31 May 2024

News from Samling Artists – May 2024

A trio of Samling Artists appeared together in lead roles in Garsington Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro. Claire Lees her role debut as Susanna, whilst Samantha Clarke (Contessa) and Bethany Horak-Hallett (Cherubino) were appearing at Garsington for the first time.

Samling Institute’s Artistic and Executive Director Karon Wright attended the dress rehearsal and said ‘What a gorgeous production at Garsington and I couldn’t have been more proud of our three Samling Artists who sang and acted with such grace, honesty and beauty.’

Image: Samantha Clarke, Claire Lees and Bethany Horak-Hallett, Le Nozze di Figaro, Garsington Opera. Photo credit: Julian Guidera

Competitions and awards

We are delighted to hear that Melissa Gregory is the recipient of this year’s Lady Fairfax La Scala Opera Award from the The Opera Foundation for Young Australians. The award is worth around AU$35,000 and provides the recipient with four months of study and coaching at La Scala and Italian language lessons.

We also send congratulations to one of our most recent Samling Artists, Charlotte Bowden, who was awarded second prize in the London International Handel Singing Competition.

Festival and season announcements

Edinburgh International Festival

4 August: Ed Lyon is Evangelist in Felix Mendelssohn’s arrangement of J.S.Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in one of the festival’s opening concerts.

6 August: Catriona Morison sings Gustav Mahler’s Lieder eines farhrenden Gesellen with the Bamberg Symphoniker and Jakub Hrůsa

10 August: Christopher Maltman is Don Alfonso in a concert performance of Così fan tutte with Maxim Emelyanychev and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

12–19 August: Kitty Whately is Jocasta in an immersive promenade staging of Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex at the National Museum of Scotland.

17 August: Anna Stéphany is the mezzo-soprano soloist in Lili Boulanger’s Psalm 150 in a concert with the The Hallé and Sir Mark Elder.


Glyndebourne have announced their two productions for the 2024 autumn season and have released the first details of the 2025 Festival. In the autumn season, Ross Ramgobin appearing as Prosdocimo in Il turco in Italia.

Next summer Liam Bonthrone makes his Glyndebourne debut singing roles in a revival of Barrie Kosky’s staging of Handel’s oratorio Saul. He also sings Erste Gralsritter in Glyndebourne’s first ever production of Parsifal. Louise Alder makes her role debut as Countess Almaviva in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro and Nicky Spence is Boris in Kát’a Kabanová.

Oxford Song

Oxford International Song Festival have announced their programme for this year’s festival, which follows a theme of ‘Cities of Song’. As usual, there are plenty of Samling Artists taking part in the festival:
Singers: Ted Black, Hugo Brady, Harriet Burns, Lucy Crowe, Ben Johnson, Ed Lyon, Christopher Maltman, James Newby, Kathryn Rudge and Nicky Spence
PianistsL James Baillieu, Natalie Burch (who is also Associate Artistic Director of this year’s festival), Lucy Colquhoun, Jocelyn Freeman, Francesca Lauri, Joseph Middleton, Michael Pandya, John Reid, Krystal Tunnicliffe and JongSun Woo.

English National Opera

English National Opera have also announced their season for 2024/25:

Madeleine Shaw, The Abbess, Suor Angelica
William Thomas, Sparafucile, Rigoletto
Bethan Langford, Edith, The Pirates of Penzance
Nardus Williams, Countess, The Marriage of Figaro
Nicky Spence, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell in the first performance for ENO of Thea Musgrave’s Mary, Queen of Scots.

House and role debuts

Louise Alder makes her house and role debuts as Micaëla Carmen at San Francisco Opera in November and her role debut as Donna Anna, Don Giovanni at the Vienna State Opera in October.

Ted Black joins the ensemble at Oper Graz as a resident soloist, with roles in the upcoming season including Walther Tannhäuser; Ferrando Così Fan Tutte and Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Anush Hovhannisyan makes her house and role debut in title role of Kát’a Kabanová at Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Liège, Belgium in October and on 9 June she makes her role debut as Lucrezia Contarini in a one-off concert performance of Guiseppe Verdi’s I due Foscari with Chelsea Opera Group at Cadogan Hall.

Joshua Owen Mills makes his house debut at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland as Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni and Yonas in Adriana Mater by Kaija Saariaho.


Rowan Pierce is the soprano soloist on ‘How are the mighty fallen’, a collection of choral works by Giovanni Bononcini with the choir of Queen’s College Oxford and The Academy of Ancient Music, directed by Owen Rees

Melissa Gregory, recipient of this year's Lady Fairfax La Scala Opera Award

Charlotte Bowden performing in the competition final with the London Handel Orchestra directed by Lawrence Cummings. Photo credit Craig Fuller