Paul McCreesh & Gabrieli

Biography Paul McCreesh & Gabrieli

Paul McCreesh & GabrieliPaul McCreesh & Gabrieli

Nicky Spence
Winner of the BBC Musician Magazine Personality of the Year 2022, Opera Singer Nicky Spence is one of Scotland’s proudest sons. Nicky's unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty of his musicianship and communication have earned him a place at the top of the classical music profession. ​

Nicky was schooled locally in Dumfries and Galloway before receiving a scholarship to the Guildhall School as their youngest singer at 17 years old. During his training, he won a record contract with Decca Records before taking a place at the National Opera Studio and latterly a position at the English National Opera as one of their inaugural Harewood Artists.

Safely inhabiting the repertoire of Strauss, Janáček and Wagner, Nicky is fulfilling his exciting potential as a Heldentenor having recently made his role debut as Parsifal with the Hallé orchestra under Sir Mark Elder. Described in The Times as ‘a tenor who combines heroic tone and a poetic sensibility that takes the breath away’, Nicky has recorded prolifically and is a regular featured recitalist at the Wigmore Hall, London though he can mostly be found on the International stages of Opera de Paris, Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. ​

The 2022/23 season sees Nicky making his role debut as Siegmund in a new production of Die Walküre for the English National Opera directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Martyn Brabbins. Nicky also returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Laca in Claus Guth’s new production of Jenůfa conducted by Henrik Nánási. Later this Summer, he makes his debut as Erik in Der Fliegender Holländer alongside Sir Bryn Terfel for Grange Park and will make his debut at the Deutche Staatsoper in the 2022/23 season, as Gregor in Věc Makropulos, in another production by Claus Guth conducted by Sir Simon Rattle following his role debut in the same role for Welsh National Opera this Autumn.

Nicky is also a keen charity worker which encompasses his position as patron for both Blackheath Halls in London and Scottish Opera's Young Company, as an ambassador for Help Musicians UK, and proud president of Dumfries’s own Musical Theatre Company. In 2019, Nicky joined the board of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Nicky is a Samling Artist, recently joining their team as a leader of young singers, and enjoys giving masterclasses internationally. Spence was nominated by the International Opera Awards for Young Singer of the Year in 2015 and was also one of ten artists included in the Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrating the best up and coming young British talent from across the Arts industry. In 2020 he won the BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award and Gramophone’s Solo Vocal Award for his critically acclaimed recording of Janáček’s The Diary of One who Disappeared with Julius Drake and he was nominated as Singer of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society.

​ During the pandemic, Nicky was a volunteer vaccinator and he's just taken up the role of judge and mentor on Sky Arts' TV show Anyone can sing. Another recent role is as one of ten Sky Arts Access Icons across the arts which sees Nicky figure heading their new campaign offering free resources to primary schools to unpack the art of opera and inspire young singers of the future.

Andrew Foster-Williams
possesses a vocal versatility that allows him to present repertoire ranging from the classics of Bach, Gluck, Handel and Mozart through to more recent masters such as Britten, Debussy, Wagner and Stravinsky on both the opera stage and concert platforms alike.

Andrew Foster-Williams’ career, initially built on his strong Baroque credentials, has in recent seasons moved towards more dramatic repertoire with successes as Pizarro (Fidelio) at Theater an der Wien and Philharmonie de Paris, and an unanimously praised debut as Telramund in Wagner’s Lohengrin under esteemed conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Festival de Lanaudière. A subsequent portrayal of Captain Balstrode in Christoph Loy’s divisive production of Peter Grimes at Theater an der Wien, alongside acclaimed performances as Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress) and Gunther (Götterdämmerung) have further enhanced an already highly regarded operatic profile. Other recent role debuts as Lysiart in Christof Loy’s staging of Euryanthe at Theater an der Wien under Constantin Trinks and as Kurnewal in Tristan und Isolde at La Monnaie under Alain Altinoglu highlight a dramatic capacity that has earned the respect of many stage directors as he ​“holds the attention of the audience with the energy of someone who has great experience, and with sensational vocal ability, which he uses with total freedom…” (Opéra). Opera performances in the current season include his role debut as Mr Flint (Billy Budd) at the George Enescu Festival under Hannu Lintu, and Donner (Das Rheingold) conducted by Alain Altinoglu in the first instalment of Romeo Castelluci’s new presentation of Der Ring des Nibelungen at La Monnaie.

Praised for his facility in the French operatic repertoire, recent roles include Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) and specially curated performances at Opéra National de Bordeaux to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Cervantes featuring music from Ravel’s Don Quichotte à Dulcinée and Massenet’s Don Quichotte under Marc Minkowski. Andrew Foster-Williams made his house debut at Opernhaus Zürich in 2021 as the Four Villains in Andreas Homoki’s setting of Les contes d’Hoffmann under Antonino Fogliani, roles he since has reprised in a new production at Gothenburg Opera and in Barrie Kosky’s fantastical staging at Komische Oper Berlin.

As a regular guest on the Opéra français series of the Palazzetto Bru Zane label, CD releases include Joncières’ Dimitri, Gounod’s Cinq-Mars, Saint-Saëns’ Proserpine, and Gounod’s Faust, winner of the Opera of the 19th Century category at the Opus Klassik 2020 awards. Boasting an extensive discography, other commercial releases include Beethoven’s Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II with San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) on SFSMedia, and The Seasons with Gabrieli Consort & Players (McCreesh) released on Signum and shortlisted for the 2017 Grammophone Awards. Performances captured on DVD include the Gramophone Award winning The Fairy Queen with Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Christie).

An impressive line-up of concert invitations has taken Andrew Foster-Williams to some of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors of our day. These include the Cleveland Orchestra/​Franz Welser-Möst, Salzburg Mozarteum/​Ivor Bolton, San Francisco Symphony/​Michael Tilson Thomas, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/​Richard Egarr, Hong Kong Philharmonic/​Edo de Waart, Gulbenkian Orchestra/​Lorenzo Viotti and the Sibelius Festival/​Dalia Stasevska. Foster-Williams offers a concert repertoire as diverse as it is broad which includes Bach’s St John Passion, Britten’s War Requiem, Schönberg’s Gurrelieder, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass and Mahler’s Symphony No.8. Concert highlights this season include Messiah with Orquesta Sinfonica de Castille y Leon (Egarr), Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with Houston Symphony Orchestra (Valčuha), St Matthew Passion with Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (Bolton) and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with Lahti Symphony Orchestra (Stasevska).

Anna Stéphany
Anglo-French mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany made her Royal Opera debut in the 2016/17 Season as Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier).

Stéphany was born in north-east England and studied at King’s College London and the National Opera Studio. She joined the ensemble of Zürich Opera House in 2012, with her roles for the company including Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) and Siébel (Faust). Further roles include Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) for Théâtre du Châtelet, Annio (La clemenza di Tito) for Bavarian State Opera, the title role in Charpentier’s Médée for Chicago Opera Theatre and Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) for the Bolshoi Theatre and Royal Swedish Opera.

In concert, Stéphany has performed with such ensembles as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia Orchestra, Ensemble Pygmalion, Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and La Scintilla, with conductors including William Christie, Laurence Cummings, Thomas Hengelbrock, Jakub Hrůša and Raphaël Pichon. Further performances include at the 2016 BBC Proms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski, Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Gabrieli Concert in Schaffhausen and Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra. Her recordings include the title role of Handel’s Serse with Christian Curnyn and Early Opera Company, nominated for a Gramophone Classical Music Award.

is a choir and period instrument orchestra founded and led by Artistic Director Paul McCreesh. We perform and record great choral, vocal and instrumental repertoire from the renaissance to the present day for the widest possible audience, cultivating an international reputation for excellence, innovation and ambition. Our mission is to educate the public, in every sense – to be standard bearers for the highest quality of performance, to explain, illustrate and illuminate the guiding principles behind our performance ideals and to offer first-class performance opportunities to young people through our bold and ambitious education programme, Gabrieli Roar.

Gabrieli’s interpretations strive to recreate the original performances of musical works as far as possible, in the belief that historical performance ideals and knowledge of the old world are essential for creating music anew. We seek to engage with and to explore the links between music from all periods. Through lively music-making, committed research and the production of ground-breaking recordings, Gabrieli’s mission is to challenge common and accepted perceptions of classical music, and to re-invigorate and innovate in order to sustain the relevance of these great pieces of art in the twenty-first century.

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