Katie Bray

Mezzo-soprano

"Yet it is the bright young mezzo Katie Bray who really impresses here, showing both the emotion and colour of voice to support Rosina’s challenging range..."

Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

"The most strikingly successful element of the evening was Katie Bray’s fresh-faced and ingenuous Charlotte. Her olive-toned mezzo projects cleanly... Here is a name to remember."

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

"Katie Bray’s mezzo is richly spiced and colourful in potent performances of the Zemlinsky."

Hugo Shirley, Gramophone

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Winner of the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019, British mezzo-soprano Katie Bray has become known for her magnetic stage presence and gleaming, expressive tone.

Recent roles for Opera North include Hansel Hansel and Gretel, Rosina Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Varvara Katya Kabanova, Louis XV Chair/Female Cat/Owl L’enfant et les sortilèges, Lola Cavalleria Rusticana, and Nancy Albert Herring and she has also sung for Irish National Opera (title role, Griselda) English National Opera (Daughter Akhnaten and The Way Back Home), Scottish Opera (Lucilla La Scala di seta), Welsh National Opera (Zerlina, Don Giovanni), Garsington Opera (Zulma L’Italiana in Algeri and Zaida Il turco in Italia), Opera Holland Park (Mallika Lakmé), English Touring Opera (Zenobia Radamisto, Minerva Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Satirino La Calisto) and at the Grimeborn Festival (Charlotte Werther). She also recently performed in a staged cabaret of ‘songs banned by the Nazis’, Effigies of Wickedness, at the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, in collaboration with English National Opera.

Equally at home on the concert platform, Katie Bray has performed in prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, and the Holywell Music Room and she appears regularly in the London English Song Festival, where she directed concerts at Wilton’s Music Hall, as well as at the Oxford Lieder Festival for which she recorded a disc of Schumann songs with Sholto Kynoch. Other recent highlights include a semi-staged version of Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch with Christopher Glynn and Roderick Williams at Milton Court Concert Hall and Ryedale Festival, and the premiere of new monodrama Frida with the East London Music Group.

Katie Bray is particularly noted for baroque repertoire and has appeared with Barokksolistene and Bjarte Eike, Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, La Nuova Musica, Ludus Baroque, London Handel Orchestra and Laurence Cummings, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, and Spira Mirabilis. She has also appeared with orchestras including the Britten Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Chambre de Paris, and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra.

The 2020/21 season will include role debuts as Siebel Faust for Welsh National Opera, and Isolier Le Comte Ory for Garsington Opera. Other highlights include Judas Maccabaeus with RIAS Kammerchor, and concerts with the Dunedin Consort, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Bach Choir, The English Concert, and at the Oxford Lieder Festival. Further ahead, Katie will make her role debut as Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia for Potsdamer Winteroper.

Katie Bray graduated as a Karaviotis Scholar from the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the Principal’s Prize and won First Prize in the Richard Lewis Singing Competition.

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Le Comte Ory (Isolier)

Garsington Opera, July 2021

Andrea Carroll is most persuasive as the Countess, and Katie Bray perhaps even more so in the trouser role of the page Isolier.

David Mellor, Daily Mail

Bray makes a fine Isolier, knowing and spirited

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

The cast goes for it in a big way, and everyone is so comprehensively on top of their game, vocally, that the technical achievement barely registers...The whole company is equally agile, whether it’s tenor Jack Swanson as Ory or Katie Bray as the amorous pageboy Isolier

Richard Bratby, The Spectator

Katie Bray brought her usual energy to the trouser role of Isolier, showing a graceful line and delicate articulation.

Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack

Boulogne, Handel & Mozart (streamed concert)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, January 2021

Bray is a superb singing-actress, catching the controlled desperation of the aria, urged on by Maximiliano Martin’s obbligato clarinet, before releasing into the unbounded exhilaration of the Laudamus – an injection of purest musical joy.

Alexandra Coghlan, iNews

Bray made a lovely Sesto, stylish and vibrant, singing with a great sense of line yet intensity too and I am now keen to hear her in the full opera! She followed this with the 'Laudamus Te' from Mozart's Mass in C minor, coping with the music's virtuoso challenges with admirable freedom and elan

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

Hers is a voice that combines the heightened thrills of the soprano with the soulful pungency of the lower tessitura. And where this impassioned aria – Sesto’s blind, reckless love overruling common sense – displays Bray’s range of emotional heat, what follows, the Laudamus Te from Mozart’s Mass in C minor, is a brilliant showpiece for an exceptional singer.

Ken Walton, VoxCarnyx

At Lunch Two with Freya Waley Cohen

Britten Sinfonia, Wigmore Hall (January 2020)

it inspired Waley-Cohen to write music as wild, energised and volatile as her subject matter. There was a folk-dance feel at times, but also a manic freneticism, particularly in the (I think) sardonic final song, Spell for Logic, which recalled Shostakovich at his most unhinged. Not comfortable listening, but striking and superbly put over by the mezzo-soprano Katie Bray and the virtuoso principals of the Britten Sinfonia.

Richard Morrison, The Times

Griselda

Irish National Opera (October 2019)

Accordingly, one of this production’s three main triumphs is that all six singers – led by the mezzo Katie Bray as Griselda – are virtuosos. Each calmly navigates Vivaldi’s mercilessly instrumental-style high-speed leaps and running figures with jaw-dropping flair and security, simultaneously communicating anger, heartbreak and inner conflict, among other emotions, with great credibility.

Michael Dungan, The Irish Times

Bray’s steely portrayal of the queen is one of the most intriguing aspects of the production. Tough and scrappy, in the pugilistic sense, the audience award winner at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition slices through the Vivaldian vocal runs, such as in ‘Ho il cor gia lacero’, a true expression of the lead character’s rage and frustration.

Toner Quinn, The Journal of Music

Katya Kabanova

Opera North (February 2019)

Katie Bray's engaging Varvara frolicked prettily in love but found sympathy and more serious tone when with Katya

Martin Dreyer, Opera Magazine

At the end of Act 2, Varvara and her lover, the teacher Kudryash, get the one simple strophic melody of the opera: Bray and Alexander Sprague sang it beautifully, more credible young lovers than I’ve seen in many a year on an opera stage

David Karlin - bachtrack

Katie Bray Opera Repertoire

BERLIOZ

Béatrice et Bénédict (Béatrice)

BIZET

Carmen (Carmen)

BRITTEN

Albert Herring (Nancy)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia)
The Rape of Lucretia (Lucretia)

CAVALLI

La Calisto (Satirino)

CHABRIER

L'Etoile (Lazuli)

CONTI

L'Issipile (Eurinome)

DELIBES

Lakmé (Mallika)

GOUNOD

Faust (Siebel)

HANDEL

Radamisto (Zenobia)
Xerxes (title role)

HUMPERDINCK

Hansel and Gretel (Hansel)

JANACEK

Katya Kabanova (Varvara)

MASCAGNI

Cavalleria Rusticana (Lola)

MASSENET

Werther (Charlotte)

MAXWELL-DAVIES

Kommilitonen! (Wu)

MONTEVERDI

Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (Minerva)
L'Incoronazione di Poppea (Poppea)

MOZART

Cosi fan tutte (Dorabella)
Don Giovanni (Zerlina)
La Clemenza di Tito (Sesto / Annio)
Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino)
Die Zauberflöte (Second Lady)

PURCELL

Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

RAVEL

L'enfant et les sortilèges (L’enfant; La bergère Louis XV; La chatte; La
chouette)

ROSSINI

Barber of Seville (Rosina)
Il Turco in Italia (Zaida)
La Cenerentola (Angelina)
L'Italiana in Algeri (Zulma)
La Scala di seta (Lucilla)

ULLMANN

Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Drummer Girl)

VIVALDI

Griselda (title role)

WEILL

Die Dreigroschenoper (Polly Peachum)
Die Sieben Todsünden (Anna)

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