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Lyric soprano Emily Garland has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune singing Liszt songs to promote a forthcoming Wigmore Hall recital. Winner of the Richard Lewis Award at the Royal Academy of Music, she will return to The Grange Festival in 2021 to cover the title role in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. In 2019 she covered Contessa Le nozze di Figaro, working with Ann Murray to prepare the role, and sang in Precipice, their 2020 outdoor promenade performance, as well as a recorded masterclass on the main stage with Dame Felicity Palmer.
Winner of the 2018 Ferrier Song Prize and graduate of the Royal College of Music’s International Opera School, Scottish soprano Catriona Hewitson has sung roles for Grange Festival, Garsington Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera and is a 2020/21 Scottish Opera Emerging Artist where she has performed Despina Così fan tutte (released for online distribution). Recent and future performances include covering Gretel Hansel and Gretel for Scottish Opera and making her debut at St John’s Smith Square in 2021.
English-Japanese soprano Julia Mariko Smith studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and sang Barbarina in performance for Opera North’s 2019/20 The Marriage of Figaro. She also toured Gianetta The Gondoliers with the National G&S Opera Company and sang Soeur Constance for RNCM’s Dialogues des Carmélites. In 2021 she will appear as Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel for Waterperry Opera Festival, Guilietta/Cleopatra in Wexford Opera’s Pocket Opera: Shakespeare in Love and is covering Amore Orfeo ed Euridice for Opera North.
A versatile singing actress, mezzo-soprano Amy J Payne studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she won the prestigious English Song Prize. For Opera North she sang Olga Olsen Street Scene and Cornelia Giulio Cesare following previous appearances as Third Lady The Magic Flute and Tisbe La Cenerentola for the Company. In 2020 Amy appeared as Prince Charming/Stepmother in Opera North’s Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella film and performed Cocteau’s 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.
Originally from Northumberland, British tenor Alex Banfield has performed with the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Sinfonia and Opera North. He is currently a young artist at Theater Basel’s OperAvenir 20/21 where he will sing Tamino/Armed Man Die Zauberflöte, Eumete Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi.
In 2021 Scottish tenor Matthew McKinney completes his Masters at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he has been awarded funding from the Robertson Trust, John Mather Rising Star Scholarship, Help Musicians (Ian Fleming) Award and Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship, among others. In 2020 he sang as a chorister with the New Generation Festival in their production of La Cenerentola at the Palazzo Corsini in Florence.
Zambian-born baritone Themba Mvula was awarded second prize in the Bologna International Vocal Competition and has sung for WNO, ENO, Opera North and Birmingham Opera Company. In 2020 Themba was due to debut with English Touring Opera as Mel in Tippet’s The Knot Garden, before cancellation due to COVID-19, and sang Frazier in Theater an der Wien’s production of Porgy and Bess and the title role in Bhekizizwe by Robert Fokkens and Mkhululi Mabija in a filmed production for Opera Ddraig. In 2021 Themba sang in recital with Roderick Williams for the Brighton Festival and will sing Hanezò L’amico Fritz for Opera Holland Park. In 2022 he will make his role debut as Marullo Rigoletto for Opera North.
Bass-baritone Meilir Jones performed the roles of Sciarrone & Carceriere Tosca at the Abu Dhabi International Festival, Leporello Don Giovanni for Opra Cymru & Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra and Messenger in the first European staging of Handel’s Belshazzar for The Grange Festival while covering Figaro Le nozze di Figaro. Solo concert highlights include the first performance of Handel’s Messiah at Wales Millennium Centre and Bryn Terfel’s Brynfest at Royal Festival Hall. In 2021 he will tour England and France with Diva Opera as Masetto Don Giovanni and Dancaïre Carmen.