The Soloists

We are very grateful to our talented soloists for their fantastic performances under very challenging conditions!

Elijah – Sir Thomas Allen

Photography by Sussie Ahlburg

Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where in 2011 he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his debut with the company, he has sung over fifty roles. The same year he also celebrated the 30th anniversary of his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. He returns to the Metropolitan Opera in 17/18 for his acclaimed portrayal of Baron Zeta (The Merry Widow)

He’s particularly renowned for his Billy Budd, Pelléas, Eugene Onegin, Ulisse and Beckmesser, as well as the great Mozart roles of Count Almaviva, Don Alfonso, Papageno, Guglielmo and, of course, Don Giovanni. His recent engagements have included the title role in Gianni Schicchi for Los Angeles Opera and at the Spoleto Festival; the title role in Sweeney Todd, Beckmesser (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Faninal (Der Rosenkavalier), Prosdocimo (Il turco in Italia), Music Master (Ariadne auf Naxos), Peter (Hänsel und Gretel) and Don Alfonso at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Don Alfonso, Ulisse and Don Giovanni at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Faninal at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia; Eisenstein at the Glyndebourne Festival; Don Alfonso at the Dallas Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and at the Salzburg Easter and Summer Festivals; Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen) at the San Francisco Opera and Beckmesser, Don Alfonso and Music Master at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Opera appearances in 2017 include Music Master (Ariadne auf Naxos) at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Roc in The Exterminating Angel (Thomas Adés) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Equally renowned on the concert platform, he appears in recital in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe, in Australia and America, and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. The greatest part of his repertoire has been extensively recorded with such distinguished names as Solti, Levine, Marriner, Haitink, Rattle, Sawallisch and Muti.

He made a triumphant directing debut in 2003 with Albert Herring at the Royal College of Music and went on to direct critically acclaimed productions of Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte for Samling Opera at The Sage, Gateshead.

He made an equally acclaimed U.S. directing debut with Le nozze di Figaro for Arizona Opera in 2006 and has since returned to direct Cosi at the Boston Lyric Opera and Don Pasquale at the Chicago Lyric Opera. He is a regular guest at Scottish Opera where his productions include The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and, most recently Don Giovanni.

He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper, an honorary doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Professor of the Royal College of Music, the Hambro Visiting Professorship of Opera Studies at Oxford University, Fellowship of the Royal College of Music, Fellowship of the University of Sunderland, M.A. from Newcastle University and a Doctorate of Music from Durham University and the University of Birmingham. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the
Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.

Thomas Allen’s first book, ‘Foreign Parts – A Singer’s Journal’ was published in 1993. His film credits include ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’ and ‘The Real Don Giovanni’.

Version 2Soprano – Helen Bailey

Middlesbrough-born Helen Bailey is a graduate of The Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, and Liverpool John Moores University. At RAM, she studied on both the postgraduate opera course and Vocal Studies Masters course under the tutelage of Elizabeth Ritchie. Her studies were generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust, The Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust, a Coutts bursary, and a D’Oyly Carte scholarship.
Helen appears regularly with several choral societies across the country including Bromley Oecumenical singers, Ember Choral Society, Sutton Valence Choral Society, Botley Choral Society, and The Seventy Singers.
In addition to her concert engagements, Helen performs regularly in staged opera productions. Operatic roles include Véronique (Le Docteur Miracle, Pop-Up Opera), Pamina (The Magic Flute, Ryedale Festival Opera), Elisetta (The Secret Marriage, British Youth Opera), Rosina (La Vera Costanza, Royal Academy Opera, conducted by Trevor Pinnock CBE), and the title role of Susannah (Hamstead Garden Opera). During 2015, Helen will make her debut with Operaview and Buxton Festival Opera.
Please see for more information about Helen’s upcoming performances.
21860239105_b983d1e40b_zAlto – Fiona Mackay
Mezzo-soprano Fiona Mackay studied music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and is a graduate of Royal Academy Opera, where she studied with Elizabeth Ritchie and Audrey Hyland.
During her studies at the Royal Academy, Fiona was generously supported by the Sickle Foundation, and was also a Bach Cantata Kohn scholar and a member of the Academy’s prestigious Song Circle.Fiona recently made her principal debut with Opera Holland Park as Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw. Other recent highlights include singing the roles of Maman and La Libellule in a concert performance of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Stephane Denève and the BBC symphony orchestra, Rosina in Haydn’s La Vera Costanza conducted byTrevor Pinnock and Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin conducted by Jane Glover. She also performed the alto solos in Bach’s Magnificat at St John Smith Square and in the St John Passion at St Martin-in-the-fields.Other operatic roles include Second and Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Popova in Walton’s the Bear, Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, Maurya in Riders to the Sea, conducted by Peter Robinson, Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and Lady Bertram in the London première production of Dove’s Mansfield Park.Fiona’s solo concert work has included performances at the Spitalfields, Dartington, York and Bath Music Festivals, on BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, and with the City of London Sinfonia, Thames Chamber Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra. Her oratorio repertoire includes Elgar Sea Pictures, Verdi Requiem and Handel Messiah.Upcoming performances include Durufle Requiem in King’s College Chapel, and the role of La Badessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica for Opera Holland Park.

Tenor -David Lynn

David Lynn hails from Ballina, Co. Mayo in the West of Ireland, and has studied at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, privately with Robert Dean, and at the Alexander Gibson Opera School, Glasgow. He was a Northern Ireland Opera Young Artist 2015/16 and has sung with Wide Open Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera Theatre Company and Opera North. Core roles include Ferrando Cosi Fan Tutte, Fenton Falstaff Flute A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Quint The Turn of the Screw, Alfredo La Traviata and Pang Turandot. While in the Alexander Gibson Opera School, David has specialised in niche high tenor repertoire, and is exploring modern music alongside Rossini and bel canto repertoire. He has most recently been an Alvarez Young Artist with Garsington Opera, appearing in Capriccio, Falstaff and Magic Flute, covering the role of Fenton Falstaff and singing 3rd Diener Capriccio. His 18/19 season includes roles with Wexford Festival Opera, singing L’Indovino L’Oracolo, English Touring Opera, singing Malcolm Macbeth and covering Leicester Elisabetta Regina d’Ghilterra and Scottish Opera, singing Young Sailor and covering Dr Richardson in the European Premiere of Breaking the Waves. When away from singing, David is obsessed with all things Mayo GAA (Gaelic Football), fitness and can often be found boring people about the various podcasts he listens to.

Soprano – Jennifer Shell

Jennifer started singing at the age of eight in her native North of England (The Wirral). She studied singing with Doris Parkinson, and went on to win many major music festivals there including Llangollen, Blackpool and Lytham St Annes, and broadcasting regularly on national and local radio as a soloist and with the Wirral Grammar School Choir. With the mentorship of Sir Charles Groves she entered the Royal College of Music where she studied for four years with Redvers Llewllyn. Since leaving the RCM she has a had a very, very long and varied professional solo and choral career, ranging from co-starring in a Victorian musical melodrama with the late John Pertwee, to session work with Sir Elton John and the late Peter Skellern (amongst others), appearing on Top of the Pops, in films and adverts and singing for over 10 years with the BBC Singers (including First and Last Nights of the Proms, and many in between!). Jennifer has sung extensively in recitals and oratorio both in this country and abroad. She is married to tonight’s conductor. Although now retired from her full-time career, she still dedicates much time to music, especially performing in and organising concerts, particularly the Voices for Hospices Choir global event which takes place every two years on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. As well as highlighting the work that hospices do, these performances also raise many thousands of pounds for hospices. It is the singer’s way of giving something back to society for the pleasure that music has given them!The next Voices for Hospices Choir concert will be in Winchester Cathedral on 12th October 2019. The VfHChoir will be supporting seven Hampshire Hospices on this occasion, including the newly to be opened Winchester Hospice. It is a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, with Sir Thomas Allen in the title role. Jennifer is particularly excited about this concert, as she last sang the Widow Duet with Tom in 1979!