Category Archives: Soprano

Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610

Saturday 14 October 2017
Pamoja Hall   7.30pm

With Vivace and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

Director of Music: Robin Walker

Poster for Cantate Choir's October 2017 performance of Monteverdi Vespers with Vivaci! and The English Cornett & Sackbut EnsembleBorn in Cremona, Monteverdi was a composer and court musician particularly known for books of madrigals and operas. His work transitions from Renaissance polyphony to Baroque melody including pioneering techniques such as bass continuo. The Vesperis in Festis Beata Mariae Vergine, more casually known as the Vespers of 1610, was his first sacred work in nearly 30 years reflecting a blend of both styles. In scale it represents one of the most ambitious works of religious music written before Bach.  It is a large, complex and ground-breaking piece noted for its brilliance and power.

Special guest soloists will perform with The Cantate Choir and we will be joined by Vivace and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble for what promises to be a wonderful evening.

Tickets cost £15. (concessions £7.50 U18s)

For more information and a link to book tickets, go to


Gala Concert – Handel’s ‘Messiah’

23rd January 2016
Pamoja Hall – Sevenoaks School

Poster for the Handel's Messiah concert in January 2016


Handel’s Messiah

The Cantate Choir with orchestra ‘Vivace!’ and internationally renowned soloists gave a gala charity performance of this most wonderful of Oratorios to raise money for The Hospice in the Weald.

Choir, orchestra and soloists performing the Hallelujah chorus in Handel's Messiah

The Cantate Choir raised over £10,000 for Hospice in the Weald through it’s Gala Charity Concert on 23rd January 2016. This organisation provides the most outstanding palliative care to the terminally ill, and is heavily reliant on the generosity of the public, local businesses and organisations. Our guest of honour, Lord Sackville, introduced the concert.

The choir performed Handel’s masterpiece under the baton of Robin Walker accompanied by orchestra ‘Vivace!’ who played on period instruments. Cantate also welcomed internationally renowned soloists: soprano Gillian Keith, counter tenor Francesco Ghelardini, tenor Tom Randle and bass Trevor Eliot Bowes.


Conductor – Robin Walker
Leader – Hazel Brooks

Soprano – Gillian Keith
Counter-tenor – Francesco Ghelardini
Tenor – Tom Randle
Bass – Trevor Eliot Bowes

Programme notes

Programme notes by Sarah Kelmsley


Review by Graeme Fife

Sofia Larsson

Sofia Larsson, sang soprano for the Cantate Choir during it’s performance of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus in March 2013.

Sofia Larsson

Sofia Larsson graduated with a first-class honours degree in Music from King’s College London in 2009 and completed the ENO Opera Works training programme in 2011. She currently holds the Draper’s Baroness de Turckheim vocal scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, where she is on the preparatory opera course in her second year of an MA in vocal performance, studying with Philip Doghan and Audrey Hyland. Sofia is a member of Song Circle, with whom she recently performed at the Oxford Lieder Festival. Last year she won the Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize and was awarded the Andrew Sykes Prize.

Operatic roles include Susanna (Marriage of Figaro), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Marzelline (Fidelio), Angelica (Orlando), Romilda (Xerxes) and Carolina (Il Matrimonio Segreto). Sofia regularly performs as a recitalist and oratorio soloist. Future concerts include the Bach Magnificat and Schubert Mass in G with the English Baroque Choir at St. John’s Smith Square and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Southern Sinfonia.

Sofia is very grateful to be supported by the Maaike McInnes Charitable Trust, the Cosman Keller Art and Music Trust, the Musicians Benevolent Fund and the Josephine Baker Trust.

Alice Privett

Alice, sang soprano for the Cantate Choir during it’s performance of J S Bach’s B minor mass in March 2012.

Alice Privett, Soprano

Alice Rose Privett graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011 with the Concert Recital Diploma; her operatic roles include Poppea L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Longborough Festival Opera Young Artists), Belinda Dido and Anaeus (Ad Parnassum, Venice), and First Bridesmaid/cover of Susanna Nozze di Figaro (BYO). During her undergraduate course at the GSMD she has had the benefit of working with Elijah Moshinsky, Sarah Walker, Eugene Asti and Iain Burnside (in the premiere of his play Unknown Doors in the Barbican Pit Theatre). She has also participated in masterclasses with Rudolph Piernay in Salzburg, Edith Wiens at GSMD and Joan Dornemann at the IVAI programme (Tel Aviv). Alice is a keen recitalist, and after taking part in a recital of Messiaen’s complete songs at The Forge in London was awarded the Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize for work in contemporary song. In competition she has won the first prize in the Susan Longfield Award (2011) and in the Royal Overseas League (2011) with the ensemble ‘Cries of London’. Upcoming roles this year include Papagena/ cover of Pamina (Longborough Festival Opera) and Pamina (The Complete Singer). She currently studies with Lillian Watson and Jonathan Papp at the RAM.

Kathryn Walker

Kathryn, sang soprano for the Cantate Choir during it’s performance of J S Bach’s B minor mass in March 2012.

Kathryn Walker

Kathryn Walker, a music graduate from the University of Birmingham, is studying voice with Elizabeth Ritchie at the Royal Academy of Music. Opera roles include Tormentilla (The Poisoned Kiss/Vaughan Williams), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus/Strauss) for University of Birmingham Summer Festival Opera, Juno (Semele/Handel) for Hampstead Garden Opera. She is currently working of the role of the Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte/Mozart) with Royal Academy Opera and cover Bircenna (Cajo Fabricio/Hasse) with Ensemble Serse. Kathryn was described as “…a powerful talent to watch. Wonderfully even throughout, her singing has particularly rich lower tones, and she has a highly impressive stage-persona” (Christopher Morley, Opera Magazine) for her performance as Tormentilla. Kathryn is also a member of Song Circle at the Royal Academy of Music, and she is grateful for the support if the Josephine Baker and the Lucille Graham trusts.

Suzanna Marks-Perry

Susanna sang with the choir during its Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle concert in March 2011.

Suzanna Perry, Soprano

Suzanna was born in Essex, and began study as a scientist, gaining first a degree in Biology from Kings College, London and then a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Science. In 1993 she went to study at the Royal Academy of Music and graduated in 1996 with a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Voice. For the past 15 years, she has worked as a freelance Soprano. Oratorio repertoire includes Dyson Hierusalem, Mozart Exsultate Jubilate and Rutter Requiem with the London Choral Society directed by Ronald Corp. She has also sung the dramatic oratorio role of the Virgin Mary, in Honneger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake, with the Crouch End Festival Chorus, directed by David Temple. Operatic roles include Ludmilla in Smetena’s Bartered Bride, for Almaviva Opera and Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on tour in Catalonia, directed by Nigel Rogers.

Suzanna has been the featured artist with the North London Philharmonia directed by Ronald Rappoport, with whom she performed six Richard Strauss Orchestral Songs.

She has sung in masterclasses for Nicolai Gedda, Robert Tear, Jill Gomez, Valerie Masterson and Nigel Rogers.

She has given many recitals and concert tours for the Council for Music in Hospitals throughout England, working regularly with Accordionist, Janet Beale.

Suzanna sings regularly with the Alexander Marks String Quartet in Merseyside, Lancashire, and has recently performed as guest artist with Occassional Strings. She gives regular song recitals in Hertfordshire.

Gillian Keith

Gillian performed with the Cantate Choir in the Mozart Requiem concert in March 2006, the Haydn Creation concert in March 2010 and the Handel’s Messiah in January 2016.

Gillian Keith, Soprano

Canadian soprano Gillian Keith has emerged as one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation. Her superb voice and musicianship are at home both on the opera stage and on the concert platform, making her one of the most stylish and versatile artists on the stage today.

A past winner of the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award‚ she made her Royal Opera‚ Covent Garden debut as Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and has gone on to repeat the role with great success at Ópera de Oviedo and Welsh National Opera. Other operatic appearances include Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at ROH and at English National Opera‚ Nannetta Falstaff and Pretty Polly in Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy‚ both for ENO‚ and Pretty Polly in Geneva. She has sung Lucinda in Conti’s Don Chisciotte for Netherlands Opera under Rene Jacobs‚ Tiny in Britten’s Paul Bunyan for the Bregenz Festival‚ Elmira in Opera North’s Croesus‚ Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante in Halle‚ Philine in Thomas’ Mignon, and Iphis in Handel’s Jeptha, both for Buxton Festival, The Woodbird in Scottish Opera’s Siegfried, and Poppea in Basel and in Boston.

Concert highlights include Mozart’s C Minor Mass in Boston’s Symphony Hall‚ La Resurrezione with the Wiener Akademie‚ Mahler 8 with the RPO‚ Haydn’s Creation with CBSO‚ B Minor Mass at London’s Barbican Hall, Handel’s Messiah and Silete venti with The Sixteen in Hong Kong and New Zealand, and Purcell’s The Indian Queen with The Sixteen at the Edinburgh International Festival‚ under such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner‚ Daniele Gatti‚ Sir Richard Armstrong‚ Peter Schreier‚ Richard Hickox, Gianandrea Noseda‚ Harry Christophers and Sir Mark Elder.

Recent appearances include the title role in H.K. Gruber’s Gloria: A Pigtail at Royal Opera’s Linbury Studio Theatre, Buxton Festival and Bregenz Festival, Bach solo cantatas with Northern Chamber Orchestra, Kurtág’s Scenes from a Novel with the Psappha Ensemble, Handel’s Messiah in Washington National Cathedral, Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Handel and Haydn Society, Boston),
Miss Wordsworth in Britten’s Albert Herring with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the role of Ruth Ellis in Tom Randle’s new opera Love Me To Death at The Barbican’s Pit Theatre, and the premiere of works by David Matthews and Cecilia McDowall at the Presteigne Festival.

This season includes performances and a multi-disc recording of Bach solo cantatas with Armonico Consort, as well as concerts of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

She has recorded the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Richard Armstrong, as well as orchestral songs by Dallapiccola, Nielsen’s 3rd Symphony, and Casella’s Le convent sur l’eau with Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic, all for Chandos. Other recordings include Handel’s Gloria and Bach Cantatas with John Eliot Gardiner,
Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s C Minor Mass with Harry Christophers, and Handel’s Nine German Arias with Florilegium. Her recital discs include Schubert Lieder on Marquis, and with pianist Simon Lepper Debussy: Early Songs, and Debussy Songs For His Muse for Deux-Elles, as well as Gillian Keith – bei Strauss for Champs Hill Records.

Fflur Wyn

Fflur sang with the choir during its Handel’s Messiah concert in March 2009.

Fflur Wyn, Soprano

Fflur Wyn graduated with a Dip.RAM from the Royal Academy of Music Opera Course where she studied with Beatrice Unsworth and Clara Taylor. Her awards include First Prize and Audience Prize at the National Handel Competition 2005, the London Welsh Young Singer of the Year 2005, the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary, the Bryn Terfel Scholarship and the MOCSA Young Welsh Singer Prize.

Her operatic performances include Pamina (The Magic Flute – Holland Park Opera); Clerida (Croesus by Keiser), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) Papagena (The Magic Flute) all for Opera North; Iphis (Jephtha – Welsh National Opera); Karolka (Jenufa – St Endellion Festival with Richard Hickox); Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro – Court Opera); creating the role of Adele in Michael Berkley’s opera Jane Eyre with Music Theatre Wales, with appearances at The Linbury Theatre Covent Garden (BBC Radio 3 / CD Recording).

Her oratorio and concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah (Harry Bicket/English Concert), Bach Christmas Oratorio (Jan Willem de Vriend/Combattimento Consort), Haydn’s Creation (Paul McCreesh/The Gabrieli Consort), her Proms debut in Mozart’s Thamos at Cadogan Hall for the Proms Saturday Matinee series, Handel’s Jephtha (Daniel Reuss/Cappella Amsterdam), Mozart Exsultate Jubilate with both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The European Union Chamber Orchestra, Mozart Mass in C minor (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra), Bach St John Passion (David Hill/Opera North Orchestra).

Future performances include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro at La Monnaie.

Susan Gilmore-Bailey

Susan sang with the choir during its Baroque Masterworks concert in March 2007.

Susan Gilmore Bailey, Soprano

Performing throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, soprano Susan Gilmour-Bailey enjoys a varied career of concert, oratorio, and opera performances. Her recent projects have included the role of Euridice in Monteverdi Orfeo at the Théâtre de Caen with Le Concert d’Astrée under Emmanuelle Haim and the soprano solos in the City of London Sinfonia/Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Originally from Canada, Ms. Gilmour-Bailey currently resides in London where in 2002 she completed her Masters in Vocal Performance at the Royal Academy of Music. Future projects include a staged production of Bach St John Passion at le Châtelet in Paris under Emmanuelle Haim and principal roles in the Fairy Queen and King Arthur for the Armonico Consort.

Donna Bateman

Donna sang with the choir during its Baroque Masterworks concert in March 2007.

Donna Bateman, Soprano

Donna Bateman is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, which she attended on a scholarship and distinguished herself as an award-winning music student. She won the coveted National Federation of Music Societies Award, and was a finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize. She was awarded a further scholarship to continue her studies on the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music, where she graduated with Distinction and was awarded the G. Embley Memorial Prize.

Her opera roles include Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro and Helena A Midsummer Night’s Dream for English Touring Opera, Mrs Coyle Owen Wingrave, Gismonda Ottone, for the London Handel Society, Frasquita Carmen, Queen Erisbe L’Ormindo for the Sir William Walton Trust in Italy and Marzelline in Birmingham Opera Company’s Award-winning production of Fidelio directed by Graham Vick and broadcast live on BBC4. Donna returned to BOC to perform the role of Cunegonde Candide, after which she performed the role of Coralina in Il Toreador at the Batignano Opera Festival. Most recently she performed in Flashmob, broadcast live on BBC Television. Recent Operatic highlights this season include 1st Nymph and The Foreign Princess in Rusalka for Iford Arts, Pamina, Magic Flute for English Touring Opera, her debut for The Royal Opera House ROH2 as Miranda in The Gentle Giant, La Cuisinière in Le Rossignol for the CBSO at the Symphomy Hall, Birmingham, Pamina, The Magic Flute in Lisbon and Zerbinetta for Birmingham Opera Company directed by Graham Vick.

Donna Bateman’s acknowledged expertise in contemporary operatic repertoire has earned her four major engagements and three recent world premieres. These major roles include Kalypso Linen from Smyrna by Edward Rushton, Khin Myo The Piano Tuner by Nigel Osborne co-commissioned by Music Theatre Wales and the Royal Opera House, Miranda Rainland by Joseph Phibbs and Miss Pescado in Judith Weir’s Armida, which was specially commissioned for Channel 4 Television and was broadcast on Christmas day.

Donna regularly performs recitals and concerts in the UK and abroad. She was invited to sing at the opening ceremony of the World Athletics Championships, was a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, London, for the National Insurance Awards with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, while this season she has made regular appearances in concert with The Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra. Her Oratorio engagements include St. Matthew Passion, In Terra Pax at St. John’s, Smith Square, Haydn’s St Cecilia Mass at Winchester Cathedral and Mozart’s Mass in C minor at Chichester Cathedral with the Orchestra of St John’s, conducted by John Lubbock.

Her most recent solo engagements include Mahler’s Symphony no.8 at The Symphony Hall, Birmingham, David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus broadcast live on Radio 4 from St Martin in the fields, Carmina Burana with the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra at the Albert Hall Nottingham and Bernstein’s Mass at The Barbican Hall London with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop and recorded live by Radio 3.

Amy Freston

Amy sang with the choir during its Magnificat! concert in January 2003.

Amy Freston, Soprano

Amy Freston trained as a classical dancer at the Central School of Ballet and now studies singing with Sandra Dugdale at the RNCM. Whilst at the RNCM she has taken part ina number of the College’s opera productions including Verdi’s Falstaff (covering Nanetta), Sondheim’s Into the Woods (playing both Snow White and Rapunzal), Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (covering the first boy) and Janàcek’s Jenufa (chorus and dancer). She performed the role of Asteria in the RNCM’s production of Handel’s Tamerlano and is a winner of the Alexander Young Award and the Brigette Fassbaender prize for lieder.

Recent engagements include the role of Galatea in Kent Opera’s Sprin 2002 production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, the role of Sister Genevieve in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with Opera Holland Park, and soprano soloist in a performance of two Bach Cantatas and a Harrison Birtwistle song cycle, in the presence of the composer, at the home of Alfred Brendel this summer.

Recent concert performances include soloist in Carmina Burana with the City of Birmingham Symphony Hall, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Brahms’ Requiem with Nottingham Choral Trust, and Vivaldi’s cantata Nulla in mundo pax sincera with the RNCM chamber orchestra conducted by Douglas Boyd.

For Opera North Amy covered the Sandman and the Dewfairy in their Summer 2001 production of Hansel and Gretel, and last January sang the role of Pamina in a two-week workshop of Die Zauberflöte in preparation for their Spring 2003 production directed by Tim Supple. Amy also sang the role of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier for a masterclass lead by James Holmes this November.

Amy is most grateful to the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Peter Moores Foundation for their generous support of her studies.

Katherine Manley

Katherine sang with the choir during its Magnificat! concert in January 2003.

Katherine Manley, Soprano

Born in 1979, Katherine Manley began her musical training at Leicester Arts In Education. Here she participated in various ensembles and choirs such as the Leicester Bach Choir and the Chanterelles, performing in venues including the Royal Albert hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

For four years from 1997 she was scholar studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where she was chosen as the young singer to represent the college in the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary. She has appeared in master classes with Benjamin Luxon, Roger Vignoles and recently with Sarah Walker. She took part of college opera performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Bizet’s Carmen.

Katherine is now continuing her postgraduate training on the Diploma Course at the Royal College of Music.

As a soloist Katherine has worked with both amateur and professional performances of oratorio and as a member of the RSAMD Chamber Choir performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Forthcoming engagements include work with Opera Holland Park, and singing in Händel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, and an orchestral recital in Cambridge of Britten’s Les Illuminations.

Benedikte Moes

Benedikte sang with the choir during its performance of Poulenc’s Gloria in November 2002.

Benedikte Moes, Soprano

Benedikte Moes was born in Denmark and began her training at the age of 12, singing with the Girls’ Choir of Radio Denmark.

A graduate and rising star from the Royal Acadamy of Music, Benedikte Moes has given concerts throughout England and Europe, worked with Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge, and sung in masterclasses with Nicolai Gedda, Robert Tear, Marjorie Thomas and Paul Sperry. She has also worked intensively with Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge at the Britten-Pears School in Snape.

In 2001 Benedikte performed the role of Mimi in Clonter Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme.

Her oratorio performances have included Bach’s St John Passion and St Matthew Passion, as well as Brahms’ Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Harmony Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Rutter’s Gloria and Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat. Forthcoming engagements include touring with Scottish Opera in 2003.