Amy J Payne – Mezzo-soprano

Biography

Originally from South Devon Amy J Payne joined the ensemble of Opera North in 2016 and has sung roles including Tisbe La Cenerentola, Third Lady The Magic Flute, La Suora Infermiera Suor Angelica, Olga Olsen Street Scene and Cornelia Giulio Cesare. In 2020 Amy appeared as Prince Charming/Stepmother in their filmed Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella and performed Cocteau’s spoken monologue Duet For One Voice (Reflections on La Voix Humaine) as part of Connecting Voices in collaboration with Leeds Playhouse. In 2021 she will sing the role of Petra in A Little Night Music for Opera North/Leeds Playhouse. For over five years previously, Amy performed with Charles Court Opera in their critically acclaimed Boutique Pantomime and has an extensive repertoire with companies including Pop Up Opera, Grimeborn Festival, Musique Cordiale Festival, Tête à Tête Festival, Buxton Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Iford Arts, The National G&S Opera Company, Scottish Opera/D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, Garsington Opera, Mid Wales Opera and English Touring Opera.

Amy trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she was awarded the prestigious English Song Prize. She is also a Samling Scholar and holds a Bachelor Honours degree in French and German from King’s College, London. She has collaborated with Iain Burnside in song projects and recitals both at GSMD and at St. Endellion Summer Festival. In 2017 Amy collaborated with Anne Chmelewsky in a new one-woman operetta Pygmalion 2.0, which was revived in 2018. She also created the role of She in Luca Tieppo’s ‘song opera’ Suggestions of Love. Most recently she made her debut for Leeds Lieder in The Diary of One who Disappeared (Janacek) with tenor Nicky Spence and accompanied by Joseph Middleton. She was also a soloist for Opera North in their 2020 performances of Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music.

Amy is an experienced musical theatre performer, having twice represented GSMD in the finals of Stephen Sondheim Young Performer of the Year competition. Most recently she was cast in the devised Kurt Weill cabaret, Berlin to Broadway, for Opera North & Leeds Playhouse at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall. Her performance of Surabaya Johnny, accompanied by Martin Pickard, was singled out for praise in the national press.

On the oratorio platform Amy’s repertoire includes: Magnificat (CPE & JS Bach), Missa Solemnis (Beethoven), Stabat Mater (Dvorak), Requiem (Duruflé, Mozart & Verdi), Messiah (Handel), Vespers (Rachmaninoff), Petite Messe Solennelle (Rossini) and Gloria (Vivaldi).

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Video

YouTube playlist includes:

  • Priva son d’ogni confortoGiulio Cesare in Egitto, Handel
  • Amour viens aider ma faiblesseSamson et Dalila, Saint-Saëns
  • Fricka’s aria, ‘Wo in Bergen’Die Walküre, Wagner 
  • Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella montage (recorded with Opera North 2020)

Reviews

“We first encounter Amy J. Payne’s Stepmother in beauty salon mode with cucumbers over her eyes, but she later transmutes into Prince Charming, handsomely adorned in red waistcoat and much gold braid to Rachel Szmukler’s designs. Here Payne’s mezzo comes into its own.”

Opera Magazine

“Reflections On La voix humaine was an emotionally charged production that left little to the imagination, and Amy J. Payne as the main protagonist was beautifully contrasting in her delivery: monologues are eternally difficult, requiring of light, shade and unwavering concentration on the actor’s part: she delivered.”

The Yorkshire Times

“Amy J Payne swooned and spat, catlike and furious, in Surabaya Johnny from Happy End.”

The Guardian

“Payne sang with precise articulation and contralto depth…properly effective”

Opera Magazine

“She acted and sang her sisters off the stage…a distinctive voice, quirky and vital”

The Independent on Sunday

Photos

Credit: Sofia Yang Martinez
Credit: Ant Robling