Elin Manahan Thomas is one of the most versatile sopranos of her generation. Since releasing her début album ‘Eternal Light’ in 2007, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, she has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals, and with leading orchestras and conductors. Perhaps most famously known for her performances of baroque masterpieces, Elin is equally at home performing classical and contemporary works.
Elin has performed across Europe at major venues and festivals, including: the Edinburgh festival, St John’s Smith Square, Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Casa de Musica in Porto, Zurich Tonhalle, and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
In 2008 Elin gave the World Première of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem in Liverpool Cathedral (also recorded for EMI), and later premiered his Love Duet at the Manchester International Festival in 2013. Elin sang in the premiere of Karl Jenkin’s ‘Cantata Memoria’ in October 2016, written to commemorate the Aberfan disaster 50 years earlier; the piece was also released on Deutsche Gramophone records. In May 2018 she was honoured to perform at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Credit AP Wilding Photography
Her recordings range from the renaissance to Handel to Elgar and beyond, and 2016 saw the release of a CD of songs by Morfydd Llwyn Owen (previously unrecorded) for Ty Cerdd, and Karl Jenkins’ Cantata Aberfan for Deutsche Gramophon, alongside Bryn Terfel. Summer 2018 saw the release of an album of songs by Welsh composer/pianist Dilys Edwards (‘Mae hiraeth yn y môr’/Ty Cerdd), in celebration of Edwards’ birth centenary year.
In addition to her singing and presenting, Elin is a passionate advocate of music education, and is an ambassador for Sing Up. She has led choral workshops with Eric Whitacre, masterclasses at RWCMD, University of Oxford, children’s concerts with LPO and OAE, and children’s operas with Children’s Music Workshop. Elin is an Honorary Fellow at RWCMD, and at the Universities of Swansea and Bangor. She is an Ambassador for leading Welsh jewellery brand Clogau.
Alex Haigh started his musical education in Hull University reading Music and Drama. Following this, he has studied with Trinity Laban conservatoire (Masters in Vocal Performance), trained with the Associated Studios in Hammersmith, ENO’s ‘Opera Works’ and The Berlin Opera Academy. He performs regularly as an opera singer, oratorio artist, consort singer and coaches vocal groups as an animateur.
Alex works alongside the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, The Bach Choir, London Youth Choir and Grange Park Opera as an outreach workshop facilitator.
On stage, he has worked with Merry Opera, Grange Park Opera, The Grange Festival, Kentish Opera, Guildford Opera, Fulham Opera, Kings Head Theatre and Hampstead Garden Opera to name a few. Future plans include Riccardo in Verdi’s ‘Un Ballo in Maschere’ with Guildford Opera.
James Oldfield trained at Trinity College, Cambridge and at the Royal College of Music, London. In July 2009, he completed an Artist Diploma in Opera at the Royal College of Music International Opera School. James' awards and scholarships included the Eric Joseph Shilling Prize for Opera, the RCM Sir Thomas Allen Scholarship, the inaugural Independent Opera/Royal College of Music Scholarship (2008), a Sybil Tutton Award administered by the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and the 2010 Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera.
In 2010 James made his professional debut with Garsington Opera as Figaro in 'Le nozze di Figaro', and since then has performed with Gothenburg Opera (Nick Shadow in 'The Rake's Progress'), The Royal Opera House (Ludd in 'Ludd & Isis') and Opera North (Achilla in Handel 'Giulio Cesare'). As a seasoned concert soloist, he has performed with the Hallé, RTE Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the Northern Sinfonia. James' debut with the Huddersfield Choral Society (Handel 'Messiah') was released as a live recording by Signum Records.
Valentine Ford, Soprano, started singing at the age of five with the Choeur Charles Brown. She joined the Conservatoire of Caen where she studied cello, piano and singing, while also studying Pharmacy at the University of Normandy. She sang with the Caen Chamber Choir and Veni Vidi Canto Ensemble, and had the opportunity to play Pauline in Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne and Siste Mathilde in Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmelites.
After graduating, she moved to the UK to work in clinical research. She continued her musical studies under Tim Travers-Brown and sang with Henley Choral Society and the Choir of the Parish of St Barnabas and St Thomas in Oxford in 2017.
Valentine sang with Aliquando Chamber Choir and was offered several solo opportunities which she accomplished with great flare. She won the Bell Canto Cup for most outstanding soloist at the Marlow Music Festival
She is now pursuing the MA in Music Solo Voice Ensemble Sing with Robert Hollingworth at the University of York where she sings with The 24, the University of York Chamber Choir, the Chimera Ensemble, the Yorkshire Bach Choir and the Ebor Singers.
She studies under Alex Ashworth