Marta Estal Vera
Our twelve new singers joining the GSA Bel Canto Course this July in Castiglione
JOSEPHINE GODDARD | UK
Soprano Josephine Goddard studies at the Royal College of Music International Opera School under Patricia Rozario OBE. She is an ABRSM scholar, having previously been supported by a Douglas & Hilda Simmonds Award, a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award and the Josephine Baker Trust.
Josephine’s recent successes include winning a Help Musicians UK Licette Award, the RCM Lieder competition, and making her solo debut at the Wigmore Hall. She has also performed as a soloist at many other prestigious venues including Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall and the Southbank Centre. She is in regular demand as a recitalist and oratorio soloist all over Britain and most recently performed the soprano solos in Elijah for the Leith Hill Music Festival. She has taken part in a number of masterclasses with eminent performers including Sarah Connolly, Toby Spence, Felicity Lott, Wolfgang Holzmair, and also with Ian Partridge as part of the Oxford Lieder Festival where she was covering a recital of Schubert Lieder.
Operatic roles include: Adolfo Faramondo for the London Handel Festival; Sandrina La finta giardiniera at the RCMIOS; cover Cretan Woman Idomeneo at Garsington Opera; Rosalinde Die Fledermaus at the RCMIOS; Cathleen Riders to the Sea for British Youth Opera; cover Hannah The Merry Widow for Ryedale Festival Opera; and cover Amor L’incoronazione di Poppea for ETO.
NIKA GORIČ | Slovenia
Slovenian soprano Nika Gorič began her studies in classical dance and music at The Maribor Conservatoire of Music and Ballet, before completing her Bachelor’s at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. She obtained a Master’s degree with First Class Honours from the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she is currently completing her studies with Lillian Watson and Jonathan Papp on the prestigious Opera Course. Her operatic roles include Titania Die Feenkönigin for the Salzburg Festival; Norina Don Pasquale with Slovene National Theatre; Eurydice Orphée aux enfers, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, and Fortuna and Pallade L’incoronazione di Poppea for Royal Academy Opera. Whilst in Graz, Nika sang the roles of Barbarina Marriage of Figaro, Sandman Hansel and Gretel, and Elisetta Il matrimonio segreto. Highlights on the concert platform have included Handel’s Messiah with Opéra National de Bordeaux, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer at the Klavier Festival Ruhr with Graham Johnson, several appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival including a concert alongside Mark Padmore and Simon Lepper, recitals at the Kioi Hall in Tokyo and the Festival Maribor with Richard Tognetti, performances of Berg’s 7 Frühe Lieder at Kings Place, Bach’s cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen with Margaret Faultless, and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Nika has appeared on ‘In Tune’ for BBC Radio 3 singing Bach’s cantata Ich hatte viel bekümmernis. She is a member of the Academy Song Circle and a soloist in the Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata series. Future engagements include a solo recital at the Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Colston Hall, and participating in Das Lied competition in Heidelberg. She is grateful for support from a Sir Charles Mackerras Opera Scholarship, an Independent Opera Voice Scholarship, the Josephine Baker Trust, and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture.
EMMA McDERMOTT | UK
Soprano Emma McDermott has been described as a “spectacular prima donna” by belcanto.ru and as having “a large voice that carried easily over the orchestra” by the Washington Post. She has performed various roles and scenes including the title role in Aïda, Silvia in Mascagni’s Zanetto, Amelia Un ballo in maschera, Desdemona Otello, Le Prince Charmant Cendrillon, Mme. de Tourvel The Dangerous Liaisons, Liza Pikovaya Dama, Mimi La bohème, Marguerite Faust, Mother Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mother Hansel and Gretel, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte, Contessa Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Elisetta Il matrimonio segreto, and Belle in A Christmas Carol. Her concert performances include Verdi’s Requiem, Diane in Debussy’s Diane au bois (USA premiere) with Emil de Cou and the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, a concert with the American String Quartet, as well as soloist in St. Matthew Passion and Messiah at the Moscow Conservatory, and Bach’s Cantata (BWV 140) ‘Wachet Auf’ with the Georgetown Chorale. During the 2013/14 season, Emma studied voice and Russian language in Moscow, while also working as the English diction coach at the Young Opera Program at the Bolshoi Theater. She has participated in the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; Orfeo International Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy; La Musica Lirica festival in Novafeltria, Italy; and the Bethesda Summer Music Festival in Maryland. Emma is a native of California and received her Master’s Degree in Piano and Vocal Performance from George Mason University in 2013, and a professional studies certificate from Manhattan School of Music in 2016.
ILONA REVOLSKAYA | Russia
Ilona Revolskaya was born in Russia and started music lessons at the age of six. She made her debut as Brigitta in Iolanta at the Moscow Conservatory where she went on to sing Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Musetta in La bohème. Since 2013 Ilona has been a guest soloist at the Yekaterinburg Theatre of Musical Comedy, where she performed Adele in Die Fledermaus. She made her critically acclaimed UK debut as Nero in L’incoronazione di Poppea for Woodhouse Opera Festival in 2015. In December 2015 she sang the role of Sister Genevieve in Suor Angelica at the Leeds College of Music. In September 2016 she joined Royal Academy Opera, where she performed the role of Morgana in Alcina and Diana in Orpheus in the Underworld. Ilona is an experienced oratorio singer and has performed in many venues, including Moscow Conservatory Great Hall, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Great Hall, Moscow Operetta, and Solitär at Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Highlights of her early career also included performing for such people as Galina Vishnevskaya and Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin. Ilona studies under the tutelage of Susan McCulloch and Jonathan Papp. She has also received lessons from Yuri Grigoriev, Ildikó Raimondi, Rudolf Piernay, Della Jones, Deborah York, Mark Shanahan, and David Cowan. Her studies are generously supported by the Khodorkovsky Foundation Scholarship, and the Josephine Baker Trust.
MARTA ESTAL VERA | Spain
Soprano Marta Estal Vera completed her Bachelor’s as a student of the soprano Gloria Fabuel and is currently finishing her studies in the Conservatory “Gioacchino Rossini” di Pesaro with Evghenia Dundekova. She has participated in masterclasses with Mariella Devia, Simon Lepper, and Wolfgang Rieger. She won First Prize and ‘Best Singer’ in the Competition ‘Intercentros Melómano’ and was a finalist in the 84th Competition ‘Jeunesses Musicales’ in Spain. She has given recitals in the National Auditorium of Spain, Reale Accademia di Spagna a Roma, Palau de les Arts, and Palau de la Música. She has also been invited to sing at the Spanish Music Festival in Moscow, Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada, Festival Internacional de Úbeda, and Festival de Música Española de Cádiz. She has sung with the Partiture Orchestra of Jaén and the violinist Ara Malikian. In 2017 she will sing as a soloist with the National Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. Recently she has released a CD with the Philharmonic University Orchestra of Valencia of unpublished music from the 20th century. In 2015 she toured the show “Satie: Gimnopedias, drawings and puppets” with the company ‘Bambalina Teatre Practicable’; the same year she debuted as Regina in the opera Una cosa rara by Martin y Soler. In 2016 she finished her Bachelor in Piano Performance with the highest marks, as well as graduating in Translation and Interpreting and finishing a degree in Acting.
LAUREN DECKER | USA
Second-year contralto Lauren Decker recently received, for the second consecutive year, an Encouragement Award at the Upper Midwest Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A Wisconsin native, Lauren holds a B.F.A. degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She spent the summers of 2014 and 2015 at Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices and has also participated in the American Wagner Project (Washington, D.C.), where she was a featured artist for recitals in both 2015 and 2016, and the Up North Vocal Institute (Boyne Falls, Michigan), performing Sally in Barber’s A Hand of Bridge. She also received third place in the Senior Women Division of the Wisconsin National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition (2011). During the 2016/17 Season at Lyric Opera, Lauren Decker performed in Die Zauberflöte and the ‘Celebrating Placido’ concert. This season she features in Rigoletto, Die Walküre and I Puritani at Lyric Opera.
IDA RÄNZLÖV | Sweden
Ida Ränzlöv is a London-based Swedish mezzo-soprano. She is currently studying at the International Opera School at the Royal College of Music, under professor Dinah Harris. She is a Victoria Robey Scholar supported by an Opperby Stokowski Award. She is also generously supported by The Vivien and Peter Beckwith Fund, and The Josephine Baker Trust. Originally from Helsingborg, Sweden, Ida began her training at the Malmö Academy of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music in Performance, graduating with distinction in 2016. During her time in Malmö she received several scholarships and awards, including the Aurora Lillieros Scholarship, Thora Olsson Cultural Fund Scholarship from the Swedish Church in London, and a renowned scholarship from John Andersson in Anderslöv Foundation. In the summer of 2016, Ida made her opera debut as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Swedish opera company Smålandsoperan. Other roles include Arminda in RCMIOs production of Mozart’s La finta giardinera, the title role in Faramondo for the London Handel Festival, and Flora in La traviata in collaboration with the Folkoperan in Stockholm and the Malmö Academy of Music. Ida is a frequently engaged oratorio and Lied singer and has recently performed Handel’s Messiah in Copenhagen, Denmark, Bach’s Matthew Passion in Dortmund, Germany and Gösta Nystroems Songs by the sea with Malmö Academy of Music’s Symphony Orchestra.
FREDERICK JONES | New Zealand
British-born New Zealand tenor Frederick Jones completed a Master of Arts in Advanced Vocal Studies with Distinction in June 2016 at the Wales International Academy of Voice, studying with internationally renowned tenor, Dennis O’Neill. In 2013 he graduated from Te Kōkī, The New Zealand School of Music with a Postgraduate Diploma in Operatic Performance (Distinction), having previously completed a BMus in Performance Voice in 2012. After his studies in Cardiff, he returned to New Zealand where he was placed first in both the Wellington Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria Competition, and the coveted New Zealand Aria Competition. He has recently returned to the United Kingdom to continue his vocal studies with Dennis O’Neill, before starting on the Opera Course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama this September. His operatic performances include Torero Ainadamar (Golijov) with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; various roles in Der Rosenkavalier, and cover Oronte Alcina for Day’s Bay Opera; Pasha Seid Il corsaro, Starvelling A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Bill A Hand of Bridge with The New Zealand School of Music; Raimondado Carmen for The New Zealand Choral Foundation; and Thomas Brown The Zoo and Counsel for the Plaintiff Trial by Jury with The Garden Opera Company. Frederick was selected as a Semi Finalist in the 2016 IFAC Australian Singing Competition and attended the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School in 2016 with a full scholarship.
LONG LONG | China
Chinese tenor Long Long originates from Jinan City and graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2015. Operatic roles include: Don José Carmen in Beijing and Shanghai; Nemorino L’elisir d’amore in Carnac, France; Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi for Shanghai Lanxin Theatre; Ernesto Don Pasquale at Macau Jinsha Opera House; and Rodolfo La bohème at the Teatro Belli in Rome. After completing his Masters at the Peking University Academy of Opera he went on to win First Prize in ‘Le Grand Prix de l’Opéra’ in Bucharest and Second Prize in Italy’s ‘Cossotto International Vocal Competition’ (China division). In January 2017 he joined the Opera Studio at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the same year was nominated in the ‘Top Ten Young Singers’ for the International Opera Awards. In summer 2018 he will join the Opera Studio of the Salzburg Festival.
FREDDIE DE TOMMASO | UK
Tenor Freddie de Tommaso was awarded an entrance scholarship for the Undergraduate Course at the Royal Academy of Music, where he began his studies in 2013. He was the recipient of the 2015 Toni V Fell Musical Trust Award and is now in his fourth year, continuing his studies with Professor Mark Wildman and Iain Ledingham. Freddie will be starting on The Royal Academy’s Opera Course in September 2017 and is very proud to also be a Drake Calleja scholar for 2016-2017. As part of his studies at the RAM, he has been fortunate to work with Richard Berkeley Steele and Dennis O’Neil. Freddie made his Royal Opera debut in March this year singing the role of An Apprentice in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg conducted by Antonio Pappano and directed by Kasper Holten. For Royal Academy Opera he has performed in the chorus of Handel’s Ariodante, and as Pinellino in Puccini’s Gianni Schicci. In 2015 Freddie attended The Academy’s Opera Course in Liguria, Italy, run by Iain Ledingham where he sang excerpts as Fritz in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Arturo in Lucia di Lamermoor. In the 2016 season Freddie sang as a member of the Opera Holland Park chorus in their productions of Iris (in which he also sang the role of Un Cencaiuolo), La bohème and The Queen of Spades. On the Oratorio platform Freddie has performed as the tenor soloist in a wide variety of repertoire, notably Mendelsohn’s Elijah, Handel’s Messiah, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Haydn’s Creation and Gounod’s St. Cecillia Mass. His studies are generously supported by the Josephine Baker Trust.
PAUL GRANT | UK
Born and raised in Edinburgh, baritone Paul Grant is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Glenville Hargreaves and Jonathan Papp. He was a finalist in the 2017 Joan Chissell/Rex Stephens Schumann Lieder Prize and Highly Commended in the 2016 Marjorie Thomas Art of Song Prize and Commended in the Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize. This summer, Paul will be covering the title role in Don Giovanni with British Youth Opera before starting on the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music in September. Recent performances include recitals in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow as well as a concert in Oxford with the group Three Parts Vied, and performing as a soloist for the RAM/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series. Operatic roles include: Frank Die Fledermaus; Cadmus Semele and Keeper of the Madhouse in The Rake’s Progress – all with Edinburgh Studio Opera. In opera scenes: Figaro Il barbieri di Siviglia, Baldassare L’arlesiana (Cilea), and Frédéric Lakmé with The Royal Academy of Music; and Henry Kissinger Nixon in China, Sid Albert Herring and Marco Gianni Schicchi with Edinburgh Studio Opera. Paul is very grateful to the generous support from The Dewar Arts Awards, The Robertson Scholarship Trust, The Leverhulme Charitable Trust, The Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship, The University of Edinburgh Bucher-Fraser Scholarship and the Josephine Baker Trust.
BENSON WILSON | New Zealand
Born in New Zealand, of Samoan descent, baritone Benson Wilson completed his Bachelors of Music with honours from the University of Auckland in 2014. Benson was a named winner of the ‘Lexus Song Quest’, New Zealand’s premiere singing competition, for which he was runner-up in 2014. He went on to win three major awards in the finals of the 2015 Australian Singing Competition, one of which was the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Award, which has given him the opportunity to study on the Guildhall Artist Masters Program. 2015 also saw Benson’s debut on the opera stage with Festival Opera NZ as Schaunard in La bohème, a role that he has also performed in Leoncavallo’s version of the opera for the International Vocal Arts Institute Summer Programme in New York. This year, Benson performed with the London Symphony Orchestra in their performance of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre as the fallen soldier Schabernack. From September he begins his studies on the prestigious Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.