Candide, 2008
 

Biographies

Peter Redfern

Peter Redfern - Voltaire

Peter Redfern joined Bath Opera in 1983, serving a long and happy apprenticeship in the back row of the chorus. He has also sung with Opera Mozart, White Horse Opera and at Shawford Mill. Recent roles for Bath Opera include Dr Bartolo (Marriage of Figaro), Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlos), Ali (Italian Girl in Algiers), Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Daland (Flying Dutchman), Tom (A Masked Ball), Dulcamara (Elisir d’Amore ) and Dr Bartolo (Barber of Seville)

 
Rupert Drury

Rupert Drury - Candide

Rupert was born in Ripon, North Yorkshire in 1975. He started singing in the cathedral choir there at the age of eight and went on to become head chorister. He continued with a major music scholarship at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, and it was here that he first started studying voice with Deborah York and won several prizes for singing and his other musical love, the viola.

Rupert gained a B.A. (Hons) in music in 1996 and a P.G.C.E. in 1997 at Durham University where he also sang for three years as a choral scholar at the cathedral. Whilst here he took part in his first opera as "Don Ottavio" in Mozart's Don Giovanni. The experience had a great impact on him and he went on to study for a further two years, on a post-graduate performance course, at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Here he gained much experience singing a wide variety of operatic roles ranging from Handel to Britten, as well as oratorio and other styles. He has taken part in many master-classes performing with Mark Wildman; Neil Jenkins; Robin Bowman; Rudolf Peirney; and attending opera and chamber music courses at Gregynog; Wellington opera course; Pro Corda and the Eton Choral course. Rupert currently regularly performs solo recitals around the country and his oratorio roles have so far included the greats by Handel and Bach. Rupert continues his studies privately with his Academy teacher, Diane Forlano, a well as helping others in their study in his role as assistant director of music at King Edward’s school in Bath. On moving to Bath two years ago, he joined Bath Opera and has just completed three lead roles in their most recent productions; Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore as well the Count in the company’s current touring production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Future engagements include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonnelle for The Nailsea Choral Society and Fenton in Falstaff, also for Bath Opera.

 
Hannah Lockwood

Hannah Lockwood - Cunégonde

Hannah graduated from Bath Spa University in 2006, where she achieved a First Class Honors Degree in Music, studying under Judy Davis. Whilst there, she took lead roles in many prodctions, including Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute, Fiona in Oliver's Blondel and the title role in Handel's Semele. Outside of University, she has sung with many local companies. Her debut role with Bath Opera was Oscar in Verdi's A Masked Ball. Since then, roles have included Papagena in The Magic Flute and Adina in Donizetti's The Elixir of Love. Future engagements include Verdi's Falstaff in which she will be singing the role of Nanetta.

Since graduating Hannah has kept herself busy by teaching singing and is currently employed at the Mill School near Devizes among others. She sings and plays the Trumpet in an all-female jazz and blues trio call the Blues Floozies, she runs Theatre Arts classes for children and adults, gives curriculum based Drama workshops in Schools around the county, as well as continuing her vocal studies with Judy Davis and plans to do a singing diploma later on this year. She is also the Guest Soloist in Residence for the Mendip Male Voice Choir and can regularly be seen performing around the area. She is overjoyed to be singing the role of Cunegonde beside her singing teacher Judy Davis, the Old Lady!!!

 
Ruth McKibbin

Ruth McKibbin - Paquette

Australian soprano Ruth McKibbin gained experience as a soloist, cantor and chorister with the Cathedral Church of St Francis Xavier, Adelaide before travelling to the United Kingdom in 2005. She is currently continuing her vocal studies with Jacqueline Bremar in London.

Since her Bath debut recital in August 2006, Ruth has sung as soprano soloist in Haydn’s Theresienmesse for Bradford-on-Avon Choral and Haydn’s Missa Brevis in F and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in the Bruton Festival of Arts. In 2007, she travelled to Budapest with Bath Choral Society and sang as soloist in Tippett’s Five Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time and made her UK operatic debut as Serpina in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona.

Ruth is delighted to be singing the role of Paquette with Bath Opera. Future performances include soprano soloist in Haydn's Nelson Mass for Monkton Combe Choral in March and Alice Ford for Bath Opera's production of Falstaff in June and July.

 
Carl Speck

Carl Speck - Maximilian

Carl came to Bath from London to study music and drama at Bath Spa University under Peter Blackwood and Judy Davis. Specialising in Musical Theatre, he has performed principal roles in Honk and Blondel and ventured into the world of opera in previous Bath Opera productions including The Magic Flute and The Elixir of Love. He directed La Vie Parisienne for Bath Opera last summer, and has just finished directing a production of the musical Scrooge. Carl is a primary school teacher in Bath, and also runs music classes for 3-9 year olds. He is thoroughly looking forward to his role in Candide.

 
Judy Davis

Judy Davis - The Old Lady

Judy has sung many roles for Bath Opera including Elizabeth (Don Carlos), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Senta (Flying Dutchman), Amelia (Masked Ball), Second Lady (Magic Flute) and the title roles in Aida and La Gioconda. Judy studied at Trinity College of Music in London and later in Germany. She has an extensive repertoire and sang professionally for many years on the concert platform and in Opera all over the UK and in Europe. She has sung the roles of Micaela (Carmen), Musetta (La Boheme), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Siebel (Faust), Lady Macbeth (Macbeth) and the title roles in Carmen and Tosca.

Judy combines bringing up two boys and a busy singing schedule with teaching voice at Bath Spa University. She is very proud that many of her students, both past and present, are taking part in this production – especially Hannah as Cunégonde and Carl as Maximilian and also her son Ben playing the part of the Bear!

Judy is very excited to be performing the role of the Old Lady in this wicked production – thanks Graham! She will shortly sing the role of Bertha in Bath Opera’s ongoing touring production of The Barber of Seville and looks forward to playing Mistress Quickly in the next production of Falstaff.

 
Tom Magnone

Tom Magnone - Governor

Tom was born and brought up in the Midlands, and has since sung in East Anglia and the North of England, before moving to the South West. With Bath Opera he has sung the principal tenor roles in La Gioconda, The Flying Dutchman, and A Masked Ball. Other roles he has sung include Cavarodossi (Tosca), Ferrando (Cosi fan Tutte), Tacmas (Les Indes Galantes) and Hoffman (Tales of Hoffman), Don Jose (Carmen), Pinkerton (Madame Butterfly), Alfredo (La Traviata), Manrico (Il Trovatore), Macduff (Macbeth), Nemorino (L’Elisir d’Amore), Ishmaele (Nabucco), Gounod’s Faust and Nadir (Pearl Fishers). He has also sung solo in choral music by Handel, Haydn, Carissimi, Puccini, Schubert, Brahms, Rossini and others, and will be singing Mozart’s Requiem in Devizes in March. It is some time since Tom has had a speaking part on stage, and his dual role as The Governor of Buenos Aires and Vanderdendur, calls to his mind a performance in the distant past when he played Prince Albert’s elder brother, and half of the male population of England in a play based on the Victorian Plays of Laurence Houseman.

 
Peter Blackwood

Peter Blackwood - Musical Director

Peter, who is from Belfast, has directed the music for over two hundred theatre productions. Although his early training was as a classical pianist, he entered the world of orchestral and choral conducting after studying with George Hurst. For over thirty years he was a pianist and teacher at Bath Spa University and it gives him much pleasure to see so many of the University’s students, whom he helped to introduce to the theatre, now working themselves as musical directors.

Sadly but inevitably he has appeared in Casualty – that is to say his hands have appeared, doubling for actors, a role he has been required to fulfil from time to time, stemming back to Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers. His most recent television credit was as the silent movie pianist in Torchwood.

In film he has worked as a coach with Jane Seymour and Richard Chamberlain. Choral works include Judas Maccabaeus, The Creation, The Chichester Psalms, and Saint Nicholas. Operas include Paul Bunyan, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, The Threepenny Opera, Turandot, Carmen, Don Carlos, The Force of Destiny, La Gioconda, The Tales of Hoffman, Hansel and Gretel, The Marriage of Figaro, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Aida, The Flying Dutchman, The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, A Masked Ball and The Elixir of Love.

Forthcoming engagements include The Pirates of Penzance at Bath’s Theatre Royal next month, Sweeney Todd at Chippenham and the next touring production of Bath Opera – Verdi’s Falstaff.

 
Graham Billing

Graham Billing - Director

Graham has been involved with Bath Opera for thirty years and has taken part in most of its major productions. The roles he has played include Triquet in Eugene Onegin, the Rector in Peter Grimes and the Emperor in Turandot. He has also directed operas by Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Menotti, Kurt Weill and Aaron Copland, and a number of works have been performed in new English translations he has made specially for the company. Graham has also compered concerts and been responsible for staging all of Bath Opera’s touring productions in the last seven years. His recent work outside Bath Opera has included directing and performing for White Horse Opera and Trowbridge Amateur Operatic Society and being the artistic director of Opera Piccola, for which he wrote the original libretto of the opera Winter Nights.

 

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