Where are they now? Two Bury Court sopranos destined to be High Flyers...

Nadine Benjamin (previously Nadine Mortimer Smith)

About:  Born in the UK of Jamaican-Indian heritage, Nadine Benjamin has followed an unconventional route into opera.  On leaving school at 16, she worked in corporate finance, building a successful career in the City.  She decided to abandon this path after an audition at the Southbank six years ago, which led to a stint with ENO Opera Works and offers of professional singing work.  In 2009, she received a Voice of Black Opera Award for the most promising voice and has set up a mentoring company called Opera in Colour.

The Voice:  She has an idiomatic grasp of a wide range of styles: sultry and husky in jazz, generous and fulsome-toned in the Romantic opera repertoire and expressive, pinpoint accuracy in contemporary song.

Ideal casting:  Verdi and Puccini are her mainstays in opera at the moment, and she makes a fine Leonora, Aida and Mimi.  Contemporary opera should prove another fruitful strand in her career.

What the critics say: ‘A warm wave of sound, ample, generous…Nadine Benjamin is a born storyteller of song.” The Metro, London


Ilona Domnich

About:  Born in St Petersburg, Russia, Ilona Domnich’s talents were spotted by the great London-based singing teacher Vera Rosza, who invited her to study at the Royal college of Music.  Her career is growing steadily in the UK: forthcoming appearances include Mimi in English Touring Opera’s production of La boheme.

The voice:  Mellow, lyrical with a luminous edge to the tone.

Ideal casting:  She brings an unusual warmth and wistfulness to her performances of early opera and oratorio, but she also has the range and dramatic presence to be effective in roles suh as Gilda in Rigoletto and Tatiana in Eugene Onegin.

Recording choice:  Le Secret on the Quartz label – love songs by Verdi, Faure, Strauss and Rachmaninov, with pianist Marc Verter.

What the critics say: "A voice of silken beauty.’ Opera Now


(reproduced by kind permission of Opera Now magazine www.rhinegold.co.uk)

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