My involvement with music began at the age of eight, when I started piano lessons. My vocal talent was first noticed when I was 10 years old, and I then took part in many Gilbert and Sullivan school productions as well as the Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham music festivals.
I studied singing and piano at Winchester College of Art for three years and was then offered a place on the Opera course at the Royal College of Music. At the Royal College, I trained in all aspects of opera performance, including singing, vocal interpretation, movement, dance, improvisation, stage fighting and drama, and honed my skills in many performances in the College’s theatre. I graduated from the Royal College with the Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) Diploma.
In my final term, I had my first experience of the professional London stage when I took part in Faust and Tannhauser at the Royal Opera House.
My professional career has included:
- a year with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, touring England, Canada, and the United States, taking part in nine of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and gaining tremendous stage experience and vocal development through nightly performances of this technically demanding material
- two seasons with Opera for All (after the award of a bursary by the Vaughan Williams Trust) which included singing the major baritone roles of Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Count Ankerstrom in A Masked Ball, Dr Falke in Die Fledermaus, the title role in Don Giovanni, and Figaro in The Barber of Seville
- performing in various productions of The New Musical Theatre Company at the Westminster Theatre London. (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Mikado and Fiddler on the Roof) and a new national tour of Cameron Macintosh’s production of My Fair Lady
- a 6-year spell as a freelance singer, making my debut with Welsh National Opera in From the House of the Dead and then regular performances of principal roles in operas at the London Coliseum including Sailing Master in Tim Albery’s production of Billy Budd, Dancairo in Jonathan Miller’s production of Carmen, Don Juan in Ian Judge’s Don Quichotte and Dr Falke in Richard Jones’s Die Fledermaus. I also sang the roles of Fiorello in The Barber of Seville, Elviro in Xerxes, Junius in Rape of Lucretia, Harlequin in Ariadne on Naxos, Swallow in Scottish Opera’s Peter Grimes and a number of other roles with Castleward Opera, Opera North, and Garsington Opera
- two long periods in the Company of the English National Opera (1981-1991 and 1997-present), where my roles have included Melisso in Alcina, Donner in The Rhinegold, Benoit in La Boheme, Fiorello in Barber of Seville, Helmsman in Tristan and Isolde, Imperial Commissioner in Madame Butterfly, Mityukha in Boris Godunov and Nym in Sir John in Love
Over my career, I have been lucky to work with many acclaimed producers and conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Reginald Goodall, Jonathan Miller, Mark Elder, Colin Graham, David Poultney, Deborah Warner, David Alden, Richard Jones and Nicholas Hytner.
I have appeared in a number of recordings including Chandos’ Lulu, and released This Time It’s Love, a CD of popular romantic songs of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, which is available from this site.
I regularly perform as a soloist in concerts and oratorios. Recently I have sung with Bromley Philharmonic Choir and Sevenoaks Philharmonic Society in concerts and oratorios including the Verdi Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah – and have performed with Kentish Opera at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, Bromley’s Churchill Theatre and the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks.
I have been teaching for over 20 years, on top of my full-time singing job – and it’s something I really enjoy doing.
Music runs in the family as my daughter Laura is also a professional singer. Her website is at www.lauranapierburrows.com.