Since his professional début in October 2000, South African-born tenor, Colin Lee has rapidly established himself as one of Britain’s leading young tenors. He has worked with most of the major UK Opera Houses as well as in Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. His career is all the more remarkable since, until 2000, he was working as an accountant in North London while continuing his studies in private with the welsh tenor Jeffrey Talbot.
In 2007 Colin made two highly successful role débuts which brought him to the attention of major opera houses around the world. In January Colin sang TONIO La fille du Regiment at ROH, Covent Garden, sharing the role with Juan Diego Florez in the critically acclaimed Laurent Pelly production, conducted by Bruno Campanella. Such was his performance that Opera wrote “If Juan Diego Florez hadn't anything to do with the Royal Opera's new Fille du Regiment and Colin Lee had sung the complete run of Tonio rather than this single performance, I can't imagine anyone would have felt remotely short-changed.”
In March 2007 Colin sang LEOPOLD La Juive at the Bastille in Opera de Paris’ new production directed by Pierre Audi and conducted by Daniel Oren where he was praised for his elegant singing and impeccable French.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Colin attended the world renowned Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School as a young boy. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Colin came to London in 1994 and commenced private vocal studies with the Welsh tenor, Jeffrey Talbot. In 2000 Colin gave up his full time job and was cast by director Ian Judge as NANKI POO Mikado in a new D’Oyly Carte production at the West End Theatre, Savoy. The show ran for 4 months with Colin singing 142 consecutive performances to critical acclaim. Following this success, Colin was engaged by a number of regional festivals in the UK and Ireland for 2001, singing RINUCCIO Gianni Schicchi, ALFREDO La Traviata, NANKI POO Mikado, and FREDERIC Pirates of Penzance and TAMINO The Magic Flute. Then in 2002, Colin was invited to join ENO’s 3 year Young Singers Programme where he performed roles such as ALMAVIVA, IOPAS and HELENUS Les Troyens, FERRANDO and FENTON.
Also in 2002 Colin started a special relationship with the Opera Rara recording label, which endures to this day. He has collaborated on 9 Opera Rara recordings to date.
2005/06 saw Colin’s career emerge onto the international stage with significant débuts at ROH (Mitridate, Re di Ponto), Salzburg (Mitridate, Re di Ponto) and WNO (Barber of Seville).
Opera engagements for 2007-2010 include UBERTO/GIACOMO V La donna del lago for Garsington Opera, RAMIRO La Cenerentola for WNO, the title role in Le Comte Ory for Greek National Opera, ALPHONSE in Herold’s Zampa for the Opera Comique, Paris conducted by William Christie, ELVINO La Sonnambula for Vlaamse Opera, ALMAVIVA Il barbiere di Siviglia for WNO, Vienna Staatsoper and ROH, NARCISO Turco in Italia, ROH. Concert engagements include Puccini’s Messa di Gloria for RTE, Dublin, and a rare performance of Rossini’s Messa di Gloria in Lucca, Italy.
Colin has worked with conductors such as Pappano, Campanella, Rizzi, Minkowski, Hickox, Petrenko, Parry and Daniel and directors such as David Alden, Pierre Audi, Laurent Pelly, Richard Jones, Graham Vick, Günter Krämer and Ian Judge. He has performed with orchestras such as Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Les Musiciens du Louvre – Grenoble, LPO, BBC Symphony, LSO and RLPO.
See Colin's website for more information. There, you can also listen to audio of several of his recordings.
You can listen to a delightful interview with Julianne Young about her recent appearance in Welsh National Opera's revival of "La Cenerentola" on January's Operalovers.net podcast.
Below is her official biography.
Born in Scotland, Julianne grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where she studied at the South African College of Music, completing her five years with a first-class Honours Degree. In 1999 she was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. During her studies, with Lillian Watson, prizes included the Song Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the John McCormack Golden Voice Competition in Ireland.
Opera roles include Mother Goose and Baba the Turk The Rake’s Progress, both for La Monnaie and Lyon, Waltraute Die Walküre at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Alcina Orlando furioso with Jean-Christophe Spinosi and the Ensemble Matheus in Turin and Bremen, the Sorceress Dido and Aeneas in her debut at La Scala, Milan (understudy Dido), Angelina La Cenerentola in Frankfurt and Cologne, Polly Peachum The Beggar’s Opera in Bari, Italy, Idamante Idomeneo for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel and Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera North, Second Lady Die Zauberflöte for Welsh National Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival, Edith Pirates of Penzance for English National Opera and Popova The Bear for Clonter Opera. Earlier roles include Jocasta Oedipus Rex, Hippolyta A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Adalberto Ottone, Vitige Flavio, Baba the Turk The Rake’s Progress, Komponist Ariadne auf Naxos (all RCM), Phoebe The Yeoman of the Guard (British Youth Opera), cover Ruggiero Alcina for English National Opera and cover Nancy Albert Herring for Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Recent engagements include Tisbe and title role La Cenerentola for WNO.
Julianne is a keen recitalist and has performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican and with Michael Pollock at St David’s Hall, Cardiff. Oratorio work includes Britten’s Praise we great Men with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo at the Aldeburgh Festival, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall with Sir David Willcocks, and Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions at St. John’s Smith Square, the latter with Peter Schreier. She has worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Festival Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, to name but a few.
Engagements in 2008 include Tisbe La Cenerentola for Gran Teatr del Liceu, Barcelona, Baba the Turk in Palermo, Waltraute Die Walküre at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Opera Galas for Castleward Opera and Mother Goose The Rake’s Progress for Teatro Real, Madrid. Subsequent engagements include Mother Goose for Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
This biography is valid until Feb 2008.
OperaLovers' forthcoming podcast on La Traviata will feature a review of the recent production at Covent Garden with Dmitri Hvorostovsky among the stars.
Internationally acclaimed Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky was born and studied in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. In 1989, he won the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
From the start, audiences were bowled over by his cultivated voice, innate sense of musical line and natural legato. After his Western operatic debut at the Nice Opera in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame, his career exploded to take in regular engagements at the world’s major opera houses and appearances at renowned international festivals, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Vienna State Opera, and the Chicago Lyric Opera.
A celebrated recitalist in demand in every corner of the globe – from the Far East to the Middle East, from Australia to South America – Hvorostovsky has appeared at such venues as Wigmore Hall, London; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh; Carnegie Hall, New York; the Teatro alla Scala, Milan; the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Moscow; the Liceu, Barcelona; the Suntory Hall, Tokyo; and the Musikverein, Vienna.
The singer regularly performs in concert with top orchestras like the New York Philharmonic and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and conductors, including James Levine, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Yuri Termikanov and Valery Gergiev. “Do not grieve,” a symphonic work by Giya Kancheli written for Dmitri Hvorostovsky and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, premiered in May 2002. The distinguished Russian composer Georgi Sviridov wrote a song cycle, St Petersburg, especially for the baritone, who often includes it and other works by Sviridov in his recitals. He has also released the CD Sviridov: A Vocal Poem.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s extensive discography spans recital and aria discs for Philips Classics and for Delos Records, as well as complete opera performances on CD and DVD, notably a disc of Verdi arias. His recent releases include 2007’s Heroes and Villains; a disc of Soviet-era songs, Moscow Nights, accompanied by Constantine Orbelian leading the Moscow Chamber and a traditional Russian ensemble, the Style of Five; a DVD in concert with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal; and Passione Di Napoli, a compendium of blockbuster Neapolitan songs. He has also starred in Don Giovanni Unmasked, an award-winning film (by Rhombus Media) based on the Mozart opera, tackling the dual roles of the lecherous nobleman and his disapproving manservant.
Note: this biography is taken from Dmitri Hvorostovsky's website
One of today’s highest-profile opera singers, soprano Anna Netrebko was born in Krasnodar in southern Russia and studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory. She attracted international attention while performing with conductor Valery Gergiev at the Kirov Opera, and has since become a special favourite at the New York Metropolitan and the Vienna State Opera. Her trophy roles include Violetta in La traviata (Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Covent Garden), Massenet’s Manon (Vienna, Los Angeles, Berlin), Natasha in Prokofiev’s War and Peace (St Petersburg, La Scala, Madrid, New York), Mimì in La bohème (New York) and Gilda in Rigoletto (Covent Garden, Munich). She has performed regularly with Mexican tenor Roland Villazón – their live Salzburg recording of La traviata is a Deutsche Grammophon bestseller on both CD and DVD.
To find out more, you can view her official website here
Tenor Jonas Kaufman was born and trained in Munich. His unusually broad repertoire ranges from lyric roles such as Alfredo in La traviata and Rodolfo in La bohème to Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagnerian roles such as Walther (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and Parsifal. He sings regularly at the world’s major opera houses, including La Scala and the Metropolitan, while enjoying especially close links to the Zurich Opera. At Covent Garden he has performed opposite Angela Gheorghiu in Puccini’s La rondine and Anna Caterina Antonacci in Carmen. In summer 2008 in London he sings Cavaradossi in Tosca for the first time. Future plans include Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon, Gounod’s Roméo and Wagner’s Lohengrin.
As a recording artist he has made a prizewinning disc of songs by Strauss and recently released his first album of arias for Decca.
To find out more, you can visit his website by clicking here
The soprano Ermonela Jaho, who trained in her native Albania and in Italy, made her professional debut as Violetta in La traviata in Tirana at the age of just 17 and has subsequently sung the role in Munich, Naples, Trieste, Avignon, Marseille and Lille. Her Covent Garden came in January 2008 when she replaced Anna Netrebko at short notice in La traviata. History repeated itself in mid-March when Ruth Ann Swenson fell it at the Met in New York and Jaho was called in -- again for Violetta. Her other roles include Mimì (La bohème), Amina (La sonnambula), Micaëla (Carmen), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Norina (Don Pasquale), Adina (L’elisir d’amore) and Giulietta (I capuleti e i montecchi). She has made a number of appearances at Ireland’s Wexford Festival and her future engagements include Glyndebourne (Micaëla) in 2008, Violetta in Florence, her debut with San Francisco Opera and Madama Butterfly in Detroit and Philadelphia.
You can find out more on her website here
Victoria Simmonds studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London and The Adventures of Pinocchio marked her debut with Opera North.
At ENO she was company principal from 2000 to 2005; her roles at the Coliseum included Rosina (The Barber of Seville), Dorabella Così fan tutte, Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro), Mercédès (Carmen), Zaïda (The Turk in Italy), Pitti-Sing (The Mikado), Ascanius (The Trojans), Hermia A Midsummer Night's Dream and Zerlina Don Giovanni.
Roles she has performed elsewhere include: Sesto La clemenza di Tito (GTO); Carmen (Royal Albert Hall); Lucienne in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt (Netherlands Opera) and Isolier in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory (Garsington Opera). At the 2006 Aix Festival she sang Wellgunde (Das Rheingold ), conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, also heard in a concert version with the Berlin Philharminic in Berlin and at the 2007 Salzburg Easter Festival. in 2007 she sang the title role in Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges (Concertgebouw Amsterdam).
On the concert platform she has appeared with the Philharmonia, the Hallé and the London Symphony Orchestra, and at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival.
You can find out more on her agent's website here
Baritone Gerald Finley brings a velvety voice and acute dramatic sensibilities to his interpretations of opera, song and oratorio.
Born in Canada, but based in the UK since his studies in London and Cambridge, he has an operatic repertoire that ranges from Handel and Mozart to new works by major contemporary composers, and appears regularly at the world’s leading houses: Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, Paris Opéra, the Metropolitan, San Francisco, Chicago, Salzburg and more.
At the Covent Garden his roles have included included Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Figaro and Count Almaviva, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Yeletsky (Queen of Spades), Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, the Forester in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, and Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, for which he received a Olivier Award nomination. Other composers whose operas he sings include Handel, Gluck, Puccini, Stravinsky, Britten and, among living composers, Mark Anthony Turnage (Finley’s performance in The Silver Tassie at ENO brought him Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2000), John Adams (Dr Atomic in San Francisco, Amsterdam and Chicago), Kaija Saariaho (L’amour de loin in Paris, Santa Fe and Helsinki) and Tobias Pickett (Fantastic Mr Fox in Los Angeles).
And you can read more about him and hear some excerpts of his work on his website here
Jonathan Dove, composer of The Adventures of Pinocchio has written 20 operas, including the celebrated airport opera Flight – first seen at Glyndebourne in 1998 and subsequently in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Australia and the USA – and The Enchanted Pig, given over 80 performances around Christmas 2006 after its premiere in 2006. His output also includes two TV operas, several chamber operas and a series of community operas around the UK, which have at times involved several hundred amateur performers.
Dove has also written music for over 30 theatre productions, including His Dark Materials at the National Theatre. He has received the Royal Philharmonic Society award and from 2001 to 2006 was Artistic Director of the Spitalfields Festival in East London.
Amanda Roocroft has secured an international reputation as one of Britain's most exciting singers. She graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and studies with Paul Farrington.
Hailed by the press as the new British soprano even before she'd graduated, she had rocky start to her career, when the press then turned on her describing her as 'immature'. But that is all in the past now, particularly since last year she won an Olivier award for outstanding achievement in opera.
In concert she has appeared with leading orchestras throughout Europe and North America with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Ivor Bolton, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniele Gatti, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Valery Gergiev and Bernard Haitink.
She enjoys a close relationship with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Glyndebourne Festival, the English National Opera, the Welsh National Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, and her roles in these houses have included Fiordiligi/'Cosi fan Tutte', Countess/'Le Nozze di Figaro', Donna Elvira/'Don Giovanni', Desdemona/'Otello', Amelia/'imon Boccanegra', Mimi/'La Boheme', Eva/'Die Meistersinger', the title roles in Madama Butterfly, Katya Kabanoba and Jenufa, Genevre/'Ariodante', Cleopatra/'Giulio Cesare', Jenifer/'The Midsummer Marriage', and Tatiana/'Eugene Onegin'. Recent opera highlights include Elisabetta/'Don Carlos' in Amsterdam conducted by Riccardo Chailly and directed by Willy Decker; Ellen Orford/'Peter Grimes' with Sir Simon Rattle and Trevor Nunn in Salzburg; a tour of Japan (Countess) with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Zubin Mehta; Tatiana/'Eugene Onegin' for Welsh National Opera; and the title role in Jenufa in Berlin, Barcelona and, most recently, at the English National Opera for which she won the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.
A noted recitalist she has appeared at London’s Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Musikverein in Vienna, New York’s Lincoln Center, La Monnaie in Brussels and in Munich, Frankfurt, Paris, Valencia and Lisbon.
This is for information only and should not be reproduced. Please contact us for a full current biography.
Photo: Anthony Roocroft
To listen to Operalovers' exclusive interview with Sir Thomas Allen, please click here.
Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. At the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where in 2006 he celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of his début with the company, he has sung over forty roles. In 2006, he also celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary of his début at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Equally renowned on the concert platform, he appears in recital in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe, in Australia and America, and has performed with the world's great orchestras and conductors. The greatest part of his repertoire has been extensively recorded.
His plans include a return to the Metropolitan Opera; his role debut as Gianni Schicchi for Los Angeles Opera, Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte) at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and for Dallas Opera and Father (Hansel und Gretel) and Faninal (Der Rosenkavalier) for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
He made a triumphant directing debut in 2003 with ‘Albert Herring’ at the Royal College of Music and he has recently directed tremendously successful productions of ‘Don Giovanni’ and ‘Così fan tutte’ for Samling Opera at The Sage, Gateshead. He made an equally acclaimed U.S. directing debut with ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ for Arizona Opera at the beginning of the 2006/07 season and with ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ for Scottish Opera in 2007.
In the New Year's Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and, in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was made a Knight Bachelor.
(From the Askonas Holt website)
Alfie Boe started his singing career by joining a local opera society, but his trajectory was set when he left home and his job as a body mechanic to join the D'Oyly Carte Touring Opera Company. It was a fine experience but it wasn't enough for the young Boe. He wanted to learn his art thoroughly and left for London enrolling at the Royal College of Music. After graduating he joined the The National Opera Studio and then went on to the Villar Young Artists Programme at The Royal Opera House. Alfie's first big break came when Baz Luhrmann, after spending two years looking for one of the main leads for his controversial production of Puccini's 'La Boheme' approached Alfie for the role. His performance on Broadway led to him winning a Tony Award. He has also won the John McCormack Young Voice Award and Lyric Tenor of the World Audience Award. Alfie has enjoyed two chart topping classical albums and has released his third studio album. Previously he was nominated for a Classical Brit Award for 'Best Album' sharing the category with Sir Paul McCartney and Sting; he's toured the length and breadth of the country; performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Lesley Garratt and Sir Willard White; performed in a sell-out run of the English National Opera's production of Kismet alongside Michael Ball and performed at Clarence House where he graciously accepted the role as Ambassador for HRH's Arts & Kids Foundation. He's currently playing the part of Rodolfo for the third time, this time under the direction of Jonathan Miller at the Colisseum 12.02.09 based on Alfie Boe's website: www.alfie-boe.com