For this production of Pygmalion, Ensemble Molière will be joined by three fantastic singers, two guest instrumentalists, an inspirational young director and a very talented animation artist. Phew! Below is a full list of names, roles and biographies for your delectation!
But first, a quick recap of the story behind Rameau’s Pygmalion. The plot is based on the myth of Pygmalion as told first in Ovid's Metamorphoses. In Rameau’s version, the sculptor Pygmalion creates the most beautiful statue, to which he immediately declares his love. His girlfriend, Céphise, begs Pygmalion to love her instead. Alas, Pygmalion spurns her and entreats the goddess Venus to bring his statue to life, I’m sure that will solve everything... But magically the statue comes to life; she sings, she dances, she’s the whole French baroque package. Cupid arrives to congratulate Pygmalion for his artistry and belief in his talent. Of course there is much celebratory dancing and singing to follow, attesting to the overwhelming power of love. Cupid helpfully finds another lover for Céphise, all sorted, this is after all opera! Pygmalion, the original ‘My Fair Lady’. Ensemble Molière have moved the story to the streets of Paris, so you will have to watch and wait for our story to unfold.
Josh Cooter, Tenor, Pygmalion
The big one, Pygmalion himself! Ensemble Molière are really excited to welcome Josh into our ranks. Josh began his musical studies as a chorister at Chichester Cathedral before accepting a music scholarship to Eton College. Having finished his degree at King’s College London last summer, where he sang in the chapel choir under the late David Trendell, he began work as a freelance singer and now pursues a busy ensemble career, enjoying singing for some of the UK’s most prestigious consorts such as The Sixteen, Tenebrae and Britten Sinfonia Voices as well as other upcoming groups such as Gesualdo 6 and The Fieri Consort.
Recent soloist highlights include singing the role of Evangelist in Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’, Jupiter in Handel’s ‘Semele’ and solos in Schutz’s ‘Christmas Story’ and Handel’s ‘Israel in Egypt’.
Roberta Diamond, Soprano, Céphise
Robbie is no stranger to Ensemble Molière and has appeared in numerous concerts with us, singing everything from Clérambault, De La Guerre to Handel. Robbie specialises in the performance of renaissance and baroque music and especially enjoys singing French music of the 18th century and Italian music of the 17th century. In 2016 Roberta completed her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where she was fortunate to collaborate with a number of ensembles including Dame Emma Kirkby's Dowland Works, Ensemble Moliere and Lux Musicae London. Recent appearances include performances at Urbino Musica Antica (Italy), Oude Muziek Utrecht (The Netherlands), the Brighton Early Music Festival (UK) and the Mornington Peninsula Summer Music Festival (Australia). Robbie will sing the role of Amore in the Pinchgut Opera production of Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea in 2017.
Angela Hicks, Soprano, La Statue
We can’t wait to work with Angie for the first time, we have often admired her beautiful singing from afar and couldn’t wait to collaborate during Pygmalion! Born in Lancashire, England, Angie Hicks enjoys a busy career as both a soloist and choral singer. As a soloist, Angie is regularly invited to perform core oratorios with a variety of ensembles. She is also very active in chamber music, often performing cantatas and smaller works accompanied by period instruments. Angie enjoys exploring the rich renaissance repertory of lute songs, she duos regularly with lutenist Toby Carr, and works with Emma Kirkby as part of her project 'Dowland Works'. As a choral singer, Angie is a member of a number of leading UK ensembles including The Monteverdi Choir under John Eliot Gardner with whom she now sings regularly, both as a soloist and as part of the choir. She is also a member of Ex Cathedra, also working as a soloist and as part of the consort, and is a member of the choir of The Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London.
Karolina Sofulak, Director
We are excited to welcome Karolina on board, she is a fantastic director and will be making her directorial debut with Opera North later in the year, so we feel very privileged to have snuck into her schedule! Karolina graduated from the West European Languages and Cultures Department of the Warsaw University, majoring in comparative literature, and continued my education at the Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Cracow. She worked as an assistant and revival director for Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera in the productions of David Alden, Mariusz Treliński and Keith Warner, she has subsequently worked on assistant directed productions of Tilman Knabe and Caterina Panti Liberovici for the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte in Montepulciano. Recently Karolina has worked with Christopher Alden at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Charlie Edwards at Opera North, as well as Phyllida Lloyd at Opera North. In 2011 Karolina made her debut as a stage director with a critically acclaimed production of Traviata at the Baltic State Opera in Gdańsk. More recently work has included Peter Maxwell Davies’ Mr Emmet Takes a Walk at Teatr Wielki for Polish National Opera, directed as part of the European Network of Opera Academies project for Opera Europa, as well as “Breaking the Rules”, directed for the Brighton Early Music Festival. Future engagements include work for the Grange Park Opera, Chemnitz Opera and Opéra National de Bordeaux.
Kate Anderson, Animation, Illustration and Design
This is the first time Ensemble Molière has collaborated with a visual artist and we are really excited to see what Kate has imagined for Pygmalion! Kate graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002 with an MA in Animation and began her professional career in animation with the production company HSI London, where she worked on a diverse array of animated shorts, music videos and commercials.
Projects include: animated segments of guitarists Jack White and The Edge, created for Davis Guggenheim's acclaimed documentary 'It Might Get Loud'.... The music video for Liz Green's 'Displacement Song', which was awarded Best Music Video at the British Animation Awards 2012... In 2010 Bushmills Whiskey asked Kate to create a short film for their 'Since Way Back' campaign, featuring the band Chromeo.... And many more.
Kate's short films have screened at the BFI London and in festivals worldwide. She has been a jury member for The British Animation Awards and Czech Republic's Anifest; she has also participated in panel discussions at Birds Eye View and Underwire Festivals.
Now working independently, Kate continues to reach out to new creative horizons, current and recent collaborations being with psychologists, documentary film makers, artists working in moving image, and a music video highlighting the highs and lows of cannabis smoking for social enterprise Music And Change UK.
Oonagh Lee, Oboe and Voice Flute
Oonagh has been a friend to the ensemble for many years, we are delighted to finally work with her! Oonagh Lee is a historical oboist and recorder player. Born in Glasgow, Oonagh studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Daniel Bruggen and the Koninklijke Conservatorium in The Hague with Frank de Bruine. Now based in London, she is a founding member of recorder quintet Consortium5 and is a regular performer with many period orchestras and ensembles across the world, with recent performances in the UK, Holland, Poland, Singapore, South Korea and Australia. Recent engagements include concerts with the Academy of Ancient Music, The Hanover Band, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, The Dunedin Consort, The Orchestra of the Antipodes and the Australian Haydn Ensemble, performing in venues including The Barbican, The Royal Albert Hall BBC Proms and The Wigmore Hall. Oonagh has recently recorded for ensembles including The Dunedin Consort and The Australian Haydn Ensemble on Linn Records and ABC Classics, and her playing has been heard on numerous radio stations in Europe and beyond.
Ellen Bundy, Violin
Ellen is a brilliant violinist who we have had the pleasure of working with over the past few years, we are looking forward to having an extra string player to add to the treble takeover. Ellen started studying Historical Performance with Lucy Russell in 2013. Upon graduating from the Royal College of Music with an MMus with distinction, she was awarded the McKenna Prize for Historical Performance. She regularly works with orchestras across Europe, and has recently been announced as a 2017 participant for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Ann & Peter Law scheme for Talented Young Players. Ellen was a member of the 2015/16 European Union Baroque Orchestra and has also played with the Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Early Opera Company, Collegium Musicum 90, Florilegium, St. James’ Baroque and Gabrieli Consort & Players, as well as Concerto de Bassus and Die Kölner Akademie in Germany. Upcoming performances include the opening of the 2017 London Festival of Baroque Music with Rowan Pierce and Medici, a tour to South America with Die Kölner Akademie, and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall with OAE.
Not forgetting the rest of the team, click on the links to our biographies!
Alice Earll, Violin
Flavia Hirte, Flute
Kate Conway, Viola da Gamba
Jakab Kaufmann, Bassoon,
And last but not least, administrator extraordinaire, keyboard aficionado, music arranger and team leader…
Satoko Doi-Luck, Harpsichord
Over the following weeks we will be keeping you updated with question and answer blogs with Karolina and Kate, dropping in on progress with Satoko and chatting with our illustrious cast of singers. Stay tuned!