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Current Tour Dates

2018

The Barber of Seville

Set in period Seville, with outrageous 18th century costumes that compliment the fizz and flare of Rossini’s musical genius, this production is perfect both for the established operagoer, and those seeking to engage with opera for the first time.

Current Tour Dates

A young Spanish nobleman, Count Almaviva, is in love with the beautiful and rich Rosina, ward of the lecherous Doctor Bartolo, who plans his own marriage to her. Along comes the meddling Figaro, the town barber, and suddenly we have all the ingredients for confusion and mayhem.
From Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, The Barber of Seville makes for a rollicking evening’s entertainment, don’t miss this ultimate feel-good opera that is always cheerful and fun.

Cast & Biographies

Click on our cast members to find out more

  • Figaro - Håkan Vramsmo

    Håkan Vramsmo

    Figaro

    Håkan has appeared at major venues and festivals including the BBC Proms’ opening night, Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Stuttgart Liederhalle, Sibeliusacademin, Aldeburgh, Bath, and Cheltenham with such pianists as Iain Burnside, Julius Drake, Bengt Forsberg, Graham Johnson, Roger Vignoles, Llyr Williams and Andrew West. He has also appeared with the Hebridies Ensemble, Carducci Quartett, Gabrieli Consort, Sharoun Ensembles, BBC Symphony, Jerusalem, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth, English Chamber, Wroclaw, Zagreb, Barcelona, Gothenburg, and Malmö Symphony Orchestras conducted by Martyn Brabbins, Paul McCreech, Leonard Slatkin, Sir David Willcocks and Leon Botstein. He has frequently recorded for BBC, Private Joe by Panufnik for Polish radio, B-minor Mass on Signum Records and Elisabeth Maconchy’s opera The Departure for Chandos Records. His has sang 25 operatic roles and he created Axel in Meredith’s Tarantula in Petrol Blue, Carl in Colerige-Taylor’s Thelma and Pascoe in Huw Watkins’ In the Locked Room. Håkan teaches singing at Citylit Institute in London and is invited to Masterclasses at the Koninklijk Conservatoire Brussel.

  • Rosina - Annabella Ellis

    Annabella Ellis

    Rosina

    Annabella Ellis was born in Norwich, Norfolk, and is a graduate of Guildhall School of Music, Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Conservatoire Scotland ‘opera school’. At RCS Annabella performed Orlovsky (Die Fledermaus), Fiordiligi (Cosí fan Tutte), Mrs Coyle (Owen Wingrave), Tonina (Prima la music e poi le parole), covered La Mere/alto 5 (Le Vin Herbé) and Le Loup (Les malheurs d’Orphée). Additional opera roles include Mercédès/Carmen cover (Carmen), Sirene/Armida cover (Rinaldo) Longborough Festival Opera, Una Cercatrice (Suor Angelica) Dorset Opera, Drusilla/Amor (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Belinda/Second Witch/Sailor (Dido and Aeneas).

    In recital Annabella has sung Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben, Schumann’s Kerner Lieder, Falla’s Sietes Canciones Populares Españolas, Britten’s Les Illuminations, Dvořák Gypsy Melodies, Duarte’s Five Quiet Songs, Wolf-Ferrari’s Quattro Rispetti and Rossini’s Serate Musicali. Annabella has also taken part in concerts at the Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke’s and participated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sighisoara Music Festival and Wymondham Music Festival. In the oratorio repertoire Annabella has performed alto solo both in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Bach’s B Minor Mass. Competitions include Maureen Lehane Finalist Wigmore Hall, Isabella Jay Aria (Third prize) and English Song (Second prize) RAM, winner of Norfolk Young Musician.

    Future engagements include Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with Regents Opera/Opera à la Carte, alto solo in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, recitals in Canterbury and London.

  • Rosina - Jessica Robinson

    Jessica Robinson

    Rosina

    Welsh Soprano Jessica Robinson recently graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama gaining a distinction in MA Opera Performance During her time at the RWCMD, Jessica also gained a first class honours undergraduate degree along with the Aneurin Davies memorial award, The Mansel Thomas prize, The Margaret Tann Award and the Elias Soprano award.
    Jessica appears in concerts all over the UK and Internationally in New York, China and Italy. Concert highlights include performing with the CBSO in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Serenade to Music’ for Radio 3, performing the soprano solos of Handel’s Messiah at the Wales
    Millennium Centre and most recently as a Soloist at the Royal Albert Hall for the 1000 Male Voice choir Gala. Operatic engagements include Countess Marriage of Figaro, Lady Billows Albert Herring and Fox Cunning little Vixen (RWCMD) , Nora Riders to the Sea (Bute Park Opera) Worker/Semi Chorus Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera/S4C) and Heavenly Voice (Grange Park Opera). Jessica is the 2016 Prince of Wales Scholar and is generously supported by the Worshipful Musicians’ Company Award, The Pantyfedwen Trust and The Arts Council of Wales.

     

  • Count Almaviva - William Wallace

    William Wallace

    Count Almaviva

    William is currently covering Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosí fan Tutte for Glyndebourne Tour. In Feburary 2018, William will be touring as Almaviva in Rossini’s Barber of Seville for Swansea City Opera and in March Grimoaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda with Cambridge Handel Opera. William will also be making his debut at the Wigmore Hall performing Ahasuerus & Mordecai in Handel’s oratorio Esther for the London Handel Festival.
    ​​This year William covered Arbante for Glyndebourne’s production of Hipermestra, performed Tamino in the Magic Flute with MidWales Opera, The Sailor and The Sprirt in Les Arts Florrisant’s production of Dido and Aeneas, and the title role in Thomas Arne’s Alfred for The Northern Opera group.
    ​During 2016 William performed Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for Winslow Hall Opera and for Opera Project in Bristol. At the Rye Festival in September 2016 he performed Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. He sang the Schoolmaster in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen with British Youth Opera, for which he received the 2015 Dame Hilda Bracket Award from the Sadler’s Wells Trust.

    William’s extensive oratorio and concert repertory includes Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, Handel’s Messiah, Theodora, Judas Maccabeus, Acis and Galatea, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Harmoniemesse, Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noel and Bach’s Cantatas, Magnificat and Passions (as the Evangelist and tenor soloist). He has sung Handel arias on BBC Radio3’s In Tune and as soloist in Messiah at St George’s Hanover Square for the London Handel Society.

  • Count Almaviva - Aidan Coburn

    Aidan Coburn

    Count Almaviva

    The British born tenor Aidan Coburn received a BA Hons in Music from Cambridge and recently completed the Post Graduate Vocal Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD) where he was sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Dyers.

    Aidan’s operatic experience includes Les Mamelles de Tiresias (Poulenc) with the Cambridge University Opera Society. He has also performed La Navarraise (Massenet) and Le Portrait de Manon (Massenet). In scenes at the GSMD he sang Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Brighella Ariadne auf Naxos, Herr Vogelsang Der Schauspieldirektor and Don Ramiro La Cenerentola. Most recently he appeared in the GSMD production of The Adventures of Pinocchio (Dove) in which he covered the Bricklayer.

    Having sung in the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus in 2014 he returned to Glyndebourne in 2015 to cover the role of Pedrillo Die Entführung aus dem Serail and to sing the role of Lady Macbeth in the new all male opera Macbeth composed by Luke Styles, Glyndebourne’s composer in residence. He recently performed with Glyndebourne on Tour and is currently performing with English Touring Opera. Forthcoming engagements include Spiridone in Donizetti’s Il Campanello for Wexford Festival Opera.

    April 2016

  • Don Bartolo & Production Director - Brendan Wheatley

    Brendan Wheatley

    Don Bartolo & Production Director

    Brendan Wheatley was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded a three-year scholarship on the performers course. Another scholarship awarded to him at the end of this course enabled him to attend the Opera Course for a further year but this was cut short when he auditioned for Glyndebourne Festival Opera and was immediately offered a contract.
    Brendan sang for three seasons with Glyndebourne, making his debut as The Keeper of the Madhouse in the internationally acclaimed production of Stravinsky’s The Rakes Progress, designed by David Hockney. After leaving Glyndebourne, Brendan pursued his career as a freelance singer working with many companies both in Britain and abroad, and has now sung many major roles – from Don Giovanni to The Flying Dutchman – he also created the role of Figaro in the world premiere of Giles Swayne’s Le Nozze di Cherubino. His concert and oratorio work has taken him to such prestigious places as The South Bank, Royal Albert Hall, Huddersfield Town Hall and many cathedrals and churches throughout Britain. In 1989 he founded the touring company Opera Box with his partner Bridgett Gill and in 2004 the company received funding from the City and County of Swansea, and became Swansea City Opera. Over the years Brendan has directed and designed many operas for the company.

     

  • Don Basilio - Paul Hudson

    Paul Hudson

    Don Basilio

    Paul studied at the Royal College of Music and the London Opera Centre. He has made over 600 appearances in principal roles with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

    Other roles of particular note in the UK include: Philip (Don Carlos) and Raleigh (Gloriana) with ENO; Colline (Boheme), Athlete (Lulu) and Bottom (Midsummer Night’s Dream) with WNO; Figaro (Marriage of Figaro) and Daland (Flying Dutchman) with Opera North.

    International engagements include performances in Dallas; in San Francisco as Colline (Boheme), Bailiff (Werther) and Dansker (Billy Budd)); in San Diego as Swallow (Peter Grimes); in Pittsburgh as Sparafucile (Rigoletto); in South Africa as Fiesco (Simone Boccanegra) and Don Basilio (Barber of Seville); in Australia as Mephisto (Faust) and Figaro (Marriage of Figaro); in Buenos Aires, Chile as The King (Aida); in Japan, Spain and France.

    Paul has a number of DVDs on release including ‘Lucrezia Borgia’, ‘Fanciulla del West’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’, ‘Ruddigore’ and Bach ‘Magnificat’. His CD recordings include works with Solti, Bernstein, Boulez and Levine.

    Previous roles with Swansea City Opera include: Sarastro (Magic Flute), Basilio (Barber of Seville), Nourabad (Pearl Fishers) and the title role of Don Pasquale.

  • Berta - Imogen Garner

    Imogen Garner

    Berta

    Mezzo soprano Imogen Garner is increasingly in demand as an operatic and concert performer. Most recently she covered Paulina in The Winter’s Tale at English National Opera. In 2016 she covered Lulu’s mother in Berg’s Lulu and sang the role of the Mother in a workshop performance of Nico Muhly’s Marnie at ENO. In previous years Imogen has covered 2 roles in Martinu’s Julietta and has sung excerpts of the lead role in a new Opera written by James Ellis and Louis de Bernieres at the Hay Festival on behalf of ENO. She joined the Extra Chorus of ENO in The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Mastersingers of Nuremburg.

    Imogen will shortly be returning to the Buxton Festival for her fourth year to cover Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring. She has previously covered Orfeo in Orfeo, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and Irene in Tamerlano. In 2015 she sang the roles of Elise, La Glaneuse and La Premiere in Charpentier’s Louise at the Festival and she has sung the mezzo soprano solos in the BBC Radio 4 Morning Service broadcasts for the past three years.

    Imogen has performed very regularly with Heritage Opera singing the following roles Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Giovanna in Rigoletto, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Annina in La Traviata and Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro.

    In 2014 Imogen toured with Swansea City Opera and Young Opera Venture singing Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro. She returned to Scottish Opera to join the Chorus in a concert performance of Turandot. She has previously performed Madama Butterfly and Lucia di Lammermoor with SO. Imogen sang Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana for Opera Seria at the RNCM and in 2013 she played Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw for Steel Opera and Martha in The Flying Dutchman for Focus Opera.

    Imogen sings regularly with Choral Societies all over the UK and has performed alongside the Manchester Camerata. She is an accomplished recitalist and has performed widely in the North including at the Bridgewater Hall. A graduate of Economics from Sheffield University, Imogen studied as a postgraduate at the RNCM.

  • Fiorello - Mark Saberton

    Mark Saberton

    Fiorello

    Mark studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and comes from Suffolk. He has sung with many opera companies including Royal Opera, English National Opera, Opera North, Raymond Gubbay, Scottish Opera, Garsington Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, Opera Holland Park, Mid Wales Opera and Savoy
    Opera Roles include Mephistopheles (Faust) and Schaunard (La boheme) for Swansea City Opera; Bottom Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Longborough Festival Opera; Antonio (Marriage of Figaro) for Garsington Opera at the Barbican conducted by Jane Glover; Narumov (Queen of Spades) for Opera Holland Park; Krusina (Bartered Bride) for Mid Wales Opera, and the Hotel Waiter/Boatman (Death in Venice) for the Aldeburgh and Bregenz Festivals under Paul Daniel. He has recorded the role of Ben Budge (Beggars Opera) with the City of London Sinfonia and Royal Opera conducted by Christian Curnyn. He has recently been working with English National Opera on the role of Zurga in The Pearlfishers by Bizet.

     

  • Tenor chorus - Richard Hansen

    Richard Hansen

    Tenor chorus

    New Zealand born Tenor Richard Hansen has completed a Master of Music and Postgraduate Diploma in Solo Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music with Thomas Schulze.

    Richard’s Operatic roles have included Don Basilio and Don Curzio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte), Ruiz (il Trovatore), Gaston (La Traviata) Iro (il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria), Tamino (The Magic Flute) Nemorino (l’Elisir d’Amore) Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville) Nanki Poo (The Mikado), il Judice (Un Ballo in Maschera), Frederick (The Pirates of Penzance), Mr Upfold (Albert Herring), Box (Cox and Box), Camille (The Merry Widow) and Remendado (Carmen). He has also appeared with the chorus of Opera Holland Park, Opera Rara, Scottish Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Australia, and the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.

    Most recently, Richard covered Parpignol in Scottish Opera’s La Boheme and appeared in the chorus of their revival of Sir David McVicar’s La Traviata,. Upcoming engagements include Monostatos in Opera Anywhere’s Magic Flute and an appearance in Scottish Opera’s Eugene Onegin.

  • Tenor Chorus - David Fortey

    David Fortey

    Tenor Chorus

     

    David is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he gained a Bmus (Hons) Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma. Whilst at the college David was awarded the Manning Prize for Tenors and the Sir Geraint Evans Vocal Scholarship. Operatic roles at RWCMD include ‘Albert’ in Britten’s Albert Herring, ‘Tamino’ in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, ‘Tom Rakewell’ in The Rakes progress, ’Jupiter’ in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and ‘Tobias’ in Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd for Welsh National Youth Opera. David began his professional career with Glyndebourne Festival Opera Chorus and Garsington Festival Opera.
    Since 2008, David has been a principle member of the classical Brit award-winning male ensemble Only Men Aloud. He has recorded extensively on television and radio and was privileged to be part of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games. Sought after as both a chorister and soloist internationally his versatility on the concert platform has given him the opportunity to work with some of the finest musical ensembles in some of the world’s most prestigious venues.

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  • Musical Director - John Beswick

    John Beswick

    Musical Director

    John has been Musical Director for Swansea City Opera since 2014 and he is also currently Principal Conductor of Redhill Sinfonia. John was organ scholar of Hertford College, Oxford before postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music (repetiteur) and The Royal College of Music (conducting).

    Since making his opera conducting debut at the Dartington International Summer School with Rigoletto, he has conducted for companies including Pimlico Opera (The Elixir of Love, The Barber of Seville and Cosi Fan Tutte), London City Opera (Carmen, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly) and Swansea City Opera (Lakme, La Boheme, Faust, Don Pasquale, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and The Daughter of the Regiment). He has also worked on the music staff for Icelandic National Opera and Grange Park Opera.

    In Music Theatre he has conducted many shows, including Les Miserables (West End), Miss Saigon (UK Tour), Avenue Q (West End) and Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey: Journey to the West (Monkeys’ World at the O2), and he has also played keyboards on a great many others including Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde and The Full Monty.