La Traviata - Cast Biographies
Musical Director - Matthew Waldren
Matthew was born in Geneva‚ and studied at the Royal College of Music in London before reading music at Cambridge University, where he now mentors students at Fitzwilliam College. He later studyed as a post-graduate at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After a 10-year career as an opera singer‚ he is swiftly gaining a reputation as a dynamic young conductor. Particularly at home conducting opera‚ he has been described as “a talent to watch”.
Future engagements include La Traviata for Opera Lyrica, Peter Grimes for Co-Opera Co., Lakmé and Alice’s Adventures of Wonderland for Opera Holland Park‚ where he has also conducted critically-acclaimed performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Pêcheurs de Perles‚ the World Premiere run and subsequent revival of Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland‚ Gianni Schicchi‚ Zanetto‚ Rigoletto‚ and Fantastic Mr Fox. 2015 sees the release of the recording of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland conducted by Matthew. In 2012 he was appointed as music director of the inaugural Christine Collins Young Artist Scheme at OHP. Further engagements include The Yeomen of the Guard (Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company‚ National Festival Orchestra)‚ the World Premiere of Strekosa I Muravej, shortlisted in the Flourish Opera Competition (Tête a Tête and Grimeborn festivals)‚ conducting workshops for English National Ballet and working on Carmen with the Royal Opera House Community Chorus.
During his conducting training he was invited to observe conductors such as Sir Antonio Pappano and Sir Mark Elder. Matthew was appointed Chorus Master at Opera Holland Park between 2009 and 2011‚ working on operas including La Bohême‚ Orpheus in the Underworld‚ Pelléas et Melisande‚ Carmen‚ Fidelio‚Don Giovanni‚ Francesca da Rimini‚ La Forza del Destino‚ L’Amico Fritz‚ Le Nozze di Figaro and Rigoletto. He has worked as a cover conductor for John Owen Edwards‚ Stuart Stratford and Manlio Benzi‚ and worked alongside Sir Mark Elder on Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand with the Hallé orchestra and Wozzeckat the Royal Opera House.
He regularly conducts opera galas and his work has taken him to eclectic festivals including Watercity‚ Camp Bestival and Harvest. Matthew works regularly with the London Mozart Players and the City of London Sinfonia.
Violetta Valéry - Katherine Blumenthal
A two-time Metropolitan Opera district winner and regional finalist in 2008 and 2009, in 2010 she was awarded a grant at the Giulio Gari International Singing Competition in New York. She moved to Europe after completing a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory where she was awarded a distinction in performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honours in music and French literature from Emory University. She also studied composition at the Conservatoire International de Paris.
This Spring she will be sing her first Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Lyrica in London and this winter is returning to sing with UC Opera in London for the third time as Arcabonne in J.C. Bach’s Amadis de Gaule. Most recently she sang with Opera Project at West Green House Opera when she reprises the role of Madame Herz in David Parry's version of Der Schauspieldirektor. Her recent roles include Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Lyyckå Kammarsmusic Festival, Sweden, Giselda in Verdi’s I Lombardi with UC Opera, Madame Herz in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor with Stanley Hall Opera, Céphise in the UK premiere of Rameau’s Acante et Céphise with UC Opera, and Frasquita in Carmen both with Focus and Regent’s Opera.
Her performance credits include The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Giunone in Cavalli’s La Calisto, Micaëla in Carmen and Musetta in La Bohème. During the 2007–2008 season, she was a member of the San Diego Opera Ensemble where she toured for 7 months in both Die Zauberflöte as the Queen of the Night, performing the role over 80 times. And this past fall she was a soloist with Merry Opera’s touring production of their staged Messiah.
Contemporary music being of a particular interest to her, she has participated in several New Music Projects. In November 2008 she sang Ophelia in the world premiere of Steve Everett’s chamber opera Ophelia’s Gaze with the Vega Quartet and the premier of John Anthony Lennon’s Oratorio Eternal Gates in 2011. She sang the premier of Nuits by Lee Hoiby and Tembang Gede by Steve Everett at IRCAM at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. She also appears on the recording “50” singing a work commissioned by the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios.
Alfredo Germont - Ashley Catling
Born in Reading, Ashley Catling began his musical education as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and then as a music scholar at Leighton Park School, Reading. He studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tuition of William McAlpine and later continued his studies in advanced opera training at the National Opera Studio in London, where he received awards from the Friends Of Covent Garden, Sybill Tutton Trust and the Nelly Groner Foundation.
His operatic roles include Ernesto Don Pasquale (New Zealand Opera)‚ Don Ottavio (Opera Zuid), Andres Wozzeck (Welsh National Opera), Gianetto La Gazza ladra, Fenton Falstaff, Kudryas Katya Kabanova, Apollo Orfeo, St Brioche The Merry Widow (Opera North), Zweiter Priester & Erster Geharnischter Mann Die Zauberflöte (Glyndebourne On Tour), Nanki-Poo The Mikado (Nationale Reisopera), John Millar Jnr in David Horne's Friend of the People (Scottish Opera), Ferrando Così fan tutte (Garsington Opera), Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi, Lurcanio Ariodante and Oronte Alcina (English Touring Opera), Zotico Eliogabalo (Grange Park Opera), Tamino Die Zauberflöte, (Castleward Opera N.Ireland), Alfred Die Fledermaus (Lyric Opera, Ireland), Normanno Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera Holland Park) and Nadir Les Pecheurs des Perles (Dorset Opera). Other roles include Nemorino L'Elisir d'Amore, Carlo Linda di Chamounix, Pedrillo Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Jaquino Fidelio.
Ashley has appeared on many concert platforms throughout the UK including The Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John's Smith Square, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Royal Concert Hall Glasgow and Birmingham Symphony Hall, where he has performed many of the major oratorio works. He has sung live as a guest soloist on 'Friday Night Is Music Night for BBC Radio 2 and can be heard on Operatic recordings by Chandos, Hyperion and Opera Rara.
Current and recent engagements include tours of The Netherlands with the Nationale Reisopera singing Gastone in La Traviata, Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro, a tour of England, France and The Channel Islands with Diva Opera singing Alfredo in La Traviata and Tamino in The Magic Flute, Hot Biscuit Slim in PAUL Bunyan and Hermes in King Priam for English Touring Opera.
Giorgio Germont - Leandros Taliotis
London-born baritone Leandros Taliotis has performed to critical acclaim in Europe and beyond in opera, oratorio and recital. Leandros studied at Cambridge University, the Royal College of Music (winning a scholarship) and Flanders Opera Studio, singing the role of Sid in Albert Herring at De Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp, a role which he subsequently sang at the Teatro Rendano, Cosenza, earning praise in the Italian press.
After stepping-in as Belcore in the final dress rehearsals of L’elisir d’amore in Duisburg in February 2008, Leandros was engaged at Deutsche Oper am Rhein for the 2008-2009 season, singing roles in Don Carlos, Rusalka, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Janacek’s From the House of the Dead in the opera houses of Düsseldorf and Duisburg.
Other engagements have include Zurga The Pearl Fishers (Northampton Festival opera), Dandini La Cenerentola (OperaFour), Tempter, Herald of Hakon, Welsh Herald The Martyrdom of St. Magnus, Maxwell Davies (Norwegian National Opera/Oslokammermusikk Festival), Semyon The Crocodile (Tête à Tête Festival) Morales Carmen, (Opera à la Carte: UK, France and Ireland) Belcore L’elisir d’amore (Vox Lirika Opera), Lockit The Beggar’s Opera arr. Britten (Surrey Opera), Tarquinius The Rape of Lucretia and Adonis The Judgement of Calliope - Henze (Dartington Festival) Lakai Ariadne auf Naxos (Aldeburgh Productions) Papageno Die Zauberflöte (Cambridge Philharmonic), Sharpless Madame Butterfly, Elviro Xerxes and Junius The Rape of Lucretia (British Youth Opera).
Leandros has appeared as a concert soloist in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Japan, France, Greece and throughout the United Kingdom.
Engagements for the 2014-15 season include Morales and Dancairo Carmen with the Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, Giorgio Germont La Traviata with Opera Lyrica and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Snape Maltings. Leandros continues his vocal studies with Russell Smythe.