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Photo: Peter Mould

Helen May

Voice Type:

Soprano

Nationality:

British

Country:

United Kingdom

Languages (fluent):

English

Opera

Aurora (cover)
Aurora (Noah Mosley)
Grimeborn Opera Festival
2019
Nerone (reprise)
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)
Ensemble OrQuesta - Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone
2019
Alcina
Alcina (Handel)
Ensemble OrQuesta
2019
Diane
Hippolyte et Aricie (Rameau)
Grimeborn Opera Festival
2019
Woodpecker
Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček)
Royal Academy Opera
2019
Pamina
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
Ensemble OrQuesta / Hastings Philharmonic
2019
Galatea
Acis & Galatea (Handel)
Ensemble OrQuesta
2018
Calisto
La Calisto (Cavalli)
Woodhouse Opera & Ensemble OrQuesta
2017
Valletto
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)
Hampstead Garden Opera
2017
Diane
Hippolyte et Aricie (Rameau)
Woodhouse Opera
2017
Nerone
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)
Woodhouse Opera & Ensemble OrQuesta
2017
La Gloire, Melisse, La Bergere (reprise)
Armide (J.B. Lully)
Grimeborn Opera Festival - Arcola Theatre
2017
Giannetta
L'elisir d'amore (Donizetti)
Woodhouse Opera Festival
2017
Calisto
La Calisto (Cavalli)
Barefoot Opera
2016
La Gloire, Melisse, La Bergere
Armide (J.B. Lully)
Woodhouse Opera
2016
Barbarina
Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart)
Ensemble OrQuesta
2016
Morgana
Alcina (Handel)
The New London Opera Players
2015
1st Lady
The Magic Flute (Mozart)
Secret Opera
2015

Operetta/G&S

Edith
Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Opera Anywhere
2018
Yum-Yum
The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Opera Anywhere
2018
Peep Bo
The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Opera Anywhere
2017

Contemporary Opera

Aurora (cover)
Aurora (Noah Mosley)
Bury Court Opera
2019
Nimue
Merlin (Keith Beal)
Hastings Philharmonic
2018
Aisha (Cleo Cover)
Lizzie Strata's Sex Strike (R. Simmonds & D. Willcock)
Stanton St John Opera
2016
Ruth
The Three Wayfarers (John Whittaker)
Opera Anywhere
2015

Chorus

1st Soprano
The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Opera Anywhere
2017
1st Soprano
H.M.S. Pinafore (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Opera Anywhere
2017
1st Soprano
The Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Opera Anywhere
2017
1st Soprano, semi chorus
Don Giovanni (Mozart)
Hampstead Garden Opera
2015
1st Soprano, semi chorus
L'elisir d'amore (Donizetti)
Barefoot Opera - Young Artists' Tour
2015
Soprano
Manon (Massenet)
Opera Coast
2015

Oratorio/Concerts

Soprano Soloist
Petite Messe Solennelle (Rossini)
Hastings Philharmonic Choir
2019
Soprano Soloist
Two Psalms (Gustav Holst)
Hastings Philharmonic
2017
Soprano Soloist
Dixit Dominus (Handel)
Epiphoni Consort, St Martin in the Fields
2017
Soprano Soloist
Mass in G (Franz Schubert)
Hastings Philharmonic
2017
Soprano Soloist
A Ceremony of Carols (Britten)
Churchill Music Festival, Epiphoni Consort
2016
Soprano Soloist
Opera in the Woods/Museum/Library (Varied)
Opera Anywhere Recital Series
2015
Soprano, semi chorus
'Mankind' Play (Incidental Music) (Various)
The Ephiphoni Consort
2015
Soprano Soloist
NHS Artlink Programme - Solo Recital (& Radio) (Various)
Churchill Hopsital, Oxford
2013
Soprano Soloist
Messiah (Handel)
Haslemere Chorus & Orchestra
2012
Soprano Soloist
Coronation Mass in C (Mozart)
Cardiff University Chamber Choir & Orchestra
2012
Soprano Soloist
Requiem (Fauré)
Cardiff University Chamber Choir & Orchestra
2012

Choral

Soprano Soloist
Serenade to Music (Ralph Vaughan-Williams)
Epiphoni Consort & Quire Voices of Santa Barbara
2016
Soprano Soloist
Bayeux (Orlando Gough)
Root 1066 Choral Festival 'Clash'
2016
Soprano Soloist
The Ecstasies Above (Tarik O'Regan)
Tribal Chamber Choir, RTE ConTempo Quartet
2016
Soprano Semi-Chorus
Hymn to the Virgin (Britten)
Tribal Chamber Choir
2016
Soprano 6
Spem in Alium (Tallis)
Brandenburg Choral Fest. St Martin in the Fields
2016
1st Soprano, semi chorus
Elijah (Mendelsohn)
The Bach Choir, London
2015
1st Soprano, semi chorus
Belshazzar's Feast (Walton)
The Bach Choir, London
2015
Soprano Soloist
Trois Chansons: 'Quant J'ai Ouy Le Tamborin' (Debussy)
The Cantus Ensemble
2014
Soprano Soloist
8 Chansons Francaises: 'Margoton Va Ta L'lau' (Poulenc)
The Cantus Ensemble
2014
Soprano 4
Spem in Alium (Tallis)
The Tallis Scholars
2012

Film/TV

Soprano Vocalist
APEX - Independant Film Trailer (James Thomas - META)
Numinous Pictures
2018

Discography

Soprano Soloist
'Suddenly Clouds of Snow' - CD Recording (R.Simmonds)
Musica Viva, Oxford
2017
1st Soprano
'Sudden Light' - CD Recording (David Bednall)
Epiphoni Consort
2016
1st Soprano
'Footprints' - CD Recording (Will Todd)
Wellensian Consort
2014

Covered Covered & Performed Scenes Premiere of New Work Concert

Independent 'Numinous Pictures' Film Trailer - Soundtrack. Composer James Thomas, Jan 2018.

'Mon père, il n'est pas.' - Poulenc, Dialogues de Carmélites'

Acis & Galatea

Grimeborn Opera Festival

Hampstead Garden Opera

La Calisto

L'incoronazione di Poppea

The Cockpit Theatre

Geraint Evans Recital Prize for Outstanding Vocal Performance - Cardiff University (2011)

David Lloyd Vocal Scholarship - Cardiff University (2009)

Special Provisions Music Place - Wells Cathedral School (2007)

Dikon Peschek Memorial Scholar - Wantage Parish Church (2006)

​'May's.... terrifically bolshy, punky, cocksure performance as Valletto... an amusing caricature of a roosterish teenage boy.' The Idle Woman, The Idle Woman Blog, 16/05/17 (2017)

'...Helen May was very effective in the small role of Mélisse in Act 4.' Owen Davies, Plays To See, 11/08/2017 (2017)

'….there was some impressive singing, notably from Helen May (Diane) ….. demonstrating excellent fluidity in (her) ornaments, and .. having the rare ability to sing a proper trill…' Andrew Benson-Wilson, Early Music Reviews, 10/07/17 (2017)

'May, whose passionate acting leading up to the seduction scene with Damigella (Conner) is more than credible and convincing.. the almost acrobatic dance sequences among the lovers, employed throughout the opera, is also especially captivating.' Dr Enza de Francisci, Plays To See, 02/06/17 (2017)

'Other singers that I liked from this cast were Ashley Adams, Phénice, Helen May, La Glorie/Mélisse, John Holland-Avery, Ubalde, and Matthew Morgan stepping aside from conducting to sing the role of Un Amant from on high.' Andrew Benson-Wilson, Early Music Reviews, 15/08/2017 (2017)

'Soprano Helen May filled the building with richly glowing tone, the top of the voice thrilling as it floated above the choir.' Dr Brian Hick, Lark Reviews, 05/11/2017 (2017)

'The audience will be able to welcome back the beautiful soprano voice of Helen May to sing with the choir..' Christopher Cormak, Rye News, 26/10/2017 (2017)

Master of Art (Voice)
Royal Academy of Music
2018–2020
Vocal LRSM
ABRSM
2014
Vocal Dip ABRSM
ABRSM
2013
BMus (Hons)
Cardiff University
2009–2012
Special Provisions Music Place
Wells Cathedral School
2007–2009

Helen is a London-based lyric soprano recognised for the 'mellifluous', 'alluring', and 'affecting' quality of her vocal tone, her 'arresting stage presence', and the conviction and intensity of her dramatic characterisation. She has extensive experience in contemporary music projects, having been privileged to create the role of Nimue in the world premiere of Keith Beal's opera Merlin, with Hastings Philharmonic; to perform as soloist in the world premiere of Orlando Gough's Bayeux, which was commissioned for the 950th celebration of 1066; to create the role of Ruth in the world premiere of John Whittaker's chamber opera The Three Wayfarers, (Opera Anywhere); to provide solo vocals for the multi-awarding winning short science-fiction film APEX, produced by Numinous Pictures; to create the role of Aisha in the world premiere of Roger Simmonds' Lizzie Strata (Oxfordshire Contemporary Opera); and to cover the role of Aurora in the world premiere of Noah Mosley's opera Aurora, for Bury Court Opera.

Forthcoming performances include the role of Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) in Royal Academy Opera Scenes in November. Helen has a number of exciting projects booked into her diary for 2020, which she looks forward to announcing in due course.
​​​
Recent concert performances include: Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle with the Hastings Philharmonic Choir; joining the Lambeth Orchestra and the Dunraven Chamber Choir, taking the roles of the Dew Fairy and Sandman, for a concert performance of Hansel and Gretel; and joining chosen Royal Academy of Music soloists in a recital under the auspices of the 'Transcending Borders' concert series at the Italian Cultural Institute, performing Schoenberg's Vier Lieder, Opus 2 (audio here).
​​
Helen has performed operatic roles across a range of periods and genres, including: Alcina (Alcina, Ensemble OrQuesta); Diane (Hippolyte et Aricie, Grimeborn Opera Festival); Woodpecker (The Cunning Little Vixen, Royal Academy Opera); Pamina (Die Zauberflöte, Hastings Philharmonic with Ensemble OrQuesta); Amastre (Xerse, Ensemble OrQuesta, Grimeborn Opera Festival); Despina (Cosi fan tutte, Woodhouse Opera Festival); Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea, Ensemble OrQuesta, Cockpit Theatre); Morgana (Alcina, Secret Opera); Galatea (Acis and Galatea, Ensemble Orquesta); Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore, Woodhouse Opera Festival); Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro, Ensemble OrQuesta); Valletto (L'incoronazione di Poppea, Hampstead Garden Opera); Calisto (La Calisto, Barefoot Opera and Ensemble OrQuesta); Diane (Hippolyte et Aricie, Woodhouse Opera with Ensemble OrQuesta); First Lady (The Magic Flute, London Opera Players); and Yum Yum (The Mikado, Opera Anywhere).

​As an oratorio soloist, Helen has performed for: Poulenc's Gloria (Grange Choral Society); Schubert’s Mass in G, and Holst’s Two Psalms (Hastings Philharmonic); Haydn's 'Nelson Mass' (Cardiff University Symphony Chorus and Chamber Orchestra); Mozart's Requiem in D minor and Poulenc's Stabat Mater (St. John's, Hyde Park); Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music and Handel's Dixit Dominus (Epiphoni Consort); Handel’s Messiah (Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus); and Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C major and Fauré’s Requiem (Cardiff University Chamber Choir); and has performed with a number of renowned chamber ensembles for competitions, BBC broadcasts, CD recordings, and concerts in the UK and abroad (see Diary Archives).

From September 2019 Helen commences her second year of study for a Master of Arts in Performance at the Royal Academy of Music, with Nuccia Focile. She is one of just three sopranos selected this year to join the Academy's prestigious Preparatory Opera Course. Helen also benefits from private teaching with the Brazilian baritone, Marcio da Silva, and has been privileged to participate in masterclasses given by distinguished opera singers such as Isobel Buchanan and Toby Spence. She is immensely grateful for the generous ongoing support of the William Gibbs Educational Trust. Helen's undergraduate studies in music took place at Cardiff University, where she held the David Lloyd Vocal Scholarship, was awarded the Geraint Evans Prize for outstanding recital performance, and performed regularly as a soloist with the Cardiff University Chamber Choir.

Contact Helen May

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