Iain Bell – Composer
London-born composer Iain Bell started composing when he was just four years old. He is best known for his vocal music, and he has developed a close artistic relationship with Diana Damrau, for whom he wrote the Daughters of Britannia (European Music Festival, 2007) and The Hidden Place (Theater an der Wien, 2009), as well as the opera The Harlot’s Progress (Theater an der Wien, 2013).
Iain’s other works include the opera A Christmas Carol (Houston Grand Opera, 2014, starring Jay Hunter Morris and directed by Simon Callow), the orchestral song cycle A Litany in Time of Plague, and the chamber song cycles Cradle Suite, Day Turned into Night, The Undying Splendour, and These Motley Fools. His works have been performed at leading venues worldwide, including Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Munich Opera Festival.
Iain made his Royal Opera House debut in 2016 with In Parenthesis, commissioned and performed by Welsh National Opera.
Iain’s recordings include The Hidden Place, featuring Diana Damrau and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Bettina Bartz – Dramaturg
Berlin-born Bettina Bartz graduated in theatre studies from Humboldt University, Berlin, in 1983. Bettina was the head dramaturg of Brandenburg Theatre from 1998 to 2000, and the director of drama at Leipzig Opera from 2008 to 2011. She has worked with directors Peter Konwitschny, Gisela Höhne, Antje Kaiser, Anselm Weber, Arila Siegert, Wolfgang Ansel, Tatjana Gürbaca, Michiel Dijkema, Horst Kupich, and Jochen Biganzoli on opera productions in Graz, Hamburg, Essen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Vienna.
Since 1985 Bettina has written adaptations of classical opera librettos for Komische Opera Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, and Gärtnerplatztheater Munich, mainly in collaboration with Werner Hintze.
Since 1999 Bettina has worked at music schools in Kreuzberg, Pankow, and Neukölln, and since 2000 she has worked with people with learning disabilities at Theatre RambaZamba in Berlin. Bettina has lectured at numerous universities throughout her career, most recently in Berlin, Leipzig, and Tallin.
In 2008 she directed the Neukölln youth project ‘Mozart’, winning the Berlin Award for Integration and Tolerance. A recording of Planet of Dragons – featuring lyrics by Bettina and music by Arnold Fritzsch – won both the Leopold Prize and the Berlin Art Prize in 2014.
John Deathridge – Musicologist
John Deathridge was King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College London from 1996, having previously been Reader in Music at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. John has also taught at the Universities of Princeton and Chicago.
A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, John continues to be active as both a performer and a broadcaster. In 2002 he was elected a corresponding member of the American Musicological Society, and he is a former president of the Royal Musical Association.
Paul Gambrill – Designer
From the Daleks to La Boheme, and from the brand launch of the Mazda CX-7 to a new environmental museum in Athens, Paul Gambrill’s eclectic creative career has seen him work throughout Europe and North America.
Paul started his career as a designer for stage and television, working for both the BBC Special Effects Department and a number of leading repertory theatres in the UK. He was an active member of the Royal Court Youth Theatre, designing studio productions for the acclaimed directors Danny Boyle and Simon Curtis. After winning an Arts Council bursary for design, he spent a year researching opera design at the Royal Opera House and producing highly detailed models for the ROH’s opera and ballet companies.
In the late 80s he was appointed Head of Design for the Tussauds Group, establishing a multi-disciplined in-house design team that was responsible for creating some of the UK’s most successful visitor attractions, including Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle, Rock Circus, and Madame Tussauds. During this time, Paul also spent several months at Walt Disney Studios in Florida, researching theme-park design and the development of animated figures.
Paul is a senior creative for a number of leading international agencies based in London, designing and developing branding projects for leading blue-chip companies, including Sony, Shell, British Airways, Nike, and Orange. He is also a design consultant for both the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill Museum in London, as well as the Fries Museum in the Netherlands. Paul’s teaching experience includes collaborative design projects at the Royal College of Music, The Royal Academy of Music, and the University for the Creative Arts.
Paul is currently a lecturer at the University of Kent, designing and delivering a broad range of multi-disciplinary modules. He is constantly exploring ways to develop innovative partnerships with industry, through both active bursaries and creative apprenticeships.
Cathy Marston – Choreographer
Cathy Marston is a choreographer, artistic director, Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow, and the Governor of The Place in London. Cathy was educated in Cambridge and at the Royal Ballet School, before launching a successful international career.
Having inherited a passion for literature from her English-teacher parents, Cathy’s greatest gift is to join artistic dots together to form stories, emotions, and ideas. For Cathy, stories inform dance.
As Associate Artist at the Royal Opera House for five years, she created a critically acclaimed interpretation of Ibsen’s Ghosts. During her six-year directing tenure of Bern Ballett in Switzerland, her usual British ‘respect for the playwright’ was transformed by the ideas of German theatre and the ‘Director’s Theatre’, resulting in a number of stripped-back, high-quality, unflinchingly expressive signature works that brought new perspectives to old narratives, including acclaimed versions of Chekov’s Three Sisters, Narbokov’s Lolita, and Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
Determined to bring original ideas to new audiences, Cathy likes to craft unexpected correlations between classical and contemporary art forms, such as commissioning a new score for a soprano singer and a female beatboxer.
Cathy’s career highlights to date include rescuing Bern Ballett from threatened closure, working on major productions for Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Finnish National Ballet, and Northern Ballet, and launching her own charitable company – The Cathy Marston Project.
Pumeza Matshikiza – Singer
South African lyric soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is one of today’s rising opera stars. A Decca Classics recording artist, her debut album – Voice of Hope – was released in 2014, while her second album – Arias – was released in 2016, showcasing classic pieces by Purcell and Puccini, alongside new arrangements of works by Faure, Hahn, and Tosti.
Pumeza has sung in solo concerts from Copenhagen to Gothenburg to Krakow, and performed with Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, singing the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Bread, Water and Salt, based on the speech given by Nelson Mandela when he was inaugurated as the President of South Africa in 1994.
On the operatic stage, Pumeza has performed as Mimì in La Bohème, Micaëla in Carmen, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Ännchen in Der Freischütz, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte.
Annilese Miskimmon – Director
Annilese Miskimmon was born in Belfast. She studied English Literature at Christ College, Cambridge, and graduated in Arts Management from City University, London.
Annilese was Consultant Associate Director at Glyndebourne from 2003 to 2005, and Artistic Director of Opera Theatre Company, Ireland, from 2005 to 2012. She was General Manager and Artistic Director of Den Jyske Opera (Danish National Opera) from 2012 to 2017, before becoming the Opera Director of Den Norske Opera & Ballett (Norwegian National Opera and Ballet).
Recent engagements include Jenufa and La traviata for Scottish Opera; Katya Kabanova and Don Quichotte for Danish National Opera; The Turn of the Screw, L’amico Fritz, Falstaff, and Iolanta for Opera Holland Park; Il re pastore and Semele for Garsington Opera; Roméo et Juliette for Opera Ireland; Der Freischütz for Landestheater Salzburg; Mignon and Barbe-bleu for Buxton Festival, and Madama Butterfly for Glyndebourne Festival.