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"….light, relaxed and engaging mix delivered with freshness and personality...... although opera and operetta ruled the roost in their concert, they had the foresight to include songs that appealed to those less operatically inclined...... a relaxing hour or so of top class singing....their first-ever Fringe appearance and I hope it won’t be the last."

Garry Fraser, Dundee Courier, Fringe 2014

"….a constant source of delight and enchantment…. an exhilarating and fascinating insight into the variety of music that opera, operetta and musicals offer. Witty or amusing introductions and interactions with each other throughout added to our enjoyment, as well as placing situations in context… a wide emotional range was explored. Comic pieces… highlights... enhanced by characterisation and mood... gentle humour… pointed wit and interaction… moving performance with a beautifully controlled diminuendo ending... hauntingly atmospheric… hilarious... and our involvement and singing - great fun… a splendid medley... No wonder the appreciative audience was generous in its final applause. A reflective encore left us wanting more... a magical evening. Rapport had been established quickly, the singing was always captivating, had excellent blend, and diction was first class... excellent supportive accompaniment offered impetus, mood, colour and virtuosity as necessary.
"

Alan Lovell, Moffat News, February 2015

"exciting ensemble"….. "They opened the concert in style" …… "sung… with such gentle and touching feeling that the audience was momentarily quiet at its end, breathing in Mozart’s musical genius"….. "delivered with style, bravado and laughter."….. "The arrangement by Derek Clark of Robert Burns‘ “My love is like a red, red rose,” sung by the quartet was quite stunning. Sung so beautifully with a quiet, gentle and tearful tone, it overwhelmed the audience for a while before being greeted with prolonged applause. The singers and their accompanist had reached new heights."…. "a wonderful evening
"

Lockerbie Music Society 10/12/13

Opera Alba / vocal quartet

Opera Alba was formed at the end of 2004 with the aim of bringing well sung, highly accessible opera to venues around Scotland in an entertaining and enjoyable manner.  Jenny, Daisy and Steven are founder members of Opera Alba. Each member of the group has extensive experience of appearing on the professional operatic stage and on the concert platform. Having celebrated our tenth anniversary in December 2014, we’re continuing to enjoy performing together and we have as much fun as we hope we give our audiences!

Jenny Wilson-Best, soprano Jenny began her career singing in the full-time chorus at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, performing many solo roles and covers. She moved to Glasgow in 1988 where she sang in the full-time chorus of Scottish Opera for five years, again performing solo roles and covers. Since 1993 she has been a freelance concert and opera singer performing with Covent Garden, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North in the UK, Opéra National de Paris, Châtelet, Palais Garnier and Les Arts Florissants in Paris, Nationale Reisopera in The Netherlands, La Monnaie in Brussels, London Philharmonia Singers, London Voices, European Voices, Scottish Early Music Consort. She has sung in the Edinburgh Festival, Savonlinna Festival, Salzburg Festival, Vienna Festival, Aix-en-Provence and at the London Proms on several occasions. She is a founder member of Opera Alba, along with Daisy and Steven. Jenny is also an ambassador for Revive MS Support.

Daisy Henderson, soprano Daisy Henderson joined the full-time chorus of Scottish Opera in 1996 and continues to be employed by them on a freelance basis. She has performed and covered many roles for Scottish Opera, including Ida in Die Fledermaus, the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier, First Lady in The Magic Flute and Freya in Das Rheingold. She has given solo recitals at Glasgow Cathedral and at St Mary’s Cathedral as part of the Edinburgh Festival Recital Series. Solo concert work includes Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Seasons, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Vivaldi’s Gloria, the Zemlinski Lyric Symphony and the Verdi Requiem.  She is a Crear scholar, after taking part in a week of Malcolm Martineau Masterclasses at Crear in Argyll. As well as being a guest soloist, she performs regularly throughout Scotland with Opera Alba, Coro Alba and The Ivor Novello Story . In addition to her performing work, she teaches singing privately, and started Classical Musicians Scotland for professional, classical musicians from, or living in Scotland.

Adam Magee, tenor Adam Magee was born in Birmingham. After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in 2002, he took up a place on the opera course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) studying with Peter Alexander Wilson. Whilst at the RNCM, he performed in many of the College’s productions including the choruses of Le Nozze di FigaroDie Zauberflöte, Jenufa, and Queen of Spades. Roles include 1st Man in Armour in Die Zauberflöte, Dr Caius in Falstaff, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw and Reuben Waterford in Dr Heidegger’s Fountain of Youth. Adam has also performed the role of Benedict in Benedict et Beatrice for West Riding Opera, Le Prince Charmant in Cendrillon with the RSAMD, Alfredo in La Traviata with Opera At Bearwood. He has sung in various choruses at Garsington Opera, Opera North, the Edinburgh Festival, Birmingham Touring Opera and Scottish Opera. He performed at Musica nel Chiostro, Batignano, Italy in 2000 and 2003. Adam performs regularly on the concert platform. His repertoire includes works by Bach (St. John and St. Matthew Passions and Christmas Oratorio), Haydn (Creation, St. Nicholas and Nelson Masses), Handel (Acis and Galatea, Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus and Alexander’s Feast). He has also performed Mozart (Coronation Mass, Solemn Vespers, Requiem and Litaniae Lauretanae), Rossini (Petite Messe Solennelle), Stainer (Crucifixion), Mendelssohn (St. Paul and Elijah), Dvorak (Stabat Mater), Puccini (Messa di Gloria), Bizet (Te Deum), Finzi (Dies Natalis), Elgar (Dream of Gerontius), and Britten (St. Nicholas and Rejoice in the Lamb).

Steven Faughey, baritone Steven was born in the North East of England and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with Bill McCue and Jeff Nielson Taylor. He has sung with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and Garsington Festival Opera, and was a member of the full-time chorus of Scottish Opera where he is now employed as a freelance chorister.  He also works regularly with Scottish Opera’s Education Department. His operatic roles include Antonio, the gardener in The Marriage of Figaro, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Mustafa in Italian Girl in Algiers, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Ford in Falstaff and Talbot in Maria Stuarda. For Scottish Opera, he has performed and covered many roles including Second Priest in The Magic Flute, Alcindoro in Tosca, the Official Registrar in Madama Butterfly and Ambrogio in Il Barbiere de Siviglia. Last year he performed the role of Jake Wallace in a concert performance of La Fanciulla del West in the Usher Hall as part of Edinburgh Festival. Steven’s solo oratorio work includes Handel’s Messiah, Judas Maccabeus, Israel in Egypt, Faure’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation,  Stainer’s Crucifixion, Mozart’s Requiem, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Carmina Burana. Steven also performs in Land of Lehar and with the Antonine Trio, and like Daisy and Jenny, is a founder member of Opera Alba, performing regularly throughout Scotland. He also plays and teaches flute, clarinet, recorder and saxophone.

Derek Clark, pianist Derek was born in Glasgow and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) and the London Opera Centre.  He joined Welsh National Opera’s music staff in 1977 as a repetiteur and staff conductor, conducting a wide repertoire ranging from Handel and Mozart to Maxwell Davies and Stravinsky. He is a regular guest coach at the National Opera Studio, the Royal Academy of Music and the RSAMD.  As an accompanist he has appeared throughout Britain and he also works as an arranger and composer. Since joining Scottish Opera as Head of Music in 1997, he has conducted Samson, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Fidelio, Carmen, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Barber of Seville, L’Italiana in Algeri, La Boheme, Tosca, Madam Butterfly, and James MacMillan’s Ines de Castro. He provided reduced orchestrations for the Scottish Opera on Tour productions of Hansel and GretelCenerentolaDie Fledermaus, Carmen and Macbeth.  He has also conducted all three seasons of the company’s Five:15 Operas made in Scotland project, and the premiere of Rory Boyle’s award-winning opera Kaspar Hauser for the RSAMD. In 2012 and 2013, he conducted  Scottish Opera’s short operas:  Clemency, The Lady from the Sea, In the Locked Room and Ghost Patrol, performed at Edinburgh Festival. He was also heavily involved in the company’s performances of Macbeth.

Opera Alba: Background

Opera Alba was formed at the end of 2004 with the aim of bringing well sung, highly accessible opera to venues around Scotland in an entertaining and enjoyable manner. The highlight of their concerts is without doubt, the lack of “stuffiness” often associated with opera. However, that is not to say that their repertoire is not delivered with poise, panache, and eloquence!

Its members – Daisy Henderson, soprano, Jenny Wilson Best, soprano, Adam Magee, tenor and Steven Faughey, baritone, are very lucky to have Derek Clark as their regular accompanist, when he can spare time from his duties as Head of Music at Scottish Opera! All five met while working for Scottish Opera and some have also worked at Opera North, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, Garsington Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Nationale Reisopera, Holland, La Monnaie, Brussels, the Chatelet, Paris, and Opera Lyon, to name but a few.

In addition to freelance opera work, members of Opera Alba also perform as soloists and with other ensembles at various events in and around Scotland. They have a wide experience of oratorio and concert work between them, as well as being asked to sing at weddings. Opera Alba also performs as Coro Alba, in a larger group of 8 – 20 professional singers with accompanist.

Their repertoire is wide and varied: operatic arias, duets, trios and quartets by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Donizetti, Offenbach, Bizet, Dvorak, etc with a lighter programme of operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan, songs from the shows, four-part Scottish songs arranged by Derek, and comedy numbers. A sample programme might include the Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata, the Quartet from Beethoven’s Fidelio, ‘Soave sia il vento’ from Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé by Delibes, the ‘Song to the Moon’ from Dvorak’s Rusalka, Vissi d’art from Puccini’s Tosca, Lehar’s Merry Widow Waltz, some Gilbert and Sullivan, a medley from My Fair Lady or The King and I, ‘A Word on my Ear’ by Flanders and Swann and many, many more.  

Engagements across Scotland have included: Aros Centre (Skye), Ayr Music Club, Beith Arts Guild, Brunton Theatre, Cally House (Blairgowrie), Cathcart, Cramond Kirk, Dumfries Theatre Royal, Dundee Repertory Theatre, Dunfermline Arts Guild, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Friends of Scottish Opera (Perth), Gatehouse of Fleet Music Society, Glasgow Hilton,  Hawick Music Club, His Majesty’s at the Hilton (Aberdeen), Ingliston Country Club in Bishopton, Inverness Chamber Music, Linlithgow Arts Guild, Lockerbie Music Society, Moffat Music Society, Mugdock (Milngavie), Mull Theatre, Music in Lanark,  Newton Stewart and District Music Club, Paisley Arts Centre, Paisley Town Hall, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Ross Priory (Gartocharn), Solsgirth House (Dollar), Stirling Tolbooth, Stranraer Music for All, Strathdee Music Club, Tarbert on Harris, Tasting Rooms (Dundee), Thurso Live Music Association, Torphichen Summer Nights, Williamwood Golf Club.

Forthcoming concerts:

Carluccio’s Glasgow, Opera a Tavola evenings, 15th September 2015

Stranraer Music For All, 7.30pm, 18th September 2015

 

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