Amy J Payne – Mezzo-soprano

Biography

Originally from South Devon, Amy J Payne has an extensive operatic repertoire and has worked with companies across the UK including; Opera North, Scottish Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, Mid Wales Opera, Buxton Festival, Iford Arts, D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and The National G&S Opera Company. Amy is currently covering the title role in a new production of Carmen for Opera North and is delighted to be returning to English Touring Opera in 2022 to sing Amelfa in The Golden Cockerel.

For Opera North she has sung Olga Olsen Street Scene, Cornelia Giulio Cesare, Third Lady The Magic Flute, Tisbe La Cenerentola, La Suora Infermiera Suor Angelica on the main stage, alongside appearing in Berlin to Broadway (a Kurt Weill cabaret) at Leeds City Varieties and in a Whistlestop Opera: Cinderella, which was filmed in 2020. Most recently she received praise in the national press for her performance as Petra in A Little Night Music in co-production with Leeds Playhouse.

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. In 2020 Amy made her debut for Leeds Lieder in The Diary of One who Disappeared (Janacek) with tenor Nicky Spence, accompanied by Joseph Middleton. She has also collaborated with composers creating new work for the voice including Anne Chmelewsky (The Looking Glass, Pygmalion 2.0), Laura Bowler (Women Conduct), Luca Tieppo (Suggestions of Love)  and Daniel Saleeb (The Promise).

Amy is an experienced and confident actor who has an established reputation in musical theatre and operetta, especially in the works of Gilbert & Sullivan. For years, she was a regular for Charles Court Opera in their popular ‘boutique’ pantomimes in North London. In 2020 she was invited to perform Jean Cocteau’s spoken monologue Le bel indifferent (Duet for One Voice) at Leeds Playhouse for the Connecting Voices Festival with Opera North and also delivered a spoken monologue as ‘Ethel’ written as part of Opera North’s 2017 production of Trial by Jury.

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). To include extracts from La Cenerentola, Rossini, Cendrillon, Viardot and Cendrillon, Massenet.

Reviews

“Amy J Payne, as the knowing servant Petra, is a truth-telling working-class hero, especially in her moving delivery of ‘The Miller’s Son'”

The Telegraph

“And, though she kept me waiting for nearly three hours, Amy J Payne absolutely nailed one of my favourite songs in the whole of musical theatre, Petra’s thrilling, swaggering paean to promiscuous pleasures (with its brutal warnings against complacency) ‘The Miller’s Son'”.

Broadway World

“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