Opera Scotland

Scottish Opera's Emerging Artists

Posted 15 Nov 2018

Scottish Opera has welcomed a talented new group of Emerging Artists for the 2018/19 Season. Our image shows Samuel Bordoli, Erika Gundesen, Alexey Gusev, Marie Hansen, and Bethan Langford. The others are Sofia Troncoso and Lucy Anderson.

What is the Emerging Artists programme?

Careers in the performing arts are notoriously challenging. In a highly competitive industry, opera singers in particular find economic suvival difficult during the critical early years when their skills and their voices are developing. Awards and development schemes are hugely important in supporting such talent and helping them stay in the industry.

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme offers young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers. Initially set up to nurture outstanding young singers, the programme now also includes positions for a repetiteur, costume trainee and a composer in residence.

The Emerging Artists are supported by The Robertson Trust, The Garrick Charitable Trust, Elizabeth Salvesen and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors.

For further information about this season's talent, see below.

Lucy Anderson

Scottish soprano Lucy Anderson, the Robertson Trust Emerging Artist, completed the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama following undergraduate study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Lucy has received the Frances Collins Award, a Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship, a Mary Gillespie Award, the Mary D. Adams Scholarship and the Norma Greig French Song Prize. She is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and represented the Guildhall School in the 2018 Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize. Solo concert highlights include Scenes from Goethe’s Faust with the LSO, a recital of songs by Strauss in Barbican Hall and a performance of works by Tchaikovsky for the BBC SO’s Beloved Friend: Tchaikovsky Project.

This season with Scottish Opera, Lucy takes on the role of Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, goes on the road with Opera Highlights next spring and covers the role of First Lady in The Magic Flute.

Samuel Bordoli

Samuel Bordoli returns for a second year as Composer in Residence. During his first year he composed four new pieces; ‘Wings’ and three interludes for the Autumn and Spring Opera Highlights tours. He also composed Grace Notes based on the final pages of Bernard MacLaverty’s novel of the same name, as a companion piece to Scottish Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos. With a libretto by MacLaverty himself, Grace Notes was performed in the Upper Circle Foyer of Theatre Royal Glasgow before each performance of Ariadne auf Naxos in March 2018. For his work at Scottish Opera, Samuel was nominated for the ‘One to Watch’ Award at the 2018 Sunday Herald Culture Awards.

Samuel began composing and conducting at an early age, with his first orchestral work performed at the Bedford Corn Exchange when he was aged sixteen. Samuel held the Mendelssohn Scholarship and the Manson Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music and was mentored by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years after studying with him at Dartington International Summer School. He gained a BMus (Hons) at Birmingham Conservatoire.

BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service and ITV News have broadcast his work and Samuel was the first composer to create site-specific compositions for Monument and Tower Bridge in London when his Live Music Sculptures were featured in the City of London Festival in 2012.

Other collaborations include creating an opera performed on the Caledonian sleeper train between London and Aberdeen with Tête à Tête and Sound Scotland. Samuel’s anthem The Great Silence, commemorating choristers who lost their lives in the First World War, premiered at Windsor Festival in a concert celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday. Samuel was awarded an ARAM by the Royal Academy of Music in 2018. 

This Season, Samuel has composed a new overture to be performed during the opening season of the Music Hall in Aberdeen, which is soon to reopen following a multi-million-pound transformation, as well as new works for the Autumn Opera Highlights tour exploring the power of opera.

Erika Gundesen

Erika Gundesen is the 2018/19 Emerging Artist Repetiteur and will work on Rigoletto, Kátya Kabanová, Anthropocene and The Magic Flute. She studied as a soloist and repetiteur at the University of British Columbia, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the National Opera Studio in London. Erika has worked as a pianist, conductor and music director for opera and theatre productions in London, with a particular passion for contemporary repertoire.

Erika has worked as a music director for Vivo d'Arte, London Theatre Workshop and Geoids Musical Theatre, and has been a guest artist for Opera Loki, Pint of Wine Productions and the Southbank Centre.

Alexey Gusev

Baritone Alexey Gusev returns as an Emerging Artist to Scottish Opera for the 2018/19 Season. He is from Rostov-on-Don in Russia and graduated from the Rostov State Conservatoire with a degree in Voice, Opera and Concert Singing. He joined the Rostov State Opera and Ballet Theatre as principal baritone, where he remained for seven years. In 2013-14, Alexey sang principal roles for the Astrakhan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet before taking up a scholarship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and made his debut in Scotland as Napoleon and Andrey Bolkonsky in Prokofiev’s War and Peace.

Alexey is a winner of the International Rachmaninov Competition for Opera Singers, the All-Russian Opera Competition in Moscow and the Clonter Opera Prize 2017. In the 2017/18 Season, Alexey performed in productions of Ariadne auf Naxos and Eugene Onegin, a concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and was one of the Autumn 2017 Opera Highlights cast members.

This Season at Scottish Opera he will perform the roles of Marullo in Rigoletto and Kuligin in Kátya Kabanová.

Marie Hansen

Elizabeth Salvesen Costume Trainee, Marie Hansen, studied for a Master of Science in Sociology at Copenhagen University before relocating to Scotland and re-engaging in her lifelong interest in making clothes by taking evening classes in pattern cutting at Glasgow Clyde College. She then realised her skills lay in the craft of constructing garments and decided to make a career change and complete an HND in Fashion Technology at Glasgow Clyde College.

While at GCC Marie had the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement at Scottish Opera and became determined to pursue a career in this field. With a passion for theatrical costume, Marie will work on Scottish Opera’s Season 2018/19 productions in the Costume Department, headed by John Liddell.

Bethan Langford

British mezzo-soprano, Bethan Langford, is a 2018 graduate of the National Opera Studio and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Highlights so far have included her debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte for Bury Court Opera; Second Angel in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Melos Sinfonia at LSO St Lukes and on tour at The Mariinsky Theatre; Third Maid Elektra under Esa-Pekka Salonen for Verbier Festival Academy, and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia at Grimeborn.

A keen recitalist, Bethan has performed at many leading concert venues and festivals across the UK including the Wigmore Hall, Oxford Lieder Festival, Aldeburgh Festival and Heidelberger Fruhling Festival. She is a proud past recipient of the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Award for visually impaired musicians from the RNIB, as well as being a Samling Artist and Les Azuriales Young Artist.

This Season, Bethan will perform the roles of Giovanna in Rigoletto, Glasha in Kátya Kabanová and 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute, and cover Daisy in Anthropocene.

Sofia Troncoso

Sofia Troncoso is an American soprano of South American heritage. A 2017/2018 Young Artist at the National Opera Studio, London, she studied previously at the Royal Academy of Music and Northwestern University, Chicago. She won the 2017 Karaviotis Prize and the Audience Prize at Les Azuriales Opera. Recent engagements include performances with Diva Opera, Longborough Opera Festival, Hampstead Garden Opera and Grimeborn.

Sofia is also an accomplished recital and concert singer, showcasing music in an array of languages and styles. Notable performances include the 2018 New Year Concert with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra. In the 2015/16 Season, Sophia was in the Scottish Opera chorus for The Mikado.

This Season at Scottish Opera, Sofia will perform on the Autumn Opera Highlights tour, Papagena in The Magic Flute and cover Professor Prentice in Anthropocene.

Performances to watch for

The Emerging Artist singers and repetiteur will perform in three recitals; at the University of St Andrews in November, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in December and the University of Glasgow in January.

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