Co-founder, Soprano, Director
Born in Germany, Sophie was a founding member of the Stuttgart Youth Opera, where she sang between 1997 and 2001. It was here that she discovered her love of opera.
In 2002 Sophie accepted a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and went on to complete a Master of Music.
During her time at the college Sophie performed William Walton’s Façade for the composer’s widow, Lady Susanna Walton, in her home in Italy and appeared as a soloist with the BBC National Chorus of Wales. She has recorded Mansel Thomas’ Requiem for Radio 3, Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales and could also be heard on BBC Radio 4 in 2010 in a live broadcast of Songs of Worship. Sophie was the soloist in Keith Tippet’s Jazz band as well as performing as a backing vocalist for Rod Stewart at the Millennium Stadium.
Operatic roles include Antonia (Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman) , Senta (Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman), Michaela (Bizet’s Carmen), Dorabella (Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte), Cio Cio San (Puccini’s Madame Butterfly) and Alice Ford (Verdi’s Falstaff).
Co-founder, Soprano, Assistant Director
Jennifer displayed an exceptional talent for music at an early age. She graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with the highest possible ho- nours in July 2006, winning almost all of the college’s prizes for both performance and academia. She subsequently completed her Masters degree in performance at RWCMD, supported by a full scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and has won numerous prestigious prizes, including the Russel Sheppard Memorial Scholarship, Geraint Evans Scholarship and the Prize of the Province of Noord Brabant in the International Vocal Concours in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Holland).
Jennifer has made her solo debut at many of the UK’s leading concert venues and has recorded several solos for BBC Radio 3, including First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte , Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia and most recently A.M.D.G (Britten). Operatic credits include the title role in the World Premiere of Brian Irvine’s The Tailor’s Daughter for the Youth Company of Welsh National Opera, the title role in Cendrillon (Massanet) at RWCMD, Denise (Veronique – Messager) for Buxton Festival Opera, Cousin in Madama Butterfly (Puccini) for Grange Park Opera. For New London Opera Players / Secret Opera she performed both Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème and Violetta in La Traviata. Last year
saw her sing Gretel in their touring production of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Micaela (Carmen) for Opera Commedia, and complete a concert tour of the UK with Magical Mozart by Candlelight.
An advocate of new music, Jennifer recorded and performed a new cycle of songs written in memory of the tragedy at Aberfan by composer John McLeod. In addition to performance, she is also an experienced workshop leader and animateur. In a wide variety of singing, composition and multi-arts projects she has worked with people of all ages to increase awareness of opera and to encourage singing and musical knowledge.
Helen Woods is a composer, musical director and performer with particular expertise of working in educational and community contexts. She has composed 4 full length musicals, several song cycles and all the Tiddly Proms for the National Concert Hall of Wales. For Welsh National Opera, Helen was commissioned to compose A Real Princess an opera for 4 – 5 year olds with writer/director Sarah Argent. In 2013 Helen received an Arts Council Award to develop her compositional practice and explore themes around heritage and identity. Helen works regularly for WNO, Arts Active, Cardiff Arts in Education, Caerphilly County Borough, BBC NOW education department, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra education department and Youth Music. She is a published poet and a Javanese Gamelan tutor, a Cardiff Arts Mark accredited artist and member of the Musicians Union.