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.

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.

Stephen Aviss (tenor)

Stephen Aviss was born and raised in Surrey. Following a degree in English Literature at University College London he trained at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio.

Other roles include Fenton in Nicolai’s opera The Merry Wives of Windsor (Surrey Opera), Ruggero (cover) in Puccini’s La Rondine (British Youth Opera) and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata (Iford, Devon Opera, cover Opera North and Opera Holland Park). Stephen has also sung in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Britten’s Billy Budd in Glyndebourne and in New York. Stephen sang Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca as part of the Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre, London, reprising the role at the Celebrate Voice Festival in Salisbury. In 2016 Stephen was a Christine Collins Young Artist at Opera Holland Park, singing the role of Rodolfo in La Boheme and has covered this role for English National Opera. Returning to Opera Holland Park in 2017 Stephen sung the role of Prunier in La Rondine.

Stephen has also performed many concerts internationally including at the Palace of Versailles, as well as opera galas in Beirut, Geneva, Paris and Stockholm. He has toured extensively in Sweden and Norway not only performing opera, but also lieder and song. Television work includes a performance of The Office, The Opera for BBC’s Comic Relief. A regular performer of oratorio, Stephen has sung Handel’s Samson, The Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem. This summer’s engagements include Edmondo in Manon Lescaut for Opera Holland Park.

Jonathan Pease
(piano and musical arrangement)

Jonathan graduated with an MA in Music from Cambridge University in 2010 before undertaking further study as a pianist with Graham Fitch.

As an accompanist and repetiteur, he has worked with groups including the Royal Opera House, Garsington Opera, Glyndebourne Youth Opera, Spitalfields Music, Opera Holland Park, Orpheus Sinfonia and Chelsea Opera Group, as well as innumerable choral societies and theatre groups. He performs regularly with oboist Nicola Hands, in venues including St. James Piccadilly, St. Mary’s Perivale, St. George’s Hanover Square, Waltham Abbey, the Schott Recital Rooms and Winchester, Bury and Peterborough Cathedrals; and the duo are currently preparing to produce the premiere recording of Paul Patterson’s Phoenix Sonata for Oboe and Piano. He has also enjoyed a residency on cruise liner HMS Arcadia with saxophonist Alastair Penman. In the past year, he has musically directed from the piano La Traviata for Devon Opera (in his own newly-commissioned arrangement for piano trio) and Suor Angelica and operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan for Opera Anywhere.

Jonathan is musical director of the semi-professional East London Evensong Choir, committed to bringing quality liturgical music to his native corner of the capital, as well as undertaking Cathedral visits. He is also a prolific composer and librettist: scheduled within the next year are the first performance of a full-length opera about the death of a 1960s architect, and recordings of a chamber opera about an office argument and various liturgical works. Jonathan is grateful for the support of Making Music and the Concordia Foundation.