Sarah Hyman – Chair
Sarah Hyman holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Performance and a master’s degree in Advertising and Marketing, both awarded by the University of Leeds. Sarah discovered her love of producing while studying at Leeds, becoming a producer for the theatre company Hungry Bitches Productions (yes…really). Hungry Bitches specialises in presenting new musical theatre with a contemporary bite, and its productions have been must-see hits for a number of years at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Two of the company’s shows – Facehunters and Americana – featured in The Sunday Times National Student Drama Festival, winning the Cameron Mackintosh Award for musical theatre.
Sarah became the founding producer of The International Opera Awards in 2012, overseeing the organisation’s year-on-year growth in both audience numbers and international recognition, and establishing the ‘Toscars’ as one of the most significant and highly anticipated events in the global arts calendar. Sarah also undertakes business development for Investor Publishing Ltd, sits on the English National Opera Young Patrons committee, and is a trustee of Opera Prelude.
Stuart Lester – Treasurer
Chartered accountant Stuart Lester spent the majority of his career working for pharmaceutical companies worldwide. For many years he has been actively involved in education and the arts, and in 2008 he was presented with a Civic Award by the London Borough of Barnet for his dedication and commitment to education in the local community. Stuart supports a wide range of arts organisations, contributing to initiatives that promote music and opera. He was a founding trustee of the Hampstead & Highgate Festival, and he serves on the board of Buxton Festival.
Stephen Barlow – Conductor
Stephen Barlow is the Artistic Director of Buxton Festival, for which he has conducted Intermezzo, La Colombe, La Princesse Jaune, The Jacobin, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Louise.
Stephen was a boy chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and then studied at King’s School‚ Canterbury. He won an organ scholarship to Trinity College‚ Cambridge‚ where he was Musical Director of the University Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir, and the founder of the University Bach Choir. He also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Vilem Tausky.
Stephen has conducted the premières of his opera King in Canterbury Cathedral and his clarinet concerto with Emma Johnson and Ulster Orchestra; The Rake’s Progress with Nationale Reisopera; Faust and Nabucco in Australia; Bluebeard’s Castle with Auckland Philharmonia; Falstaff‚ Rusalka, and Norma for Grange Park Opera; the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme Summer Concert at the Royal Opera House; and Sweeney Todd with Bryn Terfel at the Royal Festival Hall.
Stephen began a long association with Glyndebourne in 1997, conducting The Rake’s Progress for GTO. He co-founded Opera 80, serving as its Music Director from 1988 to 1991. During this period, he was also resident conductor at English National Opera; conducted with Scottish Opera‚ Dublin Grand Opera‚ Opera Northern Ireland‚ and Opera North; and made his Royal Opera debut at Covent Garden conducting Turandot and then Die Zauberflöte. Stephen was Artistic Director of Opera Northern Ireland from 1996 to 1999. Stephen’s most notable productions include The Cunning Little Vixen at ENO; La Bohème at Grange Park; Idomeneo‚ The Barber of Seville‚ Fidelio, and Madama Butterfly in Belfast; Albert Herring‚ Falstaff‚ The Marriage of Figaro, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Garsington; and Madam Butterfly with Opera North.
Stephen made his international debut in 1989, conducting The Rake’s Progress for Vancouver Opera, and later returning for productions of both Madam Butterfly and Tosca. In 1990 he conducted Capriccio with San Francisco Opera and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and in 1991 he conducted Die Zauberflöte for Victoria State Opera in Australia. Subsequent international engagements include Elektra and Faust in Seville; The Cunning Little Vixen in Berlin; Capriccio and I Capuletti ed I Montecchi in Sicily; Rigoletto in Tirana; Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Riga; Madama Butterfly‚ Don Giovanni, and Il Trovatore in Auckland; La Cenerentola and Turandot with Florida Grand Opera; Carmen in Melbourne; Turandot in Miami; and Roméo et Juliette for the State Opera of South Australia.
In addition to his operatic work, Stephen has conducted with most of the major British orchestras‚ and his concert appearances further afield have taken him to Aarhus, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Belgrade, Bilbao, Brisbane, Copenhagen, Detroit, Johannesburg, Lausanne, Lille, and Perth. In 1997 he was appointed Music Director of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. Stephen’s recordings include Joseph James’s Requiem, with Sumi Jo, and his own composition Rainbow Bear, with his wife – Joanna Lumley – as the narrator.
Stephen’s recent and current projects include Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Beijing; Capriccio‚ Rusalka‚ Tristan und Isolde‚ Pique Dame, Dialogues des carmélites, and Peter Grimes at Grange Park Opera; Otello with Birmingham Opera Company; A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Guildhall School of Music; and Bruckner’s Symphony No 8 with the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana.
Brian Dickie – Artistic Consultant
Having worked in opera for more than fifty years, Brian Dickie stepped down as general director of the Chicago Opera Theater in August 2012, bringing his thirteen-year tenure to an end.
Brian began his opera career at Glyndebourne Festival, and he remained with the company for twenty-seven years. Brian was a leading member of the team that established Glyndebourne Touring Opera; became the company’s first administrator in 1967; served as opera manager for the Festival; and was appointed general administrator of Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 1981. Brian also served as artistic director of Wexford Festival from 1967 to 1973, and as general director of the Canadian Opera Company from 1989 to 1993. He was artistic adviser to Opéra de Nice from 1994 to 1997, and general director of the European Union Opera project from 1996 to 1998, recruiting singers from each member country.
Since 1999, Brian has chaired the preselection jury for Bertelsmann Foundation’s biennial Neue Stimmen Competition, with responsibility for auditioning singers in Asia, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Brian is currently engaged as an artistic consultant with English National Opera, and he serves on the artistic advisory committee for Garsington Opera’s summer festival.
Daniel Leech-Wilkinson – Professor of Music
Daniel Leech-Wilkinson studied composition, harpsichord, and organ at the Royal College of Music, before completing his MMus at King’s College London, specialising in fifteenth-century music. Following doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, working on fourteenth-century composition techniques, he became a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He then went on to lecture at Nottingham and Southampton universities, before rejoining the music department at King’s College London in September 1997.
Daniel received funding for a five-year research project on ‘Expressivity in Schubert Song Performance’, working with the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM); and he was the director of a major discographical and digitisation project that made 78rpm recordings from the King’s sound archive available online.
Daniel also led the ‘Performers’ Perceptions of Music as Shape’ project for the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice from 2009-14. He is currently investigating the constraints placed on the creativity of performers in classical music practice.
Victoria McDonaugh – Friend of ROH
Victoria McDonaugh is a retired history teacher, who worked in a large comprehensive school in Cricklewood, London, for twenty-five years.
Music has always been an important part of her life, be it the lyricism of Bob Dylan or the euphonious stirrings of Richard Wagner.
Victoria has been a friend of the Royal Opera House for more than thirty years, although she gets to see fewer operas these days as she now as she lives in Dorset.
Victoria has followed the development of a number of singers very closely over the years, and she is keen to encourage the further development of vocal talent through her work with Helios Collective.