Meet the Cast

Ashley Catling - Rodolfo

Born in Reading, Ashley Catling began his musical education as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and then as a music scholar at Leighton Park School, Reading. He studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tuition of William McAlpine and later continued his studies in advanced opera training at the National Opera Studio in London, where he received awards from the Friends Of Covent Garden, Sybill Tutton Trust and the Nelly Groner Foundation.


His operatic roles include Ernesto DON PASQUALE (New Zealand Opera)‚ Don Ottavio (Opera Zuid), Andres WOZZECK (Welsh National Opera), Gianetto LA GAZZA LADRA, Fenton FALSTAFF, Kudryas KATYA KABANOVA, Apollo ORFEO, St Brioche THE MERRY WIDOW (Opera North), Zweiter Priester & Erster Geharnischter Mann DIE ZAUBERFLOTE (Glyndebourne On Tour), Nanki-Poo THE MIKADO (Nationale Reisopera), John Millar Jnr in David Horne's FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE (Scottish Opera), Ferrando COSI FAN TUTTE (Garsington Opera), Rinuccio GIANNI SCHICCHI, Lurcanio ARIODANTE and Oronte ALCINA (English Touring Opera), Zotico ELIOGABALO (Grange Park Opera), Tamino DIE ZAUBERFLOTE, (Castleward Opera N.Ireland), Alfred DIE FLEDERMAUS (Lyric Opera, Ireland), Normanno LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR (Opera Holland Park) and Nadir LES PECHEURS DES PERLES (Dorset Opera). Other roles include Nemorino L'ELISIR D'AMORE, Carlo LINDA DI CHAMOUNIX, Pedrillo DIE ENTFURHUNG AUS DEM SERAIL and Jaquino FIDELIO.


Ashley has appeared on many concert platforms throughout the UK including The Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John's Smith Square, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Royal Concert Hall Glasgow and Birmingham Symphony Hall, where he has performed many of the major oratorio works. He has sung live as a guest soloist on 'Friday Night Is Music Night for BBC Radio 2 and can be heard on Operatic recordings by Chandos, Hyperion and Opera Rara.


Current and recent engagements include tours of The Netherlands with the Nationale Reisopera singing Gastone in LA TRAVIATA, Don Curzio in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, a tour of England, France and The Channel Islands with Diva Opera singing Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA and Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE, Hot Biscuit Slim in PAUL BUNYAN and Hermes in KING PRIAM for English Touring Opera.

(Biog - 2014)

Elizabeth Roberts - Mimi

Elizabeth Roberts studied at Newcastle University, winning the David Barlow Memorial Award for music.   Extensive oratorio performances keep her busy throughout the UK and have recently taken her to Rome (works by Bach, Mozart and Brahms), Spoleto (Vaughan Williams with the Berkshire (USA) Festival Choir), and Darmstadt (Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Philharmonie Südwestfalen under Wolfgang Seeliger).  In 2012 she performed Carmina Burana in Beijing with the Peking Sinfonietta for the International Festival Chorus’s 10th Anniversary Concert. 


She made her debut on BBC Radio 3 and at the Royal Festival Hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs Kong (Terror/First Woman) under Martyn Brabbins, directed by Kenneth Richardson.


Elizabeth also appears on two recordings with the BBC Symphony Orchestra:  Chausson’s Le roi Arthus under Leon Botstein; and Josef Marx’s Herbstchor an Pan under Jiří Bĕlohlávek. 


She made her Italian stage debut in 2006 as Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) (Vernon Mound director, Nicoletta Conti conductor) in Monteleone di Spoleto and touring Umbria. Other roles include:  Salome (Hérodiade) in Valladolid, Spain; Tosca (Tosca); Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly); Mimì, Musetta (La bohème); Contessa, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro); Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte); Adina (L’Elisir d’amore); Countess of Dunmow (A Dinner Engagement); The Plaintiff (Trial by Jury) and Mabel (Pirates of Penzance).


Elizabeth is also an accomplished recitalist and was one of seven singers selected for a week of intensive study with Malcolm Martineau at Crear, Scotland.  In November 2012 she premiered Keith Burstein’s cycle Songs of Love & Solitude with Julian Gallant at Pushkin House, London.  In December 2012 she gave a recital of songs by Strauss, Debussy and Weill with Kelvin Lim in the Crush Room of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


She was honoured to be chosen as soprano soloist at the entry of the Olympic Flame and lighting of the cauldron in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

(BIOG - 2014)

Pauls Putnins - Marcello

Latvian born Pauls Putnins was a member of Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir. After studying conducting in Riga and Jerusalem, he subsequently studied singing at the Trinity College of Music, London.


Appearances in operas include La Bohème for ENO (DVD from Warner Classics) and Opéra de Nancy, Lucia di Lammermoor for Opera Colorado, Denver and the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Carmen for New Zealand Opera, Don Giovanni for Latvian National Opera, Boulevard Solitude for Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa and for Gran Teatr del Liceu, Barcelona (DVD from EuroArts), The Rape of Lucretia in St Petersburg and Riga, Tannhäuser for the Gran Teatr del Liceu, Barcelona, I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Moscow Philharmonic. Opera engagements in the UK have included Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Fidelio, Peter Grimes, Idomeneo, Pélleas et Mélisande, Otello, Die Zauberflöte and Flight for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Fidelio for Garsington Opera, Madama Butterfly and Aida for Raymond Gubbay at the Royal Albert Hall, Flavio for the Early Opera Company, Ariadne (prologue) and La Traviata for the Birmingham Opera Company.


Pauls Putnins’ concert engagements include Beethoven 9th Symphony with Philharmonia, RPO, Bucharest and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras, Verdi Requiem with RPO, Cimarosa Il Maestro di Cappella with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Gounod Mors et Vita for Latvian National Opera, Charpentier Te Deum with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the world premiere of Brian Elias’ Talisman with the National Youth Orchestra at the Cheltenham International Music Festival. Pauls Putnins regularly appears in Latvia and the Baltic States as an oratorio soloist in works including Bach B Minor mass, St Mathew and St John Passions, Handel Messiah, with Latvian Radio Choir, Latvian state choir ‘Latvia’ and Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir. He recorded the premiere recordings of Gloucester in Meyerbeer’s Margherita d’Anjou and Ferrondo in Mercadante’s Maria Stuarda for Opera Rara and Walford Davies Everyman for Dutton.


Recent and future engagements include Petite Messe Solennelle on tour in Germany, France and at the Bregenz Festival, Angelotti Tosca ENO, Puccini's Edgar for New Sussex Opera, the title role in excerpts of Eugene Onegin  at the Barbican and Die Scöpfung in Kanazawa, Japan.

(Biog - 2014)

Natalie Montakhab - Soprano

Natalie studied at the Royal Academy of Music, RSAMD Opera School and ENO Opera Works. She studies with Lillian Watson. Natalie is the winner of the Norma Grieg French Song Competition 2011. She was awarded second prize at the Ye Cronies Opera Award 2011 and the Tony and Tanya Webster Russian Song Prize 2011. Other prizes include the Frank Spedding Lieder Prize Duo with accompanist Christopher Baxter and the ESU Scholarship Prize that sent her to study with Francois Le Roux for a month at the Ravel Academy in St Jean de Luz, France.


Operatic engagements include Papagena (and cover Pamina) DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE for Diva Opera, Second Woman in Purcell’s DIDO AND AENEAS in Aldeburgh with Christian Curnyn as part of the Britten Centenary celebrations and Vixen in Janacek’s THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN for Scottish Opera in collaboration with RSAMD. Other roles for RSAMD included Susanna LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (a role she subsequently shadowed for Scottish Opera) and Gretel in Humperdinck’s HÄNSEL UND GRETEL. She has also covered Zenna Briggs in Michel Van der Aa’s SUNKEN GARDEN, Papagena DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and Zerlina DON GIOVANNI for English National Opera


On the concert platform Natalie has sung at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (PEER GYNT SUITE), the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Bartok’s VILLAGE SCENES) and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (DIDO AND AENEAS) under Nicholas McGegan. Natalie has been a Britten-Pears Young Artist since 2007 and appeared as soloist in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Bach’s ST MATTHEW PASSION with Masaaki Suzuki and in recital (Britten’s ON THIS ISLAND) with Sir Thomas Allen. She sang in Samuel Barber’s KNOXVILLE SUMMER OF 1915 with Perth Symphony Orchestra in November 2010, Haydn’s THE SEASONS and a recital of Vaughan-Williams songs with the Scottish Opera Edington Ensemble. Natalie has enjoyed masterclasses with Lisa Milne, Felicity Lott, Ann Murray and Barbara Bonney. She performs regularly for and continues to support Music in Hospitals. Thanks go to Independent Opera, Dewar Arts Awards, the Kathleen Trust, the Karaviotis family and Bob Boas.


Performances in the 2013/14 season include Papagena for Opera Project and Opera Minima, Hen and cover Vixen for Garsington Opera, cover Marzeline FIDELIO for English National Opera and concerts across the UK.

(Biog - 2014)

Nicholas Merryweather - Schaunard

Nicholas Merryweather studied at University College London, the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne and on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was the winner of the Glyndebourne Wessex Award in 2008, the 2011 ETO Chris Ball Bursary, the 23rd Concours International de Chant de Clermont-Ferrand and the 2014 Armel Singing Competition in Budapest, Hungary.


In recent years he has sung the title roles in Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as Papageno, for Longborough Festival Opera, Handel’s Apollo e Dafne at the Wigmore Hall, the title role in Portugal’s The Marriage of Figaro at the Buxton Festival, Guglielmo, Blazes The Lighthouse and Mr Fox in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr Fox (all for ETO) as well as concerts with the Hallé Orchestra, RTE Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra.


His plans include a new production of the Fairy Queen at Middle Temple Hall, a recital for Opéra de Limoges and a return to English Touring Opera in Spring 2015.

(Biog - 2014)

Matthew Tomko - Colline

Matthew began his singing career as a student at the Conservatoire of Music in Bratislava , Slovakia with teacher Frantisek Malatinec (trained by Anna Hrusovska-Prosencova who was also a teacher of a soprano Lucia Popp). Shortly after graduating from his 6-year studies Matthew quickly gained recognition as an artist of exceptional expressivity in both operatic and concert field.

From 2006-2011 Matthew was a principal soloist at the National Theatre in Kosice, Slovakia, where he sang the roles such as Sarastro (The Magic Flute), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Zuniga (Carmen), Masetto (Don Giovanni) and many others. Between 2011 and 2014 Matthew toured with Co-Opera Co., Chelmsford Opera and English Touring Opera in the UK singing the roles of Sarastro and Speaker in the Magic Flute, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and covered Seneca in The Coronation of Poppea and Orestes in Jason.

Matthew is currently in his final year of the Vocal Graduate Diploma Course at the Royal College of Music in London.

(Biog - 2014)

Graham Stone - Benoit & Alcindoro

Graham has enjoyed a well travelled and varied career in Opera, Oratorio, Operetta, Musicals and Corporate Cabaret, and has even portrayed ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ in a TV commercial.


Career highlights include: Don Pasquale (Don Pasquale) in The Philippines, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Turkey; Pistola (Falstaff) at Teatro Farnese, Parma; Alcindoro and Benoit (La Boheme) for the Macau International  Festival and Orchestra of the Rome Opera; Kommisar (Der Rosenkavalier) and Bartolo (Le Nozze dio Figaro) for Scottish Opera; Wilfred Shadbolt (The Yeomen of the Guard) and the title role (The Mikado) for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre; Dick Deadeye (HMS Pinafore) for The Carl Rosa Opera Company in Australia and New Zealand; Dracula/Beckmesser (Horratorium/Let’s Fake an Opera) in the Gasteig Hall, Munich; Sacristan (Tosca) for the Holder’s Opera Season, Barbados; 2nd Cockney and Doolittle cover (My Fair Lady) at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris.

(Biog- 2014)