Covered Covered & Performed Scenes Premiere of New Work Concert
'Donde lieta usci' - Puccini, La Bohème (informal recording 2018)
Independent 'Numinous Pictures' Film Trailer - Soundtrack. Composer James Thomas, Jan 2018.
Onegin Final Scene Opening - Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin (informal recording 2019)
DipRAM for Outstanding Final Recital Performance – Royal Academy of Music, Master of Arts (2020)
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)
'As Calisto, Helen May excels. Despite the comic chaos that sometimes surrounds her, she keeps the tragic heart of the opera beating with admirable passion'. La Calisto, Cockpit Theatre, January/February 2020. Plays to See. ' (2020)
'This HPO concert was outstanding. ...all the pieces gave rise to virtuoso performances. Helen May’s Caro Nome (Verdi) (was) beautifully rendered. And Dvorak’s 'Song to the Moon'… was simply entrancing.' Patrick Glass, Hastings Independent Press, November 2020 (2020)
'Vocally, all eleven singers impressed, as they did in their acting ability. It would be invidious to pick out specific singers in what was clearly a collaborative enterprise, but Helen May as Calisto.... deserve(s) special mention for (her) singing and acting ability.' La Calisto, Cockpit Theatre, January/February 2020. Early Music Reviews. (2020)
'As Nerone and Poppea, Helen May and Kathleen Nic Dhiarmada are superb. It is a real triumph to conjure up a passionate affair out of 400 year old words and music... May nicely catches the difficult balance between autocratic emperor and lovestruck suitor and, in a role that would probably have originally been sung by a castrato, she makes a convincing male hero.. The famous final duet between the two of them is spell binding.' Nerone, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Ensemble Orquesta, Cockpit Theatre. Plays to See, February 2019. (2019)
Haydn Nelson Mass: ‘This piece is brimming with delicious chorus numbers and some true highlights for soprano soloist. Helen May does a supreme job with the soprano role.' Art scene in Wales, March 2019. (2019)
'Helen May... a mellifluous Diane..' Hippolyte et Aricie, Grimeborn Opera Festival, August 2019. Planet Hugill. (2019)
'Helen May’s finely sung Pamina seemed a far stronger character than the text sometimes gives her credit for, and her rendition of ‘Ach, ich fühl's’ was very effective and moving'. Mozart, Die Zauberflöte, Hastings Observer, June 2019. (2019)
'It’s difficult to pinpoint a standout performance as every person involved demonstrated a high level of vocal and acting skills. However, the scenes and duets between Poppea and Nerone must be mentioned for their intensity and passion, excellently delivered by Kathleen Nic Dhiarmada and Helen May'. Nerone, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Ensemble Orquesta, Cockpit Theatre. thespyinthestalls.com, January 2019. (2019)
'The soloists were superb... The Crucifixus and O Salutaris were sung by soprano Helen May beautifully and faultlessly...' Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle, Lark Reviews, July 2019. (2019)
'…the ever-impressive Helen May. May drew out the disguised princess’s anger, shame and angst to perfection. …She blazes out among the sober Persians…' Amastre, Xerse, Ensemble OrQuesta, Grimeborn Opera Festival, August 2018. The Idle Woman Blog, September 2018. (2018)
It's hard to single anyone out, but Helen May's Despina was outstanding... A name to watch.' Despina, Cosi fan tutte, Woodhouse Opera Festival. Surrey Gazette, September 2018. (2018)
'...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…' Diane, Hippolyte et Aricie, Woodhouse Opera/Ensemble OrQuesta. Early Music Reviews, July 2017. (2017)
'Helen May was superb as one of the Three Little Maids at the last Simonsbath Festival’s @Opera Anywhere's production of The Mikado'. @Simonsbath Festival Twitter, June 2017. (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.' Valletto, l’Incoronazione di Poppea, Hampstead Garden Opera, May 2017. Plays To See, June 2017. (2017)
'May's.... terrifically bolshy, punky, cocksure performance as Valletto... an amusing caricature of a roosterish teenage boy.' L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Hampstead Garden Opera, May 2017. The Idle Woman Blog, May 2017. (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)
Helen is a lyric soprano recognised for the 'alluring' quality of her vocal tone, her 'arresting stage presence', and the intensity and conviction of her dramatic characterisation -'... awesomely dramatic ... real vulnerability as well as astonishing power.'
Helen graduated from the prestigious Preparatory Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music in September 2020 with a Masters with Distinction, having been awarded a DipRAM for an outstanding final recital. She studied under the tutelage of Nuccia Focile and Iain Ledingham, and benefitted from the guidance of Philip Sunderland. Her studies were generously supported by the William Gibbs Educational Trust and the Josephine Baker Trust.
Forthcoming roles for autumn 2020 and early 2021 include: Amastre (Xerse, Cavalli, Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone); Medea (Teseo, Handel, John McIntosh Theatre, Fulham); Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart, St Mary in the Castle, Hastings); Alcina (Alcina, Handel, Arcola Theatre); and cover Jenůfa (Jenůfa, Janáček, Court Theatre, Tring).
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. Helen is an alumna of Wells Cathedral School, one of the UK's five specialist music schools, where she was awarded a 'special provisions' music place in the sixth form.
Helen has considerable experience in contemporary music projects, including creating the role of Nimue in the world premiere of Keith Beal's opera Merlin (Hastings Philharmonic); performing as soloist in the world premiere of Orlando Gough's Bayeux, which was commissioned for the 950th celebration of 1066; creating the role of Ruth in the world premiere of John Whittaker's chamber opera The Three Wayfarers (Opera Anywhere); performing solo vocals for the multi-awarding winning short science-fiction film APEX (Numinous Pictures); creating the role of Aisha in the world premiere of Roger Simmonds’ Lizzie Strata (Oxfordshire Contemporary Opera); and covering the role of Aurora in the world premiere of Noah Mosley's opera Aurora (Bury Court Opera). A recent recital performance included Libby Larsen's 2000 composition, Try Me, Good King (The last words of the Wives of Henry VIII).
As an oratorio soloist, Helen has performed: Poulenc's Gloria (Grange Choral Society); Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, Schubert's Mass in G, and Holst's Two Psalms (Hastings Philharmonic); Haydn's 'Nelson Mass' (Cardiff University Symphony Chorus and Chamber Orchestra); Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mozart's Requiem in D minor, Poulenc's Stabet Mater and Górecki's Symphony No. 3, 'Sorrowful Songs' (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 St John's, Hyde Park).
As a recitalist Helen was selected at the Royal Academy to join the Academy Voices, performing in a series of concerts under the auspices of the 'Transcending Borders' recital series at the Italian Cultural Institute, participating in an Austrian recital [II] and an Italian recital [VII]. Helen has also performed with a number of renowned chamber ensembles for competitions, BBC broadcasts, CD recordings, and concerts, in the UK and abroad.
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