16th August 2019

As we remember our wonderful singer and colleague, Arlene Thiel, we are delighted to be joined by two of her former students for a concert in memory of Arlene's love of music.

Born in Paris, Frédérique Varda is an artist with an atypical background. First attracted by dance, she then turned to theatre while pursuing management studies. She took her first singing lessons at the Schola Cantorum before studying with the Australian tenor Albert Lance, then studied for many years with the American soprano Arlene Thiel while following numerous Master classes. She made her debut in the roles of the soprano coloratura repertoire: Lakmé (Léo Delibes), Rosine (Le Barbier de Séville-Rossini), Gilda (Rigoletto-Verdi), Frau Herz (the theatre director - Mozart), Eurydice. (Orpheus aux Enfers-Offenbach) and finally the Queen of the Night of the Magic Flute (Mozart) in several productions. Her repertoire gradually evolved towards the roles of lyric soprano singing her first Violetta (La Traviata-Verdi), Norina (Don Pasquale) and Leïla (The Pearl Fishers-Bizet).

Simon Edwards was born in Harrogate, England After obtaining a degree in French, he moved to France and began to study singing with Arlene Thiel followed by Jane Rhodes and Jacques Mars. He quickly began to perform professionally in concerts of chamber music and oratorio singing his first operas, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte, in 1994 with Jean-Claude Malgoire. He has made recordings of over twenty operas for the labels; Philips, Auvidis, Arabesque, Mondo Musica and Dynamic, including La Gazza Ladra, recorded live at La Fenice. Simon Edwards recently recorded Songs from an Island Britten, Quilter ,Warlock with Actes Sud accompanied by Simon Lebens.

They will perform a varied programme including duets and solos.