Soloists

Performing in our current season
Tamsin Coombs
Catherine Futcher

Catherine Futcher

Soprano

Catherine Futcher was runner-up in the BBC Radio Two Choir Girl of the Year competition in 1994, beating a then unheard of Katherine Jenkins! She also won Opera Opportunity in that year. She was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre from 1995-1997 performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, The Lyric in Hammersmith and The City Center Theater, Broadway, New York.

As an undergraduate at Royal Holloway, University of London, she held a soprano Choral Scholarship and performed in Masterclasses given by Susan Bullock and Nancy Long. Catherine is equally at home singing Classical Opera and Oratorio as Musical Theatre, and her solo roles include Rossini’s Petit Messe Solenelle, Chilcott’s Jubilate, Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s St. John Passion, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Haydn’s Creation, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Gilbert & Sullivan lead roles include Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, The Plaintiff in Trial By Jury and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance.

With Canterbury Cathedral Garden Opera Catherine has so far performed the roles of Marcellina in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Blonda in The Abduction from the Harem and Valencienne in The Merry Widow. Perhaps her most unique performance to date was recording the first soprano part of a music installation in a graveyard for the Folkestone Triennial this year – each voice part is triggered when a visitor approaches its gravestone!

www.catherine-soprano.co.uk

 

Tania Holland Williams

Tania Holland Williams

Mezzo

 

 

Tania Holland Williams is a music curator, mezzo and composer. Since returning to the UK following an early operatic career on the continent, she has devised new voice works for a number of unusual spaces including Chatham Historic Dockyard, Turner Contemporary, Hyde Park, Rochester Cathedral and Lovech National Theatre. She directed Britten’s Albert Herring for audiences in Scotland in 2014. 2016 saw her return to Scotland as an opera director for Turn of the Screw, following the success of her Albert Herring in 2014. The new production has been warmly received by critics including a 4-star review in Scotland’s largest broadsheet paper – the Herald. Tania was described as a “director of imagination”, the show was “elegant’ and “full of surprises…beguiling”.

Having completed her opera training at the Royal College of Music, Tania won a scholarship to study with Sena Jurinac in Germany. It was here that her professional life began with an engagement at the Hessischen Staatstheater – Wiesbaden. While in Germany she recorded her first CD Where Corals Lie with conductor Jonathan Nott. She then toured in Europe and Canada as a recitalist for a number of years. Since returning to England she has performed in oratorio and opera across the country.

Her operatic roles include: Carmen, Cenerentola, Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Isabella (Italian Girl in Algiers), Dido (Dido and Aeneus), Didon (Les Troyens), Dalila (Samson et Dalila) and Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti). Tania works with choirs on singing technique and performance and has led vocal workshops for the Royal Opera House. Tania Holland Williams has also appeared as a mezzo soloist with the Royal Opera House Deloitte festival. Her own coaches in the UK have included Dame Janet Baker and conductor Robert Dean.

Greg Tassell

Greg Tassell

Tenor

Greg 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. He recently appeared with the Presteigne Festival orchestra in Walton’s Anon in Love and contemporary composer Cecilia McDowall’s In a Corner of Some Foreign Field. His engagements this coming season include Handel Messiah in Cirencester and Joshua in London, Monteverdi Vespers in Bromley, Brahms Liebeslieder at Rye Festival with Twilight Ensemble, Britten Serenade for tenor, horn and strings in Reigate and recitals in Sevenoaks, Winchfield Festival and Queen’s Club London.

Greg has recorded albums with a variety of groups including the recently released London Early Opera album ‘Handel at Vauxhall Vols 1 & 2’ on Signum Records. He is also a founder member of Sonoro, the new professional chamber choir directed by Neil Ferris. Greg is a keen Elvis fan and often performs with his jumpsuit on at tennis and golf clubs around Kent & Sussex, even recently going as far as Cumbria for a recent engagement. Greg teaches singing at Ibstock Place School, Eltham College and with the Bromley Youth Music Trust. He was also invited to coach the National Youth Choir of Wales last summer.

 Greg is delighted to be returning to sing with Whitstable Choral Society continuing his long association with them.

Michael Burke

Michael Burke

Baritone

Michael was born in Manchester and now lives in Kent. He studied postgraduate vocal studies at RNCM and RAM, having previously gained a chemistry degree at Durham University.

He has been in the English National Opera chorus since 2007 and, while there, has performed the roles of Ruffiak (Ligeti Grand Macabre), Fourth Proletarian (Raskatov A Dog’s Heart) and Doctor (Muhly Two Boys). He has understudied the roles of Gazella (Donizetti Lucretia Borgia), Pietro (Verdi Simon Boccanegra), Snug (Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and more recently Marullo (Verdi Rigoletto) and Pompeo (Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini).

For Garsington Opera he has performed the roles of Justizrat (Strauss Intermezzo) and Georgio (Rossini La Gazza Ladra) alongside numerous understudy roles.

Michael also sings regularly with The Royal Opera, BBC Singers, Gabrieli Consort and London Voices – with which he recently toured to China, singing the role of Second Berger (Britten Peter Grimes).

Last autumn he performed in Canterbury Festival with Nova Music Opera as Ferryman (Britten Curlew River) and made his debut with Whitstable Choral Society, as soloist in the Fauré and Durufé Requiems.

When not singing, Michael is a keen footballer, golfer and mountaineer, including a trek to Everest Base Camp and the 270 mile Cape Wrath Trail. He also ran the 2014 Brighton Marathon for Pilgrims Hospices.