BBC Singers, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble & David Hill

Biography BBC Singers, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble & David Hill

Susanna Hurrell
British soprano Susanna Hurrell made a critically acclaimed debut with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Lauretta in Puccini Gianni Schicchi under Nicola Luisotti in 2016. Her pure, clear tone and warm stage presence have garnered praise from audiences and critics throughout Europe and the UK.

In the 2018/19 season, Hurrell reprises her role in Philip Venables’ 4.48 Psychosis, this time in its US premiere at the Prototype Festival in New York. She also sings Hanna Glawari (cover) in The Merry Widow for English National Opera, and Euridice in Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice for Classical Opera. Last season she returned to the Royal Opera House as Micaela in Barrie Kosky’s new production of Carmen under Jakub Hrůša, and made her role debut as Anne Trulove in Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress for Opera Glass Works at Wilton’s Music Hall.

Recent operatic highlights include her debut at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Aldimira in Cavalli Erismena, Mélisande in Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande with Norwegian National Opera and for Glyndebourne (cover), the title role in the world premiere of Ravi Shankar’s Sukanya for the Royal Opera House and London Philharmonic Orchestra, the world premiere of Philip Venables’ 4.48 Psychosis for the Royal Opera at the Lyric Hammersmith, and Rosalinde in Strauss Die Fledermaus for Opera Holland Park.

Previous highlights include Mélisande with English Touring Opera, Dido in Purcell Dido and Aeneas with The English Concert, Despina Cosi fan tutte at Opéra de Limoges, Norina Don Pasquale at Longborough Festival Opera, Cephise in Rameau Pigmalion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Nymph in Monteverdi L’Orfeo with the Royal Opera House at the Roundhouse, Erisbe in Cavalli L’Ormindo with the ROH at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre, Governess The Turn of the Screw in a co-production with Nevill Holt Opera, NI Opera and Moscow’s Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre, and title role (cover) Rodelinda for Scottish Opera and title role (cover) The Snow Maiden for Opera North. Other engagements include Rose Maurrant in the award-winning production of Street Scene for The Opera Group, Théâtre du Châtelet and Gran Teatre del Liceu, Cephisa Orpheus for Classical Opera, title role Rodelinda, Rossane Alessandro and Amarilli Il pastor fido for London Handel Festival, Nymph in Peri’s Euridice for British Youth Opera and Serpetta La finta giardiniera for Opera de Baugé.

On the concert platform, Hurrell has performed Britten Les Illuminations with the English Chamber Orchestra, the world premiere of David Oppenheimer's Deborah with the Southbank Sinfonia, Handel Messiah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Mozart Festival Orchestra; and Bach Mass in B Minor with the BBC Singers. Previous highlights include Fauré Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Pergolesi Stabat Mater with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Kurt Weill: From Berlin to Broadway with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Les Illuminationsat the ROH Linbury Studio Theatre, Haydn Nelson Mass with András Schiff, Handel Messiah and Fauré Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall (the latter recorded by EMI Classics), Rossini Petite messe solennelle under David Parry at Southrepps Classical Music Festival, and operatic arias for the Proms ‘Out and About’ event with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Hurrell appeared in the television documentary David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy on BBC where she performed Parry Jerusalem and Arne Rule Britannia. She has recorded songs by composer Gordon Carr with trumpeter Simon Cheney and pianist Sebastian Wybrew, which are featured in the album An English Trumpeter.

Hurrell was born in London and trained at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio with Patricia Rozario and Jeffrey Talbot. She was recipient of numerous awards including the Miriam Licette scholarship, Peter Hulsen Orchestral Song, Countess of Munster and Sybil Tutton awards,the RCM English Song, John Kerr English Song and the Dean & Chadlington competitions. In 2013 she was awarded the Grange Park Opera Aria Prize at the Hampshire Singing Competition.

Rebecca Afonwy-Jones
Born in Mid Wales, Mezzo-soprano Rebecca studied at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama & The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) where she was awarded the Independent Opera Scholarship, The WCOM Allcard Award, The MBF Sybil Tutton Award, became a Samling Artist and graduated with distinction.

Whilst at RCS, she sang Cherubino LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Componist ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (Rostov State Theatre, Russia), La Muse/Nicklausse LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN, Maria Akhrossimova WAR AND PEACE & scenes from Varvara KATYA KABANOVA for Scottish Opera Education. Rebecca also made her debut at The BBC Proms in SERENADE TO MUSIC Vaughan Williams, conducted by Donald Runnicles with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Rebecca became a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist for her first season, 2010/2011, making her professional debut in the title role of CARMEN on tour , Fox CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, Resi INTERMEZZO and Countess Ceprano/Maddalena (cover) RIGOLETTO.

Her engagements for 2011/2012 included Mad Margaret (cover) RUDDIGORE for Opera North and Hansel (cover) HANSEL UND GRETEL for Scottish Opera. She returned to Opera North to cover Julie CAROUSEL and make her debut with the company at The Edinburgh International Festival 2012 as Chambermaid/ Kristina (cover) in THE MAKROPULOS CASE.

Following her company & role debut as Countess Geschwitz LULU for Welsh National Opera, she returned for 2013-2014 as an Associate Artist, singing the roles of Anna Kennedy MARIA STUARDA, (with performances at The Royal Opera, Oman), Sara Duchess of Nottingham ROBERTO DEVEREUX (cover), Flora LA TRAVIATA, 4th Naked Virgin/Sick Woman MOSES UND ARON (including performances at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden) and Fenena NABUCCO (cover).

Concert engagements include Verdi REQUIEM at St David’s Cathedral Festival with Daniel Cook, Ravel SHÉHÉRAZADE for The Sinfonia of Leeds with Anthony Kraus, Handel SOLOMON for The Oxford Bach Choir with Nicholas Cleobury, Verdi REQUIEM with City of Glasgow Chorus and Mozart MASS IN C MINOR for Nottingham Festival Chorus; Handel MESSIAH The Usher Hall, Mozart REQUIEM with The London Mozart Players, Haydn NELSON MASS for St. Alban’s Choral Society 70th Anniversary Season and Mahler 2nd SYMPHONY at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

Engagements in 2015/2016 included Louhi SWANHUNTER for Opera North at The Linbury Theatre ROH, Olga EUGENE ONEGIN for Grange Park Opera, Kunstgewerblerin & Countess Geschwitz (cover) LULU for Teatro Communale, Bolzano, a return to Welsh National Opera as Beggar Woman SWEENEY TODD and Lola & Santuzza (cover) CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA. Concerts included Verdi REQUIEM in Birmingham Town Hall & Colchester, Elgar DREAM OF GERONTIUS with The Philharmonia; Mozart REQUIEM for Halifax Choral Society with John Pryce-Jones, ELIJAH for Aberdeen Choral Society & Milford Haven Music Festival, a return to St Alban’s Choral Society with George Vass for Beethoven MASS IN C and an Opera Gala for Bath International Festival.

Engagements in 2016/2017 included SUMMER CLASSICS with the CBSO at Symphony Hall, ELIJAH at Birmingham Town Hall & Cadogan Hall, A CHILD OF OUR TIME in Colchester, Bach WEIHNACHTSORATORIUM with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Beethoven 9th SYMPHONY with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Suzuki MADAMA BUTTERFLY with Welsh National Opera and on tour to the recently opened Dubai Opera House.

In 2017 Rebecca appeared at St. Magnus International Festival, Orkney, Fishguard International Music Festival , furthered her growing reputation in contemporary music as Artist in Residence at the 35th Presteigne Music Festival and performed at The North Wales International Music Festival in a wide range of repertoire.

Further engagements include Suzuki MADAMA BUTTERFLY for Festival Opera, New Zealand, Mozart REQUIEM with The Norwegian Wind Ensemble and Bach ST. JOHN PASSION with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. This year also marks the release of MESSIAH with David Hill conducting the BBC Singers & Norwegian Wind Ensemble (Resonus Classics), the world premiere of Joseph Phibbs JULIANA at Cheltenham Festival and her return to Welsh National Opera as Flora in LA TRAVIATA.

Forthcoming highlights in 2019 include Rebecca’s Wagnerian debut as Wellgunde DAS RHEINGOLD at Longborough Festival Opera and the UK concert premiere of Handel’s ISRAEL IN EGYPT as arranged by Mendelssohn at The Three Choirs Festival with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

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