Opera Lyrica – in Concert.
After the delights of Opera Lyrica at All Saints’ over the past couple of years, we welcome them back to give a concert of the most beloved opera arias, duets, trios, and quartets. Featuring the Verdi quartet that inspired a film, Rossinian fireworks, Mozartian beauty, and Puccinian emotion, this concert promises to make you both laugh and cry in the space of 90 minutes.
Opera Lyrica was founded in 2012 by Nicholas Simpson (General Director) with Paola Cuffolo (Artistic Director) to try to help young singers, musicians, directors, designers, and technicians gain experience in opera as well as to try to increase opera’s audience in general, especially amongst the younger generation. They believe that opera should be accessible to everyone.
So far Opera Lyrica has presented a double bill of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Die Zauberflöte in Oxford and Sheffield, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and an 11 venue tour of the South of England with Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Recent Opera Lyrica productions include a double-bill of Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas performed in Farley in February 2015.
O mio Babbino Caro – Gianni Schicchi – Puccini
Biographies of Performers
Musical Director: William Cole
William Cole was born in London in 1990, and read Music at Clare College, Cambridge where he graduated in 2013 with double First Class Honours. As well as his work with Opera Lyrica, William is Music Director of multi-genre club night Filthy Lucre, and is Trainee Conductor of the Goldsmiths Choral Union. He has also worked with the Melos Sinfonia, Gestalt Arts collective, the Hampshire Sinfonia and all the Cambridge University ensembles in a broad range of orchestral, operatic and choral repertoire, and has worked as assistant to Sir Roger Norrington, Stephen Cleobury and Martin Yates. He has a particular interest in contemporary music, and has given performances of music by Vivier, Scelsi, Feldman, Tansy Davies and Romitelli (UK premiere of Lost), as well as many new works.
Recent performances of William’s compositions have been given by Britten Sinfonia, Piotr Anderszewki, The Hermes Experiment, Peter Sheppard Skaerved, the choirs of Clare and College, Cambridge and Gloucester Cathedral, the Cambridge University New Music Ensemble and the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, with festival appearances include the Ludlow Festival of English Song, L’Aura des Arts, Nonclassical and the Three Choirs Festival. Winner of the 2013 John Sanders Memorial Competition, his works have been heard at venues across the UK, Europe and in America and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and he is one of today’s youngest published composers, with his choral music published by Encore Publications. Future projects include a new horn trio for the Swaledale Festival.
William is also active as a pianist, with recital partners including Stephen Varcoe, and was a Choral Scholar at Clare College. Community work has involved workshops with young children in the south of England as part of the Elastic Band, collaborations with children in Soweto, Johannesburg, and projects with English Touring Opera. He writes for Interlude HK and TEMPO, and holds the position of Choral Director at London’s Youth Music Centre.
Mezzo-Soprano : Paola Cuffolo
Paola Aurelia Cuffolo is a mezzo-soprano and operatic director. She began her solo singing career as a soprano at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Eileen Price, where she won the Singer’s Prize in 2006. As a soprano she took part in and won several national competitions, and performed at the Glastonbury Extravaganza in August 2008 alongside The Feeling and Kate Nash.
Paola was accepted to read Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford in 2007, where she was holder of the Paul Geddes choral scholarship. Whilst at Oxford, Paola was extremely active in the operatic scene, co-founding St Peter’s College Opera, with whom she sang the roles of Despina (Così Fan Tutte, 2009), Adele (Die Fledermaus, 2009), as well as Maragond (Fierrabras, 2009) Frasquita (Carmen scene, 2009) and Mrs Grose (The Turn of the Screw, 2010) for other student companies.
After graduating from Oxford in 2010, Paola studied on the Opera Performance course at Birkbeck College, University of London, from which she graduated in 2011. This gave her the opportunity to perform under professional directors such as Michael Hunt, Tim Hopkins and Caroline Gawn, as well as course director Philip Headlam. She then began learning with Susan Roberts in July 2011, and became a mezzo-soprano.
In February 2012, having begun directing whilst at Oxford with Cosi fan Tutte and Die Fledermaus for St Peter’s College Opera, Paola was offered the opportunity to return to St Peter’s to direct their production of The Marriage of Figaro, which was described in the Financial Times as having been ‘performed […] with astonishing verve’. Gaining in experience, Paola was then fortunate to be able to assist director John Ramster at the AIMS International Music School in August 2012 on scenes from Louise, La Bohème and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.
In May 2012 Paola and producer Nicholas Simpson co-founded Opera Lyrica. With them, she has directed performances of Der Schauspieldirektor/Die Zauberflöte, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and their national tour of Acis and Galatea, which was said to have ‘achieved something really quite special’ (Joe Richomme, Fringe Opera). Upcoming productions include Così Fan Tutte in the 20th Century Theatre, Notting Hill in September 2014, and a double bill of Venus and Adonis/Dido and Aeneas in November 2014.
Paola continues to sing and direct freelance. She currently studies singing with Susan Roberts. She is also is a regular lecturer for Opera Prelude, a company that allows singers to give performance-based lectures on opera-related subjects of their choosing.
Tenor: Christopher Diffey
Christopher Diffey was born in Melbourne, Australia and completed his postgraduate training in London at the Royal Academy of Music (Opera Course). Awards include the English Touring Opera Young Artist bursary, as well as the Norman McCann Scholarship and Picker Trust Award at the Royal Academy of Music. Operatic engagements include Odoardo/Ariodante (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence), Condulmiero/Maometto Secondo (Garsington Opera), Triplet 1/Clemency and Mercury/Orpheus in the Underworld (Scottish Opera), Pedrillo/Abduction from the Seraglio (Iford Opera), Fenton/Falstaff (Longborough Festival), Alfredo/La Traviata (Opera South, Opera UK, Garden Opera), Count Almaviva/The Barber of Seville (Opera Brava, Garden Opera, OperaUpClose), Nanki Poo/The Mikado (Opera Della Luna), Prunier/La Rondine (Opera di Peroni), Cavaradossi/Tosca (Opera Novella), Rodolfo/La Bohème (Cambridge Graduate Orchestra & OperaUpClose), Don José/Carmen (Garden Opera, OperaUpClose), Barney/Circus Tricks & Talus/Icarus (Tête à Tête – World Premieres), Second Priest/The Magic Flute (Opera Holland Park) and Dardanus/Dardanus (RAO). Covered roles include Triplet 1 & 2/Clemency (ROH2, World Premiere) and Lysander/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garsington Opera). Concert experience includes Bach/Christmas Oratorio (Manchester Camerata & Leeds Philharmonic), Bach/Mass in A Major (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and a recital of Baroque arias at London’s Handel House Museum. Christopher has worked with conductors including Sir Colin Davis, David Parry, Gustav Leohardt and René Jacobs. Future plans include Swanhunter with Opera North and Ariodante at Dutch National Opera.
Soprano : Kristy Swift
Australian soprano Kristy Swift studied singing at Queensland University, and was valedictorian of her year. Most recently, she was the featured soloist in the 2014 tour of One Night in Vienna for Raymond Gubbay. Her operatic roles include Paquette Candide (The Barbican Centre and Leipzing Gewandhaus), Young Heidi Follies (Opéra de Toulon), Angelica Orlando and Norina Don Pasquale (Lyric Opera of Melbourne), Yum-Yum The Mikado (Opera Queensland) and Atalanta Serse (Iford Opera). Kristy is also interested in performing new work, and received excellent reviews for her performances as Mag in Richard Wargo’s Winners (Wexford Festival) and Elana in Llywelyn ap Myrddin’s The Crocodile (Tête à Tête). She made her stage debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as the First Sprite/cover Noemie in Cendrillon. Other roles for the ROH have included Second Nymph Rusalka (cover) and First Innocent/Young Woman The Minotaur (cover). Future engagements include Estelle in The Amputation of Charlie Sharp in Essen, and a further tour with Raymond Gubbay.
Kristy has won numerous awards in Australia, including the Herald Sun Aria, the National Oratorio Prize and the Robert Salzer scholarship at the National Liederfest. She has regularly been broadcast on Australian television and radio.
Bass: Chris Webb
Acclaimed as “commanding and alluring” by Early Music Today for his recent performance as Giove in Cavalli’s La Calisto (Hampstead Garden Opera), bass Christopher Webb is establishing himself as an assured interpreter of early opera roles. Recent roles have included Sleep/Winter (Purcell Fairy Queen – Ars Eloquentiae) and Melisso (Handel Alcina – Musica Poetica London), and Chris is delighted to be making his Opera Lyrica debut as Adonis. Other operatic experience has included Superintendent Budd (Britten Albert Herring – HGO), Theseus (Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Aldeburgh, alongside Matthew Rose), and Tonseisha: the man who abandoned the world (Kim Ashton – saltpeter) at last summer’s Tête à Tête Festival.
Whilst at university, Chris sang with the Choir of Clare College Cambridge, the Cambridge University Chamber Choir, and the Rodolfus Choir. With Clare College he appeared as a soloist under Sir Roger Norrington at St John’s, Smith Square, and live on BBC Radio 3 with the Academy of Ancient Music. He now sings with a number of professional vocal ensembles in London and across the UK. He has recently completed a series of projects with the Zürcher Sing-Akademie based at Tonhalle, Zürich. In lighter mood, Chris performs and records with a cappella group Over the Bridge, acclaimed as “worthy successors to the King’s Singers” by Gramophone magazine.
Forthcoming recitals include collaborations with soprano Philippa Bonnet in Milton Keynes and London, and bass cantatas of the French and German schools with Musica Poetica London and Oliver-John Ruthven, in London and Malta.
Tickets £15.00 (£10.00 for Friends of Farley Music) from Salisbury Playhouse (01722 320333), or on the door, to include an interval drink