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David Bartleet

David first graduated in History and Economics (Hons)  at Leeds University before deciding on a career in opera. He was shortly awarded the prestigious ‘Opera Scholarship’ to the Royal College of Music London, where his voice teacher was the welsh baritone Redvers Llewelyn. He later won awards  from the Ralph Vaughan Williams and Countess of Munster Trusts to carry out further studies at the London Opera Centre (now the London Opera Studio). During this time his voice teacher was the celebrated tenor Richard Lewis, while he studied repertoire with Peter Gelhorn, Norman Feasey, Tom Hammond and Anthony Legge. In 1984 he was awarded an English Arts Council Advanced Musicians Bursary to study the major opera character roles with the Norwegian tenor Ragnar Ulfung. Also, at this time, David was invited as an actor  to  spent the season playing The Spymaster with the Contemporary Theatre Company “Lumiere and Son”.

He began his opera career as a founder member of the English Music Theatre Company (formerly Benjamin Britten's English Opera Group): artistic directors Stuart Bedford and Colin Graham. Since then David developed a varied freelance career not only as singer and teacher, but also an actor and singers’ manager. Now a successful voice teacher in Britain and some parts of Europe David has, in recent years, become established as a successful and much in demand voice teacher  in Iceland at Songskoli Demetz, Reykjavik.

He has performed a great variety of opera roles (about 40) at opera houses and festivals throughout Britain and Europe. Among these are the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where he sang a number of the supporting roles in Britten’s 'Death in Venice', while at English National Opera, he sang Rodas in Iain Hamilton’s 'The Royal Hunt of the Sun'.  With English Music Theatre he created two roles in world premieres: Blifil  in 'Tom Jones' (Stephen Oliver) and  The Shogun  in  'An Actor’s Revenge' (Minoru Miki). David was cast as Paco, the magician  in the British premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s  'La Cubana' at Sadlers Wells Theatre.  He sang Pinkerton in 'Madam Butterfly' for a short season at the Harrogate Theatre;   Shuisky in 'Boris Godunov'  at the Brighton Festival; the four character tenor roles in 'The Tales of Hoffmann'  in Graham Vick’s  production for Scottish Opera.  For English Music Theatre: First Armoured Man,  Monostatos (The Magic Flute);   The Mayor (Albert Herring).  He was Dr Caius in Opera Northern Ireland’s 'Falstaff', plus Bardolf for Graham Vick’s production of 'Falstaff' at Birmingham City Opera.

Our Founders and Tutors

Anne Williams-King

The Welsh opera singer, Anne Williams-King, was born and educated in Wrexham prior to studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Even before leaving Wrexham for her music studies the 17 year old had already leapt to prominence at the Welsh National Eisteddfod as winner of both the Soprano Prize and the David Lloyd Memorial Prize. She was also a prize winner  in The Belgian Bel Canto Competition, and was awarded the prestigious Peter Styvesant Scholarship to the London Opera Studio. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music under Frederick Cox and later Josephine Veasey, the renowned British mezzo-soprano.

Her professional opera debut was in Paris at the Opera du Chatelet, followed by her British debut at the Welsh National Opera as Amelia in Verdi’s
“Un Ballo in Maschera”.  Shortly afterwards her third placing in the final of the Cardiff Singer of the World competition launched her on the path to an international career, taking her throughout Europe and further afield to Australia, the USA, Canada, Japan, South Africa and South America.

She has sung major soprano roles at all the British  and many European opera houses, in particular The Royal Opera Covent Garden, Deutsche Opera am Rhein, Glyndebourne, Welsh, Scottish and English National Operas.

Marian Bryfdyr

Marian Bryfdir was born in Gwynedd, North Wales, studied at the Royal Academy of Music and sang with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden before specialising in opera-in-education and voice teaching.

Awarded the Lord Harlech Memorial Fellowship for her work with young singers, Marian Bryfdir has worked for many years in Andalucia as performer and vocal coach, collaborating with actor/director Jose-Maria Penela in courses (not only for performers, but also speech therapists, interpreters and other professional voice users). Their book “A Workbook for the Speaking and Singing Voice” will be published in its Welsh translation shortly.

At her North Wales based voice studio “Y Stiwdio Llais” she offers specialised coaching to singers and actors on technique and repertoire. She arranges short intensive courses of vocal rehabilitation for individuals with vocal problems of all types and also gives short courses for young singing teachers.

Janet Haney

Janet Haney is an experienced and sought after vocal coach, accompanist and répétiteur. Based in London she has performed internationally as a recitalist in Spain Russia, Qatar, New York and Reykjavik and in UK at St David’s Hall, The Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and The Cadogan Hall, London, playing for renowned artists such as Kiri Te Kanawa.

As a répétiteur Janet has worked at Wexford Festival Opera, Islenska Operan (Reykjavik, Iceland), Welsh National Opera, English Touring Opera, European Chamber Opera, Travelling Opera, Opera Project, Longborough Festival Opera and Opera Holland Park. With repertoire including Donitzetti’s L’Assedio, Bellini’s Capuleti e i Montecchi, Rossini’s La Gazzetta, she specialises in the Bel Canto style. Internationally she has worked on opera productions in South Africa, France, Iceland, Japan and the Philippines both as répétiteur and vocal coach.

In 2014 Janet was appointed as a vocal coach at the Royal College of Music for the Masters programme and the Opera School.  She has also coached for Dennis O'Neill at the Wales International Academy of Voice, The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and the Söngskólinn in Reyjkavik. Janet was Musical Director for the annual opera scenes at the Birmingham Conservatoire 2009-13.

In the Autumn of 2015, Janet worked at Wexford Festival Opera as répetiteur on Koanga by Delius and was also Music Director for a production of Hansel and Gretel. In January  2016 she returned to Iceland to be répetiteur and coach on a production of Don Giovanni

Deborah Lea

Born in Aberystwyth and formerly known as Deborah Stuart-Roberts, Deborah studied at the RNCM with Caroline Crawshaw, undertaking many performance roles, including Female Chorus (Rape of Lucretia), Popova (The Bear) and the role of Queen Elizabeth in Gloriana.

In 1983, she won the Miriam Licette Scholarship, which enabled her to study in Paris with the French soprano Christiane Eda-Pierre.

She made her professional début in 1984 with Scottish Opera in Rossini’s Silken Ladder and Marriage Contract.  Later that year, she won the Peter Stuyvesant aware for study at the National Opera Studio.

In 1985, Deborah became principal mezzo-soprano with Welsh National Opera, taking on roles such as Wellgunde (The Ring), Rosina (Barber of Seville), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte) – with Anne Williams-King – and the title role in Carmen.

In 1988, she sang alongside Dame Joan Sutherland on a WNO Decca recording of Adriana Lecouvreur.

She has appeared with Glyndebourne Opera (Midsummer Night’s Dream and La Cenerentola), City of Birmingham Touring Opera (Magic Flute) and De Nederlandse Opera (now DNO) as Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus.  Deborah has also performed the role of Mercedes in an arena performance of Carmen at the Bercy stadium in Paris, featuring Teresa Berganza.

One of her more unusual experiences was to sing an aria from La Wally, stood in the back of a moving, open-top, vintage Bentley in a stadium in Qingdao, China to a crowd of 30,000 people.

Deborah comes from a musical family – her great uncle was Darrell Fancourt, principal bass with the D’Oyly Carte opera company and her great aunt was Laura Evans-Williams, one of the first Welsh sopranos to work in the USA and who sang the title role in the Welsh opera “Blodwen”.

Deborah now enjoys using her performance and stagecraft experience to help and encourage young singers at the start of their careers.

Marco Belluzzi

Born in Bologna (North-eastern Italy), Marco Belluzzi studied Piano, Singing, Composition, Choir and Orchestra Conducting at the local Conservatory of Music.  

He started very soon working as répetiteur in a number of productions by several opera houses in Italy (Bologna, Modena, Parma, Ferrara, Milan among others) then widening his activity as choir master, assistant conductor and conductor in Italy and across Europe (France, Portugal, Sweden, Iceland).  

Marco Belluzzi collaborates with well-known artists as the Icelandic tenor Kristján Jóhannsson, the Italian bass Francesco Ellero D’Artegna and the Welsh soprano Anne Williams-King.  

As a pianist, he is particularly active as a chamber music performer both with singers and as part of instrumental ensembles, with a particular focus on XX century repertoire.  

Marco Belluzzi is the author of orchestral, chamber and choral music (a selective list includes: Music for Dorian, for flute and piano, Három magyar népdalok (Three Hungarian Folk-Songs), for a-cappella mixed choir, New Mother, Old Dust, a rhapsody on themes by F. Zappa, for mixed ensemble  and a number of arrangements of classical and traditional music for various formations (from orchestra to vocal ensemble).  

Worth-mentioning is also his long-lasting activity as a pianist, arranger and composer of jazz music.