Cast Biographies

Cast Biographies

Liam James Karai

Liam James Karai is a bass-baritone of Scottish, Irish and Indian descent studying a Postgraduate Diploma at the RNCM, under Quentin Hayes. Next year Liam will be part of the Opera Studio at Staatsoper Hamburg. Opera experience includes covering Parsi Rustomji/Satyagraha (ENO), singing Martino/L’occasione fa il ladro (BYO), Leporello/Don Giovanni an Minskman/Flight. Future engagements include his international début as Guccio/Gianni Schicchi (Salzburg Opera Festival). Liam is an Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir John Tomlinson Scholar and won the Frederic Cox award, Joaninha Award and the RNCM Silver Medal.

Samuel Snowden

Samuel Snowden is a Welsh bass-baritone studying with Quentin Hayes at the RNCM, with support from the Gwilym Gwalchmai Jones Award. Previous operatic credits include: Mr Gobineau (The Medium, Menotti), Sergeant Meryll (Yeomen of the Guard, Gilbert and Sullivan) and Minskman (Flight, Dove). In 2022, Samuel will join the chorus of Operal Holland Park for their production of Eugene Onegin. In 2020, Samuel was awarded the Sir John Manduell Prize, recognising exceptional work undertaken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pasquale Orchard

New Zealand-born Soprano Pasquale Orchard holds her MMus and MMA in Classical voice, LTCL diploma in Performance Arts, and diplomas in dance. In 2021 Pasquale received her Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction and is currently completing the RMCM International Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Mary Plazas. Pasquale is generously supported by the Lady Maria Fisher Scholarship, the George Henry Peters Scholarship and the José and Rafton Smallwood Award.

Roles include: Vixen/Cunning Little Vixen, Monica/Medium, La Fée/Cendrillion, Constance/Dialogue des Carmelites and Zerlina/Don Giovanni.

Pasquale looks forward to performing with Grange Park Opera and joining the Opera North chorus full time in 2022.

Sarah Prestwidge

Sarah Prestwidge is an aboriginal Australian soprano, studying a Master of Music with a full ABRSM scholarship. Sarah is also the recipient of the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship from the Australian Council for the Arts and is a Tait Memorial Trust awardee, as well as an awardee of the Wagner Society NSW.

Sarah has been a young artist with both Pacific Opera and Buxton Opera. Her recent engagements have included Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta, Controller, Mr Pasek/Chocholka, and Mrs Anderssen/Nordstrom.

Conrad Chatterton

Conrad Chatterton is an English baritone and Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund Scholar who made his operatic début performing Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen. He has since performed roles including the lead in Gianni Schicchi, Der Haushofmeister and Ein Lakai in Ariadne auf Naxos, Prologue and Immigration Officer in Flight amongst others.

Conrad’s upcoming performances in 2022 include the title role of Sir John Falstaff in British Youth Opera’s production of Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love, as well as being a Chorister with Grange Park Opera for the Summer Season.

Adam Jarman 

Originally from Kent, Adam Jarman is studying for an MMus with help from the Marjorie and John Brooks Award. Prior to this, Adam completed a BMus at Royal Holloway, University of London (2015-2018) where he sang in the college Chapel Choir. Upon graduation he was awarded the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary. He has also worked as a Lay Clerk at Rochester Cathedral and participated in the St Martin’s Voices Fellowship Programme.

Lila Chrisp

Lila is a mezzo-soprano studying with Louise Winter, kindly supported by the Annie Ridyard Scholarship for Mezzo Sopranos and the Kathleen Trust. At the RNCM, Lila has performed the role of Forester’s Wife/Owl, The Cunning Little Vixen; Mrs Nolan, The Medium; and was cast as Older Woman in Flight. Externally, she will be a Garsington Opera Alvarez Young Artist this summer, and is delighted to then be joining the Opera Studio of Theater Freiburg for 2022-24.

Morgana Warren-Jones

Morgana is a Welsh postgraduate mezzo-soprano studying with Hilary Summers. She previously read Music at the University of Leeds and Strasbourg Conservatoire. At the RNCM she performed the role of Madame Flora in The Medium and won the Frederic Cox Award for Singing. She will join Buxton International Festival’s Young Artist programme this Summer and perform the role of Vava in Cherry Town, Moscow in WNO’s Autumn season. Morgana’s studies are supported by Wheldon Charitable Trust, James Pantyfedwen Foundation, Edward Milner Award, Gwilym Gwalchmai Jones Award, Help Musicians UK, Kathleen Trust, Mario Lanza Foundation, Clemence Charitable Trust, Hartsheath Charitable Trust and Split Infinitive Trust.

Melissa Gregory

Melissa is an Australian mezzo-soprano studying with Elizabeth Ritchie. Operatic roles include Der Komponist and Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos, Fox Goldenmane in The Cunning Little Vixen and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. She is a semi-finalist in the 2022 International Handel Singing Competition and holds a JSRB Bel Canto Award. She also won Second Prize in the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the Singing of Strauss, the Annie Ridyard Award, the Peter Heath Award, the James and Mary Glass Scholarship, and the LGNOS 10th Anniversary Grant Initiative. Melissa is a member of the Opera North Mentorship Scheme for 2021/22 and looks forward to joining the chorus of the Glyndebourne Summer Festival.

Camilla Seale

Camilla is a second year Masters student, supported by Help Musicians UK. Recent opera roles include Mrs Nolan (Menotti’s The Medium, RNCM), Prince (Viardot’s Cendrillon, Buxton International Festival) and Bella (Smail’s Blue Electric, Tête à Tête, Playground Theatre). A keen early musician, she performs regularly with Musica Antica, and is Artistic Director of her own cross-arts ensemble, the New Renaissance Collective, which recently won the RNCM Creative Innovator Award. She looks forward to singing with the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus this summer.

Emyr Jones

Emyr Lloyd Jones is a Welsh baritone, studying for an MMus degree with Quentin Hayes, generously supported by the Boise Scholarship, the Yvonne and Peter Wilson Award and the James Pantyfedwen Trust. Emyr’s operatic highlights include the role of Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos, the Forester in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Edmund Bertram in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park at the RNCM. Emyr will be joining the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on the Advanced Diploma in Opera in September.

William Kyle

William is a master’s student currently studying with Quentin Hayes. His studies are generously supported by the Edward Milner Award and the Winship Foundation. At the RNCM his previous roles include Ein Musiklehrer (Ariandne auf Naxos), Harašta (Cunning Little Vixen) and Herald (The Pilgrim’s Progress). This year, William will perform as a Nevill Holt Opera Associate Artist and as a member of the Wexford Factory. He will also join the RLPO, playing Petrus in their semi-staged St John Passion.

Gabriel Seawright

Gabriel is a Welsh-Irish tenor studying for a PGDip with Peter Wilson, generously supported by the Riga Heesom Award, the Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust, the Hargreaves and Ball Trust and the Drapers’ de Turckheim Scholarship.

Roles include Bill/Flight ,Henry Crawford/Mansfield Park, Schoolmaster/Cunning little Vixen, Tanzmeister/Ariadne Auf Naxos, First Armed Man/Die Zauberflote, Premiere Commissaire/Les Dialogues des Carmelites and Satirino/La Calisto. Opera Excerpts include Werther/Werther, Sam Polk/Susannah, Fenton/Falstaff, Lysander/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni.

Zihua Zhang

Zihua Zhang is a Chinese tenor, studying for a PGDip with Paul Nilon, supported by an RNCM scholarship. In 2021 Zihua received his MMus with distinction, gaining an overall mark of 95%. In 2021 he performed Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos and sang Brighella for RNCM Opera Scenes. Zihua looks forwards to continuing his stories at RBC in 2022.

Georgie Malcolm

Soprano Georgie Malcolm is studying for a postgraduate diploma with Elizabeth Ritchie, having gained her MMUS with distinction with Sue Roper. She recently received Second Prize in the National Mozart Singing Competition, also winning the Schubert Prize. Georgie’s operatic roles include Venus in Blow’s Venus and Adonis (L’Offerta Musicale di Venezia) and Monica in Menotti’s The Medium (RNCM). Her studies are kindly supported by the Alice Orrell and A&N Kendall Award, the Riga Heesom Award, and the Waverley Fund Scholarship.

Anastasia Bevan

Anastasia is a postgraduate student studying with Mary Plazas. She received the Dame Eva Turner Award in 2020 and 2021, and is generously supported by the A&N Kendall and Dobie Awards. She was joint first prize winner of the Frederic Cox prize at RNCM in 2021 and a finalist at the 2021 Joyce and Michael Kennedy award for the singing of Strauss. In April she will join 16 of her first cousins as the Bevan Family Consort, in making their debut recording (Signum Records).

Thomas Ashdown

Thomas is a final year postgraduate studying as a lyric baritone with Peter Alexander Wilson, generously supported by the Headley trust.

He grew up in Canterbury and started getting involved in music making through his teenage years, singing in operettas and oratorios as a member of the choir and in solo roles. Thomas has sung in productions of Cendrillon by Massanet (chorus), The Pilgrims Progress by Vaughan Williams (Chorus), The cunning Little Vixen by Janáček (Harašta), Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss (Ein Perückenmacher), in collaborations with Opera North and the Bergen Philharmonic, and roles in scenes from operas by Kurt Weil, Mozart and Britten.

Callum McCandless

Callum’s passion for singing and performing opera was sparked by his role as the First Boy in Scottish Opera’s 2012 production of The Magic Flute.

This passion led him to the RNCM where he is currently studying under Quentin Hayes in the first year of his Master’s degree, with support thanks to the Garner Howard Award. Callum completed an Undergraduate degree in Classical Voice in 2021 and received the Elsie Thurston Prize in 2018.

Emily Brown Gibson

Toronto-born soprano Emily Brown Gibson is a second-year master’s student studying with Mary Plazas. She is generously supported by The Dasha Shenkman Award from The Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund and the Dobie Award from The William and Frances Dobie Charitable Foundation. Recent opera credits include: soprano vocalist in Michael Gordon’s Van Gogh (2021), Elisetta in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto (2019), soprano vocalist in Steve Reich’s The Cave (2019), Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes (2019), and Grilletta in Haydn’s Lo Speziale (2018, 2019).

Sally Pitts

Sally is a soprano from North Yorkshire, studying with Hilary Summers, generously supported by the Oglesby Charitable Trust. She sings with the RNCM’s Songsters and has a particular interest in French Mélodie (she was highly commended in the Betty Bannerman Award for French Song in 2020 and 2021). She is looking forward to spending her summer as a Young Artist at the Buxton International Festival and as a Festival Singer at Opernfest with the Berlin Opera Academy.

Henry Strutt

Henry is a first-year postgraduate tenor studying with Peter Wilson. He graduated in 2020 with a First Class Honours degree in Music from The University of York, and successfully enrolled onto The Sixteen’s Young Artist programme, The Genesis Sixteen 20/21. Henry made his first RNCM operatic appearance as Der Tenor in the prologue of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. He is incredibly grateful to be supported by the José and Rafton Smallwood Award, and the Jacob Marsland Award.

Hakeem Henderson

Hakeem has performed such works as Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, Hannibal Lokumbe’s Healing Tones and Handel’s Messiah.

A native of Baltimore, Henderson received his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance at Morgan State University where he studied under Dr Lester Green. That same year, he was awarded a scholarship from Waverley Fund Scholarships to study at the RNCM with Michael Harper. Henderson would like to sincerely thank Waverley Fund Scholarships for their support.

Cherie Tse

Cherie is a second year postgraduate soprano studying with Sarah Rhodes.

Ellen Pearson

Ellen is a fourth year undergraduate mezzo studying with Elizabeth Ritchie.

Jane Burnell

Jane is a first year postgraduate soprano studying with Paul Nilon.

Priscilla Fong

Priscilla is a first year postgraduate mezzo studying with Eiddwen Harrhy.