Archive for December 2013

Jackdaws Christmas Concert: Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Jackdaws Christmas Concert: Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Jackdaw’s annual Christmas by Candlelight takes place on Friday 20th December in the 12th century church of St Mary Magdalene. Performers will be a selection of some of Jackdaws’ most dearest young Artists and friends.

The first profile is of Marta Fontanals-Simmons, soprano from Castle Carey.

Originally from Somerset, Marta began postgraduate training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tuition of Marilyn Rees in 2010 and joined the Opera Course in September 2012. She is gratefully supported by the Gwen Catley Scholarship, Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, Countess of Munster Musical Trust and a Sybil Tutton Award administered by the Musician’s Benevolent Fund. Marta is proud to have been a Simon Fletcher Charitable Trustee, Susan Chilcott Scholar and Royal Philharmonic Artist for 2011-12 and a continuing Concordia Foundation Artist. Marta was thrilled to be accepted as a Tillett Trust Young Artist in 2013.

Marta has had the privilege of taking part in master classes and workshops with Dawn Upshaw, Brian Zeger, Anne Sofie von Otter, Gerald Finley, Martin Katz, Malcolm Martineau, Graham Johnson, Emma Kirkby DBE and Robert Tear CBE. In competition, Marta was awarded first prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2011, performing at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’. In addition, Marta was awarded Runner-Up in the Thelma King Award 2011, finalist in the Hampshire Singing Competition 2011, the Odette Sansom Award for English Song at the Guildhall School and reached the Semi-Final of the Mozart Singing Competition 2011.

Marta Fontanals-Simmons after winner the Maureen Lehane Vocal AwardsMarta maintains her links with the South West with recent performances of Durufle Requiem with the Bristol Bach Choir, Jenkins Stabat Mater at Sherborne Abbey and the world premier of Martin Emslie’s Omega and Alpha at Wells Cathedral. Marta looks forward to performing Handel Messiah  at St James Piccadilly in December as well as Pinocchio The Adventures of Pinocchio Jonathan Dove for GSMD in 2013-14. Having completed the GSMD Opera Course Marta will sing Woodpecker and cover Fox The Cunning Little Vixen for Garsington Opera and then Mercedes Carmen for Mid Wales Opera. Marta will make her Wigmore Hall recital debut as a Tillett Trust Young Artist in July 2014.

Tickets for the Jackdaws Christmas Concert
£10 in advance, £12 on the door
01373 812383


[youtube id=”p5vy3Fs-Ao8″ width=”620″ height=”360″]
Marta singing Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Raphaela Papadakis, Clonter Opera (2012)
“Gretel – Raphaela Papadakis – and Hansel – Marta Fontanals-Simmons – who I think will go on to make a real impression. Both have rich, limpid tone through their range and both acted as if they were real youngsters”
Robert Beale (14/8/12)

OperaPLUS 2014

OperaPLUS 2014


OperaPLUS is a residential course for aspiring Opera singers. You will spend two weeks working in depth on Rossini’s Opera Buffa, the Barber of Seville, culminating in two semi staged performances in Bridgwater and the Cheese and Grain, Frome on May 8th & 9th 2014.

Work intensively on the characters, interpretation and music with Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, who has directed for ENO, Garden Opera, Mid Wales Opera and at the Royal Academy of Music, and Audrey Hyland who is a professor at the Royal Academy and also coaches at ROH on the young artist programme.

The Course dates for OperaPLUS 2014 are 28 April – 9 May.

Cinderella Dress Rehearsal with a local schoolPLUS This production will also work with local schools in a workshop setting, providing children with the chance to be a part of the performance. This gives the performers a unique opportunity to gain skills and experience in devising and leading workshops with a specific targeted goal.

This is a great chance to get a step ahead on what will form a part of every singers career nowadays, whilst also focusing on a role and production.

Auditions for all roles, apply with CV to
Application by CD can be arranged in certain circumstances, please email to discuss. Auditions will be held in early January, date tbc.

Age Limit 32
Course Fee £350 includes all meals and accommodation
(Some part bursary’s available)
Course dates April 28th – May 9th 2014.

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