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Elizabeth Watts (Soprano)

Born: 1979 - Norwich, England

The English soprano, Elizabeth Watts, was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral and studied archaeology at Sheffield University, graduating with first class honours. She received the Myra Verney Recital Award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 2002 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music (RCM), where she studied with Lillian Watson on the Advanced Opera studies course at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School.

In 2004 Elizabeth Watts was selected for representation by YCAT before graduating from the Royal College in 2005 with distinction and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Rose Bowl, on top of numerous other prizes and awards including the RCM Lies Askonas Prize, the Maggie Teyte Prize and the Royal Over-Seas League vocal section prize. Most recently she received international acclaim representing England at the 2007 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, reaching the final and winning the prestigious Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize and automatic selection for BBC Radio 3's prestigious New Generation Artists Scheme. This follows on from other recent successes including winning the 2006 Kathleen Ferrier Prize, the 2007 Outstanding Young Artist Award at the "MIDEM Classique Awards" in Cannes, and a nomination for the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society's Young Artist of the Year Award. As an alumna of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, she has appeared at the Purcell Room, Bridgewater Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Aldeburgh Festival, among many others. Elizabeth Watts has recently signed an exclusive contract with SONY BMG. Her creativity has recently been recognised with her becoming an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre.

Her operatic work has included the roles of Flora in The Knot Garden in a Music Theatre Wales / Royal Opera House co-production, the title role in a British Youth Opera production of George Frideric Handel's Semele and the role of Arthébuze in a semi-staged performance of Charpentier's Actéon conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm at the Aldeburgh Festival. Roles at the RCM included Flora in Turn of the Screw, Poppea in Agrippina, Elmira in Sosarme, Fulvia in Ezio and Constance in Carmelites. Between 2005 and 2007 Elizabeth Watts was a Company Artist at English National Opera (ENO) on their Young Singers' Programme making her debut as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. Roles since then have included Music and Hope in Orfeo, both for ENO and with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston (2006; her first USA appearance), various roles in Purcell's King Arthur, again for ENO and in Berkeley California in collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Company, Barbarina in Marriage of Figaro and covered Atalanta in Xerxes and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. In July 2008 she made her debut at Santa Fe Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. She reprised the role for Welsh National Opera's production of Figaro in 2008-2009 season and appeared as Mandane in Artaxerxes for the Royal Opera House in the Linbury Studio in 2009. She has also performed G.F. Handell’s L’Allegro at London’s Coliseum with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Recently Elizabeth won universal praise for her portrayal of Mandane in Thomas Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Linbury Studio/Royal Opera House, described variously as "dazzling... vividly drawn" (Sunday Times), "the pick of the bunch... thrilling" (Times) and "terrific" (Evening Standard).

Elizabeth Watts is much in demand as a recitalist and concert singer working regularly with pianists such as Roger Vignoles, Julius Drake, and Gary Matthewman. She has given recitals at the UK's leading venues, including Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, and Purcell Room, as well as at festivals and music clubs throughout the UK, including Aldeburgh Festival and Cheltenham Festival. Her most recent appearance at the Wigmore was hailed as "a sensation" (The Guardian). She has appeared in concerts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, The English Concert (on a tour), City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española in Madrid, and with Manchester Camerata at the 2009 BBC Proms. Further afield, Elizabeth has performed at prestigious venues and festivals such as the Hardanger Festival in Norway, with the Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española in Madrid, at the Bad Kissinger Summer Festival, at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and at the Tonhalle, Zürich.

Future plans include also Messiah with the Huddersfield Choral Society and Jane Glover, W.A. Mozart's Requiem with the Boston Handel and Haydn Society and Harry Christophers, various concerts with The Academy of Ancient Music, and a New Year's Day gala with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. In the 2000-2011 season she was Pamina in Die Zauberflöte for Welsh National Opera and Marzelline in Fidelio for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She also sang in both recital and concert at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

With a voice described by International Record Review as "one of the most beautiful Britain has produced in a generation" Elizabeth Watts has established herself as "one of the brightest new talents" (The Independent). Her debut recording of Schubert Lieder, accompanied by Roger Vignoles, for Sony Red Seal, a Gramophone magazine’s ‘Editor's Choice’, was hailed for its "milky timbre & interpretative maturity" (FT) "technical mastery" (Gramophone) and "radiant delivery" (BBC Music). She can also be heard on a live recording of Johannes Brahms’s A German Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, on LPO. She has now signed to Harmonia Mundi and a disc of J.S. Bach's cantatas and arias with Harry Bicket and The English Concert was released in early 2011.

“Certainly one of the most beautiful voices Britain has produced in a generation... A lyric soprano as ravishing as one could possibly want” - International Record Review

More Photos

Source: BBC Website (2009); Elizabeth Watts Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Harry Bicket


BWV 51, BWV 199; Arias from BWV 31, BWV 57, BWV 84, BWV 105

Herbert Blomstedt


[V-3] (2017, Audio): BWV 245

Richard Egarr


BWV 244, BWV 245

Links to other Sites

Wlizabeth Watts - Soprano (Official Website)
Elizabeth Watts on Facebookj
Elizabeth Watts (Wikipedia)
Elizabeth Watts (BBC: New Generation Artists)
England: Elizabeth Watts (BBC Cardiff Singer of the World)
Interview: Elizabeth Watts sings Thomas Arne's Artaxerxes at the ROH (Music Criticism) [Sep 2009]

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, November 20, 2017 10:49