John Mark Ainsley has appeared with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors, including the London, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco Symphony orchestras and the London, Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonic orchestras, with Davis, Haitink, Mackerras, Charles Dutoit, Masur, Norrington, Rattle and Abbado. He has performed on stage with the Glyndebourne Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Theater an der Wien, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Teatro all Scala Milan, Oper Frankfurt and Bayerische Staatsoper, with the Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence and Edinburgh festivals, and the BBC Proms. He has recorded extensively for the major labels and was nominated for a Gramophone Award. He won the Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award, and is a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2016 John Mark was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Fortunately this was an early diagnosis and with ongoing treatment the prognosis for his general health is very good. However, he has decided that it is time to retire from public performance. It is still very much his intention to remain involved with singing and performing through teaching, adjudication and master classes.

Louise Alder studied at the Royal College of Music International Opera School where she was the inaugural Kiri Te Kanawa Scholar.

She is a member of Oper Frankfurt’s Ensemble where her roles in the 2018/19 season include Romilda Serse, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Gretel Hänsel und Gretel and Monica in a new production of Menotti’s The Medium. She also makes débuts at the Teatro Réal, Madrid in the title role of La Calisto and at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich as Gretel.

On the concert platform she sings the title role in Theodora at the BBC Proms with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen; the title role in Semele on tour with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Messiah with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in performances staged by Frederick Wake-Walker; Carmina Burana with the LPO and Jérémie Rhorer; Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the RLPO and Vasily Petrenko; Jessie in Turnage’s The Silver Tassie with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Ryan Wigglesworth; Mozart Arias in Salzburg with the COE and Robin Ticciati and The Plaintiff in Trial by Jury with the OAE and John Wilson.

Azerbaijani soprano Dinara Alieva graduated at the Baku music academy and joined the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as soloist in 2010. She has won prizes at the Operalia Competition, Francesco Viñas Competition and Maria Callas Competition, and has since performed with the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Hamburgisch Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, Staatstheater Stuttgart and Bayerische Staatsoper. Ms Alieva’s growing discography includes Pace mio Dio, a CD of Italian opera arias for Delos Records, and a recording of great Italian love duets with Alexandr Antonenko.

Engagements for the 2018/19 season and beyond include Elisabeth Don Carlos at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Nedda Pagliacci at the Liceu Barcelona and Liu Turandot for the Wiener Staatsoper, as well as her debut appearances with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Violetta) and Paris Opera (Cio Cio-san Madama Butterfly).

Baritone & Director

Sir Thomas Allen

Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. He has sung over fifty roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; in 2012 he celebrated his 40th anniversary of his debut with the company. An acclaimed recitalist, he is equally renowned on the concert platform and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.