SoloistsPerforming in our current season
Fiona Joy Henry
New Zealand soprano, Fiona Henry, completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours, 1st Class) at the University of Otago and also a Master of Business and Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing Management) there. In relocating to London, she was selected for English National Opera (ENO), Opera Works and has worked with the company performing in Vaughan William’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Britten’s Peter Grimes and the Chandos recording of Verdi’s Macbeth with Edward Gardner.
Her operatic repertoire includes: Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart); Mrs Ford, Falstaff (Salieri); Philia, A Funny thing happened on the way to the Forum (Sondheim); Yum Yum, The Mikado (Sullivan); Plaintiff, Trial by Jury (Sullivan); Ida, Die Fledermaus (Strauss); she created the role of Gladys in the World Premier of the Opera, Larnach (by John Drummond), has played Mary Magdelene in Jesus Christ Superstar (Lloyd-Webber) and performed in The Mikado with the professional G&S Opera Company at the Buxton Festival. Concert performances include soprano soloist of Britten’s War Requiem with the Hartfield Singers, soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah (both in churches around Kent and in New Zealand) and is looking forward to returning to Canterbury Cathedral in September as soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah. Other exciting venues where she has sung include, the top of a snow mountain for ‘Opera in the Snow’ Cardrona Ski Resort, Wanaka (New Zealand) as well as in performance venues throughout Sydney, Australia, including the Sydney Opera House.
As well as raising her six children, she is Marketing Manager at Solefield Prep School, Sevenoaks and teaches singing privately. Her eldest son Joseph (11) is a current chorister at Canterbury Cathedral. Fiona is delighted to be welcomed back with Whitstable Choral after last performing the soprano role of Gounod’s St Cecilia’s Mass (2015).
Greg Tassell was brought up on a hop farm in Kent and was a chorister at Durham Cathedral. He read music at the University of Exeter where he was also a choral scholar at Exeter Cathedral. He went on to study as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music under Ryland Davies and attended master classes with the late Robert Tear among others. Whilst at RAM he was a prize winner in the 2008 London Handel Competition and was runner-up at the inaugural John Kerr Award for Early English Song of which he is now a trustee.
He is now in huge demand both in the UK and abroad for opera, oratorio and recital appearances. His portrayal of Britten’s St Nicolas is widely acclaimed, he is a popular Evangelist in Bach’s St John Passion and his Roasting Swan in Orff’s Carmina Burana dressed in white with feathers is always a crowd puller. Future engagements include Mozart Requiem for York Music Society & London Octave Choir and Walton chamber works for tenor & orchestra at the 2017 Presteigne Festival. Having previously worked on tour with English Touring Opera, Nova Music and Opera a la Carte, Greg no longer seeks the touring life of an opera singer as he now has a young family.
Greg has recorded albums with a variety of groups including the recently released London Early Opera album ‘Handel at Vauxhall’ on Signum Records, Finchcocks Press, L’Avventura London and Priory Records. Greg is a founder member of both Sonoro, the new professional chamber choir directed by Neil Ferris, and the professional vocal quartet ‘Twilight Ensemble’. Greg teaches singing at Ibstock Place School in Roehampton and with the Bromley Youth Music Trust. He will also be resident tutor for the National Youth Choir of Wales this summer.
René Bloice Sanders
René’s vocal training began as a treble in Canterbury Cathedral Choir and he has never looked back, becoming a member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain shortly after his voice broke. He graduated from The University of Nottingham with a BA (Hons) in 2010, where he performed regularly with a number of choirs in the East Midlands and as a member the University Opera Society. In September 2011 René began a postgraduate in Vocal Performance at the Royal Academy of Music and studied under the tutelage of Ryland Davies and the in-demand vocal coach Audrey Hyland. He was awarded the Nora Carstairs Bland Award 2012/2013 and graduated with distinction in June 2013.
On the opera stage René has performed the roles of Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Marcello (La Boheme), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Morales/Dancairo (Carmen), Marco (Gianni Schicchi), Orfeo (L’Orfeo), Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Baron Duphol (La Traviata), Taddeo (L’Italiana in Algeri) and Guglielmo and Don Alfonso (Cosi Fan Tutte) and his concert work has included Bach’s Johannes and Matthaus Passion, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Brahms’ A German Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Mozart’s Requiem, Duruflé’s Requiem and Stainer’s The Crucifixion. Whilst he enjoys these oratorio settings he also has a passion for song cycles, of which he has performed Beethoven’s An Die Ferne Geliebte, Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad and Vaughan-Williams’ Songs of Travel.
Upcoming performances include Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C at St John’s Smith Square and Colston Hall and roles of Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Jackdaws OperaPLUS and Salieri in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri.