the Singer in Manon Lescaut (WNO), Scipio in Caligula (ENO), Penelope in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (ENO), Rosmira in Partenope (ENO), Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor (ENO), Ottavia in L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Glyndebourne), Pastuchyna in Jenůfa (Glyndebourne) and Dama di Lady in Macbeth (Glyndebourne/WNO). Other notable performed roles include Larina in Eugene Onegin (RNCM), La Badessa in Suor Angelica (RNCM) and The Sorceress in Dido & Aeneas (Hayfield Singers).
On the Oratorio platform Helen has a rich repertoire and has frequently worked both nationally and internationally. She toured to Cyprus, Bratislava and Vienna with Mozart’s Requiem as principle Mezzo-Soprano soloist for the Northern England Chorale and was guest soloist in 2006 and 2008 for the Macao Orchestra in China performing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and B Minor Mass. Her repertoire includes Verdi’s Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius (Angel), Elgar’s The Kingdom, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Handel's Samson (Micah), which she performed privately for HRH The Prince of Wales. Helen is also a regular performer of Handel’s Messiah and has performed the work with many societies. Concert Platform repertoire includes Elgar’s Sea Pictures for the Uzerche International Singing Festival, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and many Opera Gala concerts throughout the UK and Europe.
Emma Mary Llewellyn Soprano
Soprano Soloist/Various Characters (Christmas Carol, 2017)
Chorus Soprano 2 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Chorus Soprano 2 (Beren and Luthien)
Finduilas/Chorus Soprano 2 (The Children of Hurin)
Elbereth/Chorus Soprano 1 (Feanor)
Chorus (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Elbereth/Chorus Soprano 2 (The War of Wrath)
Emma comes from the Gower region of South Wales and began singing in various choirs and music societies in her hometown of Swansea.
Wishing to further her singing Emma gained an undergraduate place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and studied there for five years gaining Licentiate and Advanced Diplomas in Music and was the recipient of The Sir Geraint Evans Scholarship, The Mabel Linwood Prize and The Advanced Diploma Year Prize. Emma then continued her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for one year and gained a Masters Degree in Music.
Upon graduating Emma performed with Opera Omnibus and Grange Park Opera and worked for four years as a full time and freelance chorister at The Royal Opera House.
In 2008 Emma joined the chorus of Welsh National Opera as a chorister and in her time there has performed in seasons at The Wales Millennium Centre, toured across Wales and South England and overseas tours have included Oman, Finland and Dubai, performing in a wide range of music styles and productions.
Martin Lloyd Bass
Ulmo (The Fall of Gondolin)
Thingol (Beren and Luthien)
Ulmo/Thingol (The War of Wrath)
Martin Lloyd comes from Swansea. He has been a full-time member of the Chorus of Welsh National Opera since 2006. During that time he has performed numerous roles for the company including Dr Grenvil La traviata, Alcindoro La bohème, Doctor Macbeth, Imperial Commissioner Madame Butterfly, Manderin Turandot, Count Ceprano Rigoletto and Sergeant Manon Lescaut. Outside of WNO roles performed have included Sarastro Magic Flute, Seneca Coronation of Poppea, Colline La bohème, Zuniga Carmen and Balthasar Amahl and the Night Visitors. Before joining WNO Martin performed extensively as an oratorio and concert artist. He also enjoyed considerable success in eisteddfod competition throughout Wales, culminating in winning the Blue Ribbon prize at the National Eisteddfod in 2004.
Philip Lloyd-Evans Baritone
Ecthelion (The Fall of Gondolin)
Beleg Cuthalion/Brandir (The Children of Hurin)
Born in Wales, Philip studied at the University of East Anglia and the Royal Academy of Music before embarking on a career that has taken him around the world. He has sung with the BBC Singers, Royal Opera House, Kent Opera, Village Opera & Pocket Opera. He has performed over thirty roles for Welsh National Opera including Dancaire Carmen, Marquis La traviata, Ping Turandot, Fiorello The Barber of Seville, Yeletsky Queen of Spades, Cappadocian Salome, Father & Sandman Hansel & Gretel, and the Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd.
Philip sings regularly with choral societies throughout the country in a wide range of repertoire including The Messiah (Handel), Elijah (Mendelssohn), The Kingdom (Elgar), St.John Passion (Bach), St.Matthew Passion (Bach), Carmina Burana (Orff), the Requiems of Brahms, Duruflé, Fauré, Mozart and Verdi.
Recordings include Schubert Abendröte and roles in The Yeomen of the Guard and HMS Pinafore (Telarc), Osud Janacek (EMI), Doctor of Myddfai Maxwell Davies (Collins Classics), Ping Turandot for the S4C series of animated operas, and Wagner Faust for Channel Four.
Huw Llywelyn Tenor, Volante Tenor
Curufin/Chorus Tenor 1 (The War of Wrath)
Huw is from Gwynedd, North Wales. He studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and drama, Cardiff, and at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School at the Royal College of Music, London where he graduated with distinction. During his studies, he won many prestigious awards and scholarships including the Wingate Foundation, James Pantyfedwen Scholarship, Osborne Roberts Award, Susan Chilcott Award and the Wessex Glyndebourne Award.
Huw joined the chorus of Welsh National Opera in 2008 after a period at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Roles include Nerone L’incoronazione di Poppea (BBIOS); Nemorino L’elisir d’amore, Thaddeus The Bohemian Girl (Opera South), title role Albert Herring (understudy) (Glyndebourne Festival Opera).Roles for WNO include Third Jew Salome, Parpignol La bohème, Remendado Carmen, Pong Turandot, Lamplighter/Dancemaster Manon Lescaut, Mosquito The Cunning Little Vixen, Florist Al Wasl (for World Expo 2020 Dubai), Equally at home on the concert platform, recent engagements include a performance of Schumann Dichterliebe Conwy Music Festival 2019, Britten's A Birthday Hansel Wales International Harp Festival 2018 and Tarney and Bach Magnificat for the 2017 North Wales Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral.
Huw spent a period of his career in North Wales where he was a singing teacher working privately and at Bangor University, Coleg Menai and at the William Mathias Music Centre. He also worked extensively for WNO’s Youth & Community department giving concerts, leading schools workshops, Come & Sing events and was the voice specialist for WNO Youth Opera North Wales. He was also a team captain for Only Boys Aloud and Only Kids Aloud.
Having a broad and diverse musical interest, Huw is also an experienced electric guitarist and has played in numerous rock bands over the years. He currently plays with industrial metal band Celavi. Other interests include running, cycling, and the outdoors.
Angharad Morgan Soprano
Luthien (Beren and Luthien)
Nienor/Chorus Soprano 1 (The Children of Hurin)
The Nightingale (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Galadriel (The War of Wrath)
Angharad Morgan was born in South Wales and is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff where she was awarded a full scholarship in 2000. She subsequently completed her studies at the Wales International Academy of Voice with international tenor Dennis O’Neill and soprano Nuccia Focile, and during this time she had the privilege of being mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Angharad was one of the first recipients of a Career Development Award from the Bryn Terfel Foundation and whilst studying was supported by the Dennis O’Neill Foundation. Other awards whilst a student included the Valetta Jacobi Award, the Lee Freeman Memorial Scholarship and the Russell Sheppard Memorial Scholarship. In 2003 she won the title of Vale Singer of the Year and in 2011 was second prize winner in The London Welsh Singer of the Year Competition.
In 2012, Angharad made her professional solo operatic debut at the Wexford Festival in Ireland singing Second Woman in Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet and Peasant Farmer in Chabrier’s Le roi malgré lui for Wexford Festival Opera. In 2013, she joined Glyndebourne Festival Opera as one of three Jerwood Young Artists with the company. She understudied the role of Alice in Falstaff, created and played the role of Ione in a newly commissioned work Wakening Shadow by Luke Styles for Glyndebourne Festival Opera and performed the role of Dew Fairy in Hänsel Und Gretel for Glyndebourne Touring Opera. She returned to Glyndebourne in 2014 to understudy the role of Arminda in the Festival’s new production of La Finta Giardiniera.
Operatic roles performed at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama include Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Miss Wordsworth in Britten’s Albert Herring, Sister Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites, First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Sandman in Humperdinck’s Hänsel Und Gretel, and The Innkeepers Wife in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Marguerite Faust and Musetta La Boheme both for Swansea Cory Opera, and Alice Falstaff for Opera Project. Whilst a student, Angharad sang the role of Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for the Gower Chorale and Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the Opera School of Wales.
Angharad is a very versatile concert artist with a wide ranging concert repertoire. She frequently performs the standard sacred works by Handel, Mozart, Brahms, Haydn, Faure, Vivaldi, Brahms and Rutter, and is a popular soloist in concert with choirs throughout Wales.
In 2016 Angharad became a full time member of the prestigious Welsh National Opera Chorus. Since becoming a Chorister she has played the roles of Marianne (Der Rosenkavalier), Ida (Die Fledermaus), Shepherd Boy (Tosca), and has understudied the roles of Musetta (La Boheme), Cousin (Madam Butterfly), and Emma (Khovanschina).
Angharad is privileged to be singing the role of Luthien for Volante Opera, it’s her first time playing an Elven Princess!
George Newton-Fitzgerald Bass
Turgon (The Fall of Gondolin)
Glaurung (The Children of Hurin)
The Elder King/Caranthir (Feanor)
The Elder King (The War of Wrath)
George holds a first class music degree from Brimingham Conservatoire.
Prior to joining the WNO Chorus, George performed as a backing singer for Chris de Burgh, Meatloaf, Barry Manilow and Elbow, and was a stage singer at Madam Jo Jo's, Soho. His roles have included Reuben/Butler (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dearcoat, West End and National Tour), B G Bigelow (Flahooley, Barbican), Dick Deadeye (HMS Pinafore, D'Oyly Carte West End and National Tour), Baron Zeta (The Merry Widow, Pavilion Opera, American Tour) and Chantal (La cage aux folles, Birmingham Hippodrome).
Since joining WNO he has performed the roles of Ambrogio (The Barber of Seville), Wigmaker (Ariadne auf Naxos), Uncle Yakuside (Madama Butterfly), Gypsy (Il Trovatore), Servent (La Traviata), Benoit (La Boheme), Assassin/Apparition (Macbeth), Leopold (Der Rosenkavalier), Ivan (Die Fledermaus) and Sciarrone (Tosca).
Louise Ratcliffe Mezzo
Mezzo Soloist/Various Characters (Christmas Carol, 2017)
Aredhel/Chorus Mezzo 1 (The Fall of Gondolin)
Chorus Mezzo 1 (The Children of Hurin)
Having attained an English Literature Degree from Manchester University, Louise traveled and worked around the world before completing her Postgraduate Vocal Studies in the UK.
Louise was a full time chorister with Welsh National Opera from 2011-2018 where roles and covers have included Count Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Annina (Der Rosenkavalier & La Traviata), Glasha (Katya Kabanova), Kunstergewerblerin (Lulu), 3rd Naked Virgin (Moses und Aaron), 2nd Lady (Magic Flute), Jay (Cunning Little Vixen) and Bridesmaid (Lohengrin).
External opera roles include Rosette (Manon) Scottish Opera, Anna Kennedy (Maria Stuarda) OperaUpClose, The Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors) Gower Chorale, Sally (A Hand of Bridge) London Chamber Voices, Mrs Noye (Noye’s Fludde) Bath Abbey, The Mummy in John Paul Jones’ new opera The Ghost Sonata,The Forester’s Wife (The Cunning Little Vixen) Woodhouse Festival Opera, Maddalena (Rigoletto) Birmingham Chamber Orchestra, Filipyevna (Eugene Onegin) BYO, Meg Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor) Opera South, Frau Kost (Cabaret) Greenwich Theatre and Hansel (Hansel and Gretel) Utrecht Festival, Holland. Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia) Dartington Festival Opera and Olga (Eugene Onegin) Birmingham Chamber Opera were both received with critical acclaim and she was awarded the Paul Simm prize for Opera for her portrayal of Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea).
Francesca Saracino Mezzo
Anglo-Italian mezzo Francesca Saracino is an alumna of Chetham’s School of Music, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and the Wales International Academy of Voice.
She made her professional stage debut with Wexford Festival Opera, and has subsequently performed roles in Italy, the Netherlands, France, and the Middle East. Francesca has also sung as part of the music ensemble for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
As a full time member of the Welsh National Opera chorus Francesca tours throughout the UK and abroad. Concert and oratorio repertoire includes Pergolesi Magnificat & Stabat Mater, Mozart Requiem, Bach Cantata 147 Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, Vivaldi Gloria, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Handel Samson, and Bach St John Passion.
Stephen Wells Bass
Maeglin (The Fall of Gondolin)
Mablung (The Children of Hurin)
Maedhros (The War of Wrath)
Educated at Victoria University of Wellington and the Royal Northern College of Music, Stephen Wells has been singing full time with the chorus of Welsh National Opera since 2009. Prior to this he pursued a freelance career in the UK and Europe in the fields of opera, oratorio, church and choral music. Stephen read The Hobbit when young, and delved into the Lord of the Rings some years later. He never imagined he would get the chance to give voice to an elvish character from the mists of early Middle Earth, but has enjoyed the experience so much that he plans to actually read all the pages of elvish poetry that he skipped past in LOTR.
Sophie Yelland Mezzo
Chorus Mezzo 1 (Feanor)
The Beloved/Chorus Mezzo 1 (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Elwing (The War of Wrath)
Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Irish Mezzo Soprano Sophie Yelland started music at age 3, when she began Suzuki violin. At age 12, she swapped violin for cello and completed a BMusPerf (cello) at the Elder Conservatorium of Music (University of Adelaide).
She then studied voice at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, where she was awarded the prestigious McConnan Trust Scholarship to obtain BMusPerf (voice) with Honours.
Sophie has been the recipient of awards and scholarships from the University of Melbourne, the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust, the Opera Studio Melbourne, where the Margaret Schofield Opera Scholarship allowed her to work with prominent artists including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Yvonne Kenny and Chuck Hudson.
In Australia, Sophie has worked for major opera companies including Victorian Opera, Opera Australia, Lyric Opera of Melbourne and toured for 9 months as Hansel in the Opera Australia Schools Tour of Hansel & Gretel.
In the UK, Sophie has performed with English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Alongside performing in productions in leading opera houses, Sophie also regularly sings at concert engagements, and has performed at the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and St David's Hall.
Now based in Cardiff, Wales, Sophie is currently contracted to Welsh National Opera, where she has covered roles including Lord Asquith in Rhondda Rips It Up!, Mercedes in Carmen, Tweedledum in Will Todd's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland and Kate Pinkerton in Madam Butterfly.
Paul Corfield Godfrey Composer
The Fall of Gondolin, Beren and Luthien, The Children of Hurin, Feanor, The Nightingale and the Rose, The War of Wrath
Paul Corfield Godfrey was born in London and after a period of residence in Ireland now lives in Wales, studying composition and conducting at various times with Alan Bush and David Wynne. His compositions include four symphonies: various orchestral, chamber and instrumental works: songs and choral works: operas, including The Dialogues of Óisin and Saint Patric and Arcturus, both performed in Cardiff and elsewhere: and a cycle of epic scenes based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s posthumous novel The Silmarillion, the largest work written in Wales in the twentieth century. Other works have been performed in London and elsewhere in throughout the UK, Hungary, America, Australia and New Zealand. His manuscript scores are lodged at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has appeared as a performer both on radio and television, and also reviews live performances and recordings for MusicWeb International.
Ted Nasmith Artist
The Fall of Gondolin, Beren and Luthien, The Children of Hurin, Feanor
Ted is a widely published illustrator of J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy fiction. He is also a formerly accomplished architectural renderer (now retired), and his career has also included diverse forms of book and advertising illustration, along with automotive portraiture. He lives and works in Newmarket, Ontario, and frequently appears as both a speaker and exhibitor at international fantasy conventions.
Ted, gifted from an early age, studied commercial art at Toronto’s Northern Secondary School from 1969 to 1972, graduating with honours. He was soon hired by Visual Concept, a studio in which he was trained in architectural renderings, which he quickly excelled in, and then built a career upon.
From the early 70s onward Ted pursued art devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien in his spare time, and dreamed of having his paintings published in the annual illustrated Tolkien calendars. Initial indifference from publishers did not deter him, and after several years, when the breakthrough came, he had created dozens of paintings. In the years that followed, he came to recognize Tolkien art as his main vocation, as accolades and fan interest accumulated. His Tolkien calendars appeared frequently through the 90s and 2000s, beginning in earnest in 1990, when his first solo calendar appeared. Architectural work soon was overtaken by his growing reputation as a Tolkien illustrator.
His credits now include several Tolkien book covers, and in the late 90s he was commissioned to illustrate The Silmarillion, a crowning honour. His Tolkien art has been licensed in a number of other applications; games, puzzles, plates, role-playing cards, music recordings and documentaries.
More recently, Ted has come to be associated with the ‘Ice and Fire’ series of novels by George R.R. Martin. He was a chief contributor of artwork to The World of Ice and Fire and illustrated the 2011 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar. He most recently illustrated A Game of Thrones, a deluxe signed and numbered collectors’ edition in two volumes, published in April 2015.
Ted’s other interests include music, whether listening, performing or composing, as well as book-reading in a variety of genres, movies, live theatre, photography, and a deep love of skies, weather and natural beauty. He recorded a highly praised music CD in 2007, fulfilling a longstanding ambition for his musical side, and hopes to expand on this side of his art in future. He continues his lifelong love of JRR Tolkien, most recently taking on a series of private commissions.