Alcina by George Frideric Handel
Premiering in July 2019 at the John Mcintosh Arts Centre in Fulham, London, Ensemble OrQuesta's production of Handel's classic Alcina will be performed in September 2021 at Théâtre Basse Passière.
Featuring a dynamic mix of musical talents from Ensemble OrQuesta, the show will feature a Harpsichord, Lute, two Violins and a Cello, to fully capture the magic of Handel's much revered classic.
Given a modern adaptation with an underlining theme of sexual harassment in the work place, it follows a minimalistic style, typical of most of Ensemble OrQuesta's productions, and will be conducted by internationally renowned conductor Marcio da Silva. The performers will be from the company's most experienced members, including Helen May in the title role. Casting for the remainder of the show is still to be finalised.
Founded in 2013 by Marcio da Silva, Ensemble OrQuesta bring together artists who are dedicated to performing Baroque music in all its richness and diversity to the highest of standards.
In recent years Ensemble OrQuesta have taken their professional productions to the Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre and to the Cockpit Theatre. These productions have secured considerable critical acclaim.
Since 2014 Ensemble OrQuesta have organised a dynamic range of Opera Academies. These Academies have given singers from all over the world the opportunity to perform complete roles in fully staged productions with orchestral accompaniment.
The exceptional quality of these academies - as reflected in effusive testimonials from participants - has earned Ensemble OrQuesta an outstanding reputation as an international young artist programme.
Marcio da Silva
Born in 1983 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Marcio da Silva began his music studies at the age of 9 with piano lessons and choral singing. After half a lifetime of international music studies and securing a Bachelor's and Master's degree in different musical disciplines, he has performed in numerous countries around the world, and has won awards for his performances here and overseas. He is an accomplished baritone and countertenor singer, and organised a number of Opera Academies each year, giving singers from across the world the opportunity to study and perform an operatic work at a high artistic level.
Helen graduated from the prestigious Preparatory Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music with an MA with Distinction, having been awarded a DipRAM for an outstanding final recital. Her studies were generously supported by the William Gibbs Trust and the Josephine Baker Trust. Helen previously studied Music at Cardiff University, where she held the David Lloyd Vocal Scholarship and was awarded the Geraint Evans Prize for outstanding recital performance.
Opera roles have included: Alcina (Alcina, Handel, Arcola Theatre); Climene, (L’Egisto, Cavalli, HGO); OFFIE nomination Calisto (La Calisto, Cavalli, Cockpit Theatre); Diane (Hippolyte et Aricie, Rameau, Grimeborn Opera Festival); Pamina (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, Hastings Philharmonic); Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea, Monteverdi, Cockpit Theatre); Amastre (Xerse, Cavalli, Grimeborn Opera Festival); Despina (Cosi fan tutte, Mozart, Woodhouse Opera Festival); Galatea (Acis and Galatea, Handel, Ensemble OrQuesta); Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti, Woodhouse Opera); Valletto (L'incoronazione di Poppea, Monteverdi, HGO); Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart, Ensemble OrQuesta); and First Lady (The Magic Flute, Mozart, London Opera Players). Forthcoming roles include Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart, Vinehall Theatre, Robertsbridge); cover Jenůfa (Jenůfa, Janáček, Court Theatre, Tring); and Mimi (La Bohème, Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra). Helen is also an experienced oratorio soloist and recitalist.
British mezzo soprano Laura Fleur Hocking is studying on the Opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and drama. She previously graduated with a first class honours undergraduate degree and a Master of Performance degree with distinction from the Royal College of Music. She studies with Susan Waters. Laura is a 2019 Leeds Lieder Festival Young Artist and a 2020 Garsington Alvarez Young Artist.
Laura’s recent concert work has included being the alto ensemble member with Classical Opera and the Mozartist’s concert tour of Così fan tutte, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Orchestra Age of Enlightenment at the Royal Festival Hall and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Stravinsky's Pulcinella with the Guildhall Chamber Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle, Vivaldi's Gloria, Handel's Messiah and Bach cantatas with the London Handel Orchestra and a Mahler song project with Roger Vignoles.
Operatic experience includes Pompea in Jonathan Dove's The Little Green Swallow (Guildhall Opera) Mrs Kneebone in A Dinner Engagement (RCM Opera Studio), the title role in Dido and Aeneas (Hurn Court Opera), Melanto in Il Ritorno D'Ulisse (Suffolk Villages Festival), Nerone in L'Incoronazione di Poppea (The New Renaissance Collective), Amastre in Cavalli's Xerse, Dafne in Caccini's Euridice (Ensemble Orquesta), Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte (Broadstone Music Series) and contemporary opera premieres as Angelica in Lara Poe's The Fermi Paradox, and Embryo 3 in Sophie Sparkes' Our Perfect Child (RCM/Tête-à-tête). In Summer 2020 she was cast to cover Second Nymph in Garsington Opera's production of Rusalka.
Kathleen Nic Dhiarmada
Kathleen is an Irish soprano studying with Kate Paterson, Raymond Connell and Ingrid Surgenor.
Recently graduating with a distinction in Vocal Studies from the Royal Academy of Music, Kathleen is now continuing her studies at Royal Academy Opera with the generous support of the Carr-Gregory Trust.
Kathleen has performed lead roles in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena, Royal Academy Opera 2020), Puccini’s La bohème (Musetta, Hampstead Garden Opera, 2019) and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (Poppea, Ensemble OrQuesta, 2019). She has also performed the soprano solo In Fauré’s Requiem (Dun Laoighre Choral Society) Haydn’s Creation (Armagh City Choir) and the soprano 1 solo in Mozart’s C Minor Mass (English Baroque Choir). Kathleen also recently covered the role of Fiordiligi in Royal Academy Opera’s production of Così fan tutte.
Kathleen looks forward to playing Lauretta in Royal Academy Opera’s production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicci later this year.
British-Belgian mezzo-soprano Maya Colwell has been praised in Opera for performances that “delight with her vivacity”. She holds a First Class BA in Music from the University of Bristol and currently studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Alexander Ashworth and Matthew Fletcher. She has been lucky enough to receive the continued mentorship and support of Angela Hickey since her time at Bristol.
In September 2019, Maya premiered the title role of Dorian Gray in the new opera by Oliver Bowes to great acclaim, in a production at the historic Bedford in Balham. This past spring, she also made her debut as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Hilary Davan-Wetton at Cadogan Hall.
Maya has performed with numerous companies, both in the UK and internationally, and has been lucky enough to work and study with Kamal Khan, Gidon Saks, Lorraine DiSimone and Pamela Armstrong, among others.
Alongside her work as a singer, Maya also works as the creative director of Love Opera, coordinating and devising innovative productions of operatic treasures. Maya is also a multi-linguist, and uses her fluency in French, Italian, English and German to further her work as a keen translator and librettist.
British tenor Kieran White continues to enjoy success in the UK and is also establishing himself as a sought after artist in mainland Europe. Operatic engagements include Damon ACIS & GALATEA for Dorset Opera, Arnalta L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA at the Cockpit Theatre, the title-role L'EGISTO for Hampstead Garden Opera, Hippolyte HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE at the Grimeborn Festival, Acis ACIS AND GALATEA for Ensemble OrQuesta, Ruggiero in Caccini LA LIBERAZIONE DI RUGGIERO and Pastore in Gagliano’s LA DAFNE for the Brighton Early Music Festival, and the Sailor DIDO AND AENEAS at the Grange Festival. Upcoming engagements include Castor CASTOR & POLLUX with Warsaw Chamber Opera.
On the recital platform he has performed with Elizabeth Kenny (lute/theorbo) and Zita Silva (Harp), performing with both at the Sherborne Music Festival. Recent engagements include Bach Weihnachtsoratorium (Evangelist and tenor solo) with Collegium Musicum, Bergen, Bach Matthäus-Passion (Evangelist) with Iain Ledingham, Bach Johannes-Passion (tenor solo) with Bristol Bach Choir, Bach Matthäus-Passion (tenor solo) with Copenhagen Soloists, Stainer Crucifixion with Edvard Grieg Kor, Bach Cantatas with Amsterdam Baroque under Ton Koopman, Monteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine with Edvard Grieg Kor, Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Thuringer Bachwochen in the Erfurt Dom and Bach Johannes-Passion (Evangelist) with the ensemble Gli Angeli, in Geneva.
John Hormoz Holland-Avery
British-Iranian baritone John Hormoz Holland-Avery is a prize-winning postgraduate from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, during which time he was supported by the Mercers’ Company and an Independent Opera Voice Scholarship.
His operatic credits include: Chorus in Bart’s Oliver!, Verdi’s Don Carlo (Grange Park Opera), the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Hidraot/Ubalde in Lully’s Armide, Periarco in Cavalli’s Xerse (UK premiere), Bellone/Ali in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte (Ensemble OrQuesta), and Don Alfonso from the same opera (Devon Opera), Traveller in Britten’s Curlew River (Opera Xylem), Step-Out Baritone (cover) in Noah Mosley’s Aurora (Bury Court Opera), Pluton in Rameau’s Hippoltye et Aricie (Ensemble OrQuesta), Alidoro (cover) in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (British Youth Opera), and Dr Falke in J. Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus (Windsor and Eton Opera), Dottore in Verdi’s La Traviata (Teddington), Giove in Cavalli’s La Calisto (Ensemble OrQuesta), and Harasta in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Riverside Opera), Hipparco in Cavalli’s L’Egisto (Hampstead Garden Opera), and continuing as Melisso in Handel’s Alcina for Ensemble OrQuesta in France.
He performed in the Serena Fenwick Training Programme Summer Concert (BYO) soon due for YouTube broadcast, and as a founding member of Eboracum Baroque, recorded Handel’s Messiah last December for release later this year..