This season, we welcome four new sopranos, three tenors and a bass singer to the Chorus of Opera North. If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about the choristers you see when you come to the opera, now’s your chance.

Katie Bird - soprano

Katie studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. Keen-eyed Opera North fans may well recognise her as she’s performed many times for the Company, including as Mimi in La bohème, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.

Favourite opera: La bohème because I’ve performed the role of Mimi the most in my career so she’s especially close to my heart. It’s such a beautiful warm opera about characters with normal everyday relationship problems that everyone can relate to.

Dream role: Violetta in La traviata, which I’m currently studying. It’s a very challenging workout for my voice type which I’m loving, and she is such an interesting character.

Charlie Drummond - soprano

Charlie was born in Lincoln and graduated from King’s College London with an English Literature degree before moving to Glasgow to study opera at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. A Young Artist at the National Opera Studio and then an Emerging Artist at Scottish Opera, Charlie has spent the last few years freelancing and performing for companies such as Scottish Opera, Opera Bohemia and Longborough Festival Opera.

Favourite opera: Puccini’s Tosca

Dream role (in every sense!): Bottom in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Claire Lees - soprano

Lancashire born, Claire is a graduate from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and has performed for Garsington Opera, Opera Holland Park and Glyndebourne Festival Opera amongst others. A keen recitalist, she also performs regularly with her duo partner in the Netherlands. Claire particularly loves singing French song and exploring works by female composers.

Favourite opera: This is a tricky one as there are so many to choose from! It would be a tie between Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.

Dream role: Sophie in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier

Pasquale Orchard - soprano

Pasquale hails from Wellington, New Zealand and started performing at the age of 3! An avid dancer with diplomas in Tap, Jazz, Hip-hop and Ballet, she completed her Masters in Musical Arts with Distinction at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University. She was a member of the New Zealand Opera Chorus for three years and took part in the Dame Malvina Major New Zealand Opera Emerging Artist Programme before moving to the UK in 2019 having won a full scholarship to the RNCM.

Favourite opera: There are too many to choose from! Currently, I’m obsessed with Susannah by Carlisle Floyd.

Dream role: Marietta in Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt – or Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème.

Kamil Bień - tenor

Kamil joins Opera North having studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Professor Janice Chapman and, for his undergraduate studies at the RNCM, with Nicholas Powell. He performed various roles during his studies, before making his professional debut at the Grange Festival as Don Curzio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 2019. He subsequently performed a trio of roles – Edmondo, Lampionaio and Maestro di Ballo – in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut during their 2021 season.

Favourite opera: Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky

Dream role: Lensky in my favourite opera!

Satriya Krisna - tenor

Indonesian tenor Satriya was awarded his Music BA in 2015 and Masters in 2017 at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, after obtaining a degree in Architecture. He continued his training at the National Opera Studio in London and has been part of several international Young Artist programmes. Satriya joined the ENO Chorus as a BAME fellowship member for the 19/20 and 20/21 seasons. This summer, he covered and performed the role of Don José in Carmen for Longborough Festival Opera and sang Cavaradossi in Tosca for Diva Opera.

Favourite opera: L’elisir d’amore by Donizetti

Dream role: Werther in Werther by Jules Massenet

Tom Smith - tenor

Tom graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) with a Masters in Opera. In 2015, he made his professional debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera as a Lehrbub in Sir David McVicar’s award-winning production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Tom is a Samling Young Artist and recipient of The Musicians’ Company Silver Medal. A keen recitalist, he is also on the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now scheme.

Favourite opera: Puccini’s Turandot

Dream role: Roméo from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette

Simon Grange - Bass

Simon read English Literature at the University of Oxford where he was a choral scholar, before graduating from the Royal College of Music. His favourite roles to date have been Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (“it’s a dream role to act”), Bluff in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor which he performed at the Teatru Manoel in Malta (“the theatre is beautiful and the food was great”), and Ferrando in Verdi’s Il Trovatore (“gorgeous music and it’s great to have that opening scene all to yourself as the bass”).

Favourite opera: Wagner’s Ring Cycle – if I can only pick one of those Die Walküre is my favourite.

Dream role: The title role in Birtwistle’s The Minotaur


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