Neil Baker studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he won the major song prizes and graduated with a BMus (Hons), before continuing his studies at the Royal College of Music and with Margreet Honig in Amsterdam.
He began his professional singing career as a member of the Glyndebourne chorus and went on to make his international operatic debut with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre as Harald in Wagner’s Die Feen at the Châtelet Theatre, Paris. Other performances with Minkowski included Le nozze di Figaro at the Aix en Provence Festival, in Baden Baden and Tokyo; concerts in the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Barbican in London, and as a soloist in Purcell’s Hail Bright Cecilia in Grenoble and at the Salzburg Festival. His operatic roles include Aeneas Dido and Aeneas, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Araspe Tolomeo, Melisso Alcina, Escamillo Carmen, Marco Gianni Schicchi and the Count Le nozze di Figaro.
An accomplished concert performer, notable appearances include Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Britten’s Cantata Misericordium at St John’s Smith Square, London; Mozart’s Requiem on tour throughout Portugal under the direction of Jaap ter Linden; and recitals at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
In 2003 Neil began teaching fellow singers who sought his advice. His reputation as a voice teacher has grown so rapidly that he now devotes his time primarily to teaching. He has acquired a formidable list of students both from the UK and beyond, many of whom can be found performing in venues such as Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Opera Australia, Polish National Opera, La Monnaie, Opéra National De Paris, Opéra Lille, Staatsoper Berlin and the Bregenz Festival.
Neil has now built up private studios in London, Santa Fe and Geneva. He became a member of the professorial staff at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2013 and is a visiting lecturer at Morley College, London.
Soprano Darquise Bilodeau was born in Canada and is a graduate of McGill University and of the Université de Montréal. She studied with Winston Purdy and Gaston Germain, and participated in masterclasses with Elly Ameling, Gérard Souzay and Dalton Baldwin. She was a member of the Tudor Singers of Montreal and of the Opéra de Montréal professional chorus. Darquise has performed and given masterclasses in Canada and the United States as well as in the UK, and has sung on Radio-Canada broadcasts. In Canada, she has performed with the Laval Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Chamber Orchestra as well as with the St Lambert Choral Society. As part of the Lyrichorégra20 project, she toured around Montreal to bring opera to school-age children.
Performances in the UK include the Stone, Repton and Rolleston Choral Societies and numerous solo recitals, including an all-Fauré concert at the Birmingham Conservatoire. She can be heard on the Montreal Symphony Orchestra recordings of Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust and Requiem and Five Sacred Pieces.
Darquise has been awarded a PhD in Musicology from Birmingham City University for her thesis on rhythm and poetic prosody in the songs of Gabriel Fauré. She currently performs in Duo Artemis and conducts two choirs. She is a tutor at Morley College, London, leads singing workshops and teaches singing, in addition to continuing her research and writing on singing and on the mélodie.
Pippa is a graduate of Trinity College and went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she won the Ricordi Opera Prize.
She made her operatic debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and has since sung with opera companies including English National Opera, Opera North, Opera Holland Park, Glyndebourne, New Kent Opera, Savoy Opera, the Paris Opéra, National Theatre Brno, Muziktheater Transparant Antwerp and the Teatro Real, Madrid.
She has sung at major festivals such as the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Frankfurt, Edinburgh (Götterdämmerung Immolation Scene), Aldeburgh, Covent Garden and the BBC Proms and in concert and recitals at the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Vredenburg, Utrecht, Snape Maltings, Kings Place and Wigmore Hall.
Pippa has performed with conductors including Simon Rattle, Georg Solti, Roger Norrington, Andrew Davis, Carl Davis, Jiří Bělohlávek and with the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia and BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as with the Brodsky Quartet, Schubert Ensemble, Tippett Quartet and Randers Byorkester. She has also worked with the Théâtre de Complicité.
Her television credits include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, directed by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Bach’s Coffee Cantata and the world premiere of Torke’s King of Hearts. Her recordings include Birtwistle’s Mask of Orpheus, which won a Gramophone Award, Gluck’s Il Parnaso confuso with Roger Norrington and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol with Robert Craft and the Philharmonia.
As co-director of Operaplayhouse, she devised and performed concerts throughout the UK, Wales, Spain, Caribbean and Kenya, for SkyArts TV and the Hay-on-Wye, Cheltenham and Bath Festivals and was also the subject of a BBC documentary.
At the invitation of Jiří Bělohlávek, Pippa gave a series of masterclasses for the advanced opera students at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and has also given masterclasses in the UK, Spain, Moscow, Nairobi and for Dartington International Summer School as well as recitals in the ROH Crush Bar and more recently in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.
In addition to her private teaching, she is also Director of Singing Salon, a group of singers who work regularly with her and for whom she devises programmes. This summer they repeated their successful, ‘immersive’ performances in the Royal Pavilion and went on to open the Jimena Festival in Spain.
Brian is a graduate of the Royal College of Music where his teachers were Bernard Roberts and Maria Donska (piano) and Frederick Sharp and Lyndon van der Pump (singing).
As a postgraduate he went on to study for a further two years at the Royal College of Music Opera School with scholarships from the RCM Patrons Fund and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, winning acclaim notably for his performance of the title role in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. He also studied privately and in masterclasses with Eric Vietheer, Eugenie Triguez, Geoffrey Parsons, Gerhardt Husch, Nadia Boulanger, Pierre Bernac, David Pollard and Peter Pears.
He won the Major van Someren Godfrey Prize for English Song and was a Finalist in the Richard Tauber Competition, the Royal Overseas League Competition and the National Federation of Music Societies Award for Male Singers.
Brian has sung in recital, in concerts and in festivals both at home and abroad including the Spitalfields, Norwich, Camden, Cuenca, Maggio Musicale and Athens Festivals with conductors including Jean-Claude Malgoire, Christoph Rousset, David Roblou, William Christie and Frantisek Vajnar. He has broadcast for the BBC and French Radio and Television, and featured as soloist in many recordings including the cantatas of Bernier and Martinu as well as contemporary works by Berio, Henze and Holliger.
Equally at home on the operatic stage, Brian has sung for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Wexford Festival Opera, Aix en Provence Festival Opera, Opera 80 (now English Touring Opera) and more recently Venetian Opera and Bampton Classical Opera.
He teaches at an international level and has taught on the Berkshire Choral Union (USA), AIMS and Summer Music (UK) and Séminaire Estival de Musique en Wallonie (Belgium) summer schools.
Brian has also given masterclasses for Floral Opera (London) the Cergy Pontoise, Angers and Grenoble Conservatoires (France) and from 1998/2017 was Professeur de Chant at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse, Lyon.
He is currently Professor of Singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, a tutor for VoxIntegra, a member of the chamber music ensemble Insieme, and director of WorkshopWeekend@Winfrith courses in Dorset.
Brian is a Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and also an active member of the Association of English Singers and Speakers.
Panaretos Kyriatzidis is increasingly sought after as a collaborative performer, vocal coach and musical director. Winner of the Gerald Moore Award, Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform and the Emmy Destinn Awards Accompanist’s prize, Panaretos has also reached the finals of numerous national and international competitions. He has accompanied many prize winners, notably the baritone James Newby, and recently won the duo prize at the London Song Festival with the soprano Erika Mädi Jones.
A native of the Greek island of Thassos, Panaretos holds a BA in Law from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He finished his postgraduate studies under Martino Tirimo and Eugene Asti at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he was awarded a number of prizes and was later appointed Junior Fellow in Accompaniment. He has taken part in masterclasses with Thomas Quasthoff, Elly Ameling, Menahem Pressler and George Hadjinikos.
Panaretos has enjoyed a successful collaboration with the King’s Head Theatre where he was the musical director for Madam Butterfly, Tosca (Off West End Award 2018 for best opera production), La traviata (nominated in the same category for 2019) and La Bohème (nominated for an Olivier Award in 2019 after a transfer to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End). He is staff accompanist at Trinity Laban and at Morley College, where he also coaches for the Opera School and is co-leading a new Introduction to Opera Performance course.
Future engagements include a return to the Red House Library, Aldeburgh for a recital of 20th-century English song and acting as music director for St Paul’s Opera’s summer production of Le nozze di Figaro.
Leanne Singh-Levett is a London-based pianist with wide experience in vocal repertoire including art song, opera and choral music. She studied at the Royal College of Music with Andrew Ball and Roger Vignoles, following which she was a Britten-Pears Young Artist. She participated in the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Future Firsts programme including performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Purcell Room. Leanne accompanied Mary Bevan in Cadogan Hall as part of Imperial Male Voice Choir’s anniversary concert in June 2017 and has appeared in concert with singers including Lauren Fagan, David Butt-Philip, Gareth Brynmor John, Jeremy White, Marcus Farnsworth and Julien van Mellaerts. Leanne performed in Wigmore Hall in July 2018, accompanying rising stars of the Royal College of Music Junior Department, where she worked for five years as a chamber music tutor and choral accompanist.
Leanne plays for the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera, and for the Royal College of Music Vocal & Opera Department, where she has had extensive experience accompanying song classes, language coachings and opera scenes. She has worked on a number of RCM productions conducted by Michael Rosewell, including Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, the 2017 double bill of Les mamelles de Tirésias (Poulenc) & Une éducation manquée (Chabrier), and in 2018 The Lighthouse (Maxwell Davies) & In the Locked Room (Watkins). Leanne was Chorus Master for the 2018 RCM production of Le Nozze di Figaro, directed by Sir Thomas Allen. In 2019 she will be working for their production of Offenbach’s Robinson Crusoé, as both Chorus Master and répétiteur.
Leanne accompanies several choirs and has toured with Imperial Male Voice Choir to Frankfurt, Paris and St Petersburg where she played in the Academic Glinka Capella. Concerts with Andrew Griffiths and Kingston Choral Society have included Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’s Liebeslieder-walzer and a commission by Graham Ross. Leanne has also appeared twice in concert with chamber choir Londinium and has accompanied Dulwich Choral Society conducted by Aidan Oliver. Since 2015 she has been a staff pianist at Oxenfoord International Summer School directed by Malcolm Martineau.
Marc Verter is a pianist, song accompanist and concert producer. He was the artistic director for more than five years at the Chelsea Schubert Festival which focused on song and chamber music. Alongside his performing work Marc is a highly sought after vocal coach and repetiteur. Opera engagements have included the Aix en Provence Festival, Opera på Skäret in Sweden and the Dartington Festival in the UK.
He is currently on the staff of the vocal departments at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music.
He has performed at music festivals in Israel, North America and Europe and has played for singers including Yvonne Kenny, Jonathan Lemalu, Nelly Miricioiu, Kate Royal, Sarah Walker and Chen Reiss.
His first CD with the soprano Ilona Domnich, featuring songs by Strauss, Rachmaninov and Fauré, was released in December 2009 on the Quartz label and a recording of solo piano pieces by Tamara Konstantin is due to be released by Naxos in 2019. Through his doctoral studies Marc has examined the musical settings of the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and he leads workshops with college students on the performance of French song. He has developed and curated a salon concert series where a cast of musicians and actors recreates the glamour of 19th-century Parisian musical soirées in programmes that combine song, chamber music and spoken dialogue alongside interaction with the audience.