Court Gardens Farm

Orchard Lane Ditchling East Sussex BN6 8TH UK

Court Garden Opera


Natasha Day (soprano)

Scottish-Polish soprano Natasha Day trained at The English National Opera on the 2012/13 ‘Opera Works’ course. In 2015 she completed her final year at the Royal College of Music’s International Opera School where she was a Fishmongers’ Company Scholar supported by an Ian Lombe Evans Award.

Roles include Violetta La Traviata (ROH Reimagined, Royal Opera House and Devon Opera), Poppea Agrippina (English Touring Opera), Gilda Rigoletto (Devon Opera), Mimi La Boheme (Haddo House Opera, Devon Opera, Opera Bohemia, Arcadian Opera), Neala Paria by Moniuszko (Polish Opera in London), the title role in Rita (Rocket Opera), Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte (RCM, Nevill Holt Opera), Micaela Carmen (Winslow Hall Opera, Edinburgh Grand Opera), Jessie Mahagonny Songspiel (UNAM) in Mexico City, Fiordiligi Così Fan Tutte (Devon Opera, The Rye Festival) and Musetta La Boheme (Celebrate Voice Festival, Park Opera). Concert engagements include Berg’s 3 Bruchstucke from Wozzeck, Verdi’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Berlioz’s La Mort de Cleopatre, Strauss' Four Last Songs, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Requiem, Coronation Mass, Exsultate Jubilate plus various recitals and orchestral gala concerts throughout the UK.

Natasha won First Prize at the Złote Głosy Competition in Warsaw, Second Prize at The Filharmonia Czestochowska Competition also in Poland and The Most Promising Singer Award at the Emmy Destinn Competition in Prague. She is a 2017 Britten-Pears Young Artist, a Finalist in the 2016 Concorso Lirico di Ferrara, Italy and is proud to be a Concordia Artist.

Ben Leonard (tenor)

Ben Leonard is an Alumnus of The National Opera Studio (NOS) London, supported by Sir Peter and Lady Walters, Christopher Ball, The Darkley Trust and The Kathleen Trust. He is an alumnus of the Royal College of Music, studying with Timothy Evans-Jones.

Ben performs Borsa (cover) in Rigoletto for Glyndebourne Touring Opera this autumn. This season Ben has performed Alfredo at the Grimeborn Festival in an adaptation of La Traviata entitled Violetta at the Arcola Theatre. He made his debut at the Montepulciano Festival as Private Augenti in Passion by Sondheim directed by Keith Warner, and performed Bach B Minor Mass at Glasgow City Halls with the Bearsden Choir and the McOpera Orchestra. In the 2018 season, Ben sung at Glyndebourne Festival and at the BBC Proms. He is an Alumni of British Youth Opera, Young Artist at Nevill Holt Opera and a Next Generation Artist with Iford Arts. Whilst at the National Opera Studio Ben performed with the orchestra of Welsh National Opera as Count Almaviva in Barbiere di Sivilglia and Pang in Turandot, the Orchestra of English National Opera at Cadogan Hall and with Opera North and Scottish Opera. Ben has performed Habdonah in Handel Esther at Wigmore Hall for the London Handel Festival. His opera roles include Nemorino L'elisir d'amore, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Tamino Die Zauberflöte and Tybalt Romeo et Juliette. Most notable concerts include a reception at Windsor Castle for HRH Prince Philip, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Strings at the Throne Room, Buckingham Palace with John Wilson, soloist at the Thousand Male Voices concert Royal Albert Hall and a semi-staged concert of Yeomen of the guard at Symphony Hall Birmingham with the CBSO and John Wilson.

Vivien Conacher (mezzo-soprano)

Sydney-born mezzo-soprano Vivien Conacher has received critical acclaim for her vibrant stage performances.

Recent roles include Fidalma Il Matrimonio Segreto (PopUp Opera), Giovanna Rigoletto (Wexford Festival Opera), Little Buttercup HMS Pinafore (Charles Court Opera / International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival), Rivka Fiddler on the Roof (Grange Park Opera / BBC Proms), Penelope Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria (cover Iford Arts Festival), Dorabella Così fan Tutte, Nicklausse Tales of Hoffmann, Filippyevna Eugene Onegin, and Sorceress Dido and Aenaes.

Vivien trained at the Royal College of Music (M.Perf with Distinction), ENO OperaWorks, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and with British Youth Opera. Her engagements as a concert soloist include performances for St-Martin-in-the-Fields, St Paul’s Knightsbridge, Battle Choral Society, St James’s Church Piccadilly, Foundling Museum, Leighton House, National Portrait Gallery, St Paul’s Covent Garden, Budleigh Music Festival, Bloomsbury Festival, Devon Opera, Pacific Opera, and the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation. Vivien is a passionate advocate for inclusivity in music-making. She founded a not-for-profit organisation called Songhaven which aims to give people living with dementia (and their companions) the dignity of top quality live music through a monthly professional concert series, as well as group singing workshops, and care home concert visits. Vivien is a proud Concordia Foundation Artist and a Tait Memorial Trust Awardee.

Mathew Palmer (baritone)

Matthew Palmer studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under Robert Dean and is on the first year of the Opera Course.

He has sung live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune and made his European debut as Guglielmo Così fan tutte at the Brigitta Festival, Estonia in 2016.

Between graduating from the masters course in 2016 and returning to the school in 2018, Matthew worked for Opera North, Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera, Glyndebourne Education and recently sang Marcello La Bohème in the Olivier Award nominated production at Trafalgar Studios, London.

Other highlights during that time include baritone soloist for Opera North Children’s Choir; Ned Keene Peter Grimes (Dartington Festival) under Sian Edwards; Fiorello and cover Figaro The Barber of Seville (Iford Arts); Captain Corcoran HMS Pinafore (Charles Court Opera); The Mikado & Pish-Tush The Mikado (Charles Court Opera); Guglielmo Così fan tutte (Devon Opera); Escamillo Carmen (Heritage Opera); Conte Robinson Il Matrimonio Segreto (Pop-Up Opera); Mr Ford Merry Wives of Windsor (Duchy Opera).

A regular oratorio soloist, Matthew has performed much of the standard repertoire, including Messiah (Handel); St. Matthew Passion (Bach); Five Mystical Songs (VaughanWilliams); Ein Deutches Requiem (Brahms); The Seasons (Haydn); Crucifixion (Stainer); Requiem (Mozart); Requiem (Fauré); Coronation Mass (Mozart); Messa di Gloria (Puccini); Messe Solennelle (Gounod) as well as lesser known works such as Passio (Pärt); Requiem da Camara (Finzi); Eternal Light Requiem (Goodall) among others varying from new commissions to Bach Cantatas and Haydn Masses. Matthew is a Concordia Foundation Artist and has performed at LSO St. Luke’s, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. James’s Piccadilly, amongst others, in recital and concert.

Berrak Dyer (piano)

Berrak Dyer studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (BMus, MMus, MPerf) under the tutelage of Joan Havill, Caroline Palmer and Andrew West. She then went on to study at the Solti Academy and the National Opera Studio.

Berrak has traveled widely throughout Europe, England, Cyprus and Turkey, taking part in competitions and giving concerts. She has worked as staff accompanist at Oxenfoord International Summer School since 2016. Berrak has worked as Musical Director for Pop-up Opera, and as repetiteur with Glyndebourne, Winslow Hall Opera, Opera Holland Park, Welsh National Opera and The Royal Opera House. She made her debut as a conductor with the Opera Story this year, and will be assistant conductor for English Touring Opera next year.

Lisa Bucknell (viola)

Training: Royal College of Music Masters and Artist Diploma with Simon Rowland-Jones and Annette Isserlis.

Performance: Orchestral trials with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra, frequent work with Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Solo viola on the National Theatre/West End production of Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories, guest violist with the Sacconi Quartet and Manchester Collective.

Upcoming: Recital with the London concert series ChamberMusicBox, national tour of Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back Live in Concert!