Catherine Backhouse, Samuel Bordoli, Alexey Gusev, Patrick Milne, Ellen Murgatroyd, Alex Otterburn and Laura Zigmantaite.

Scottish Opera has welcomed a talented new group of Emerging Artists for the 2017/18 Season: Catherine Backhouse, Samuel Bordoli, Alexey Gusev, Patrick Milne, Ellen Murgatroyd, Alex Otterburn and Laura Zigmantaite.

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme offers young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers. Initially set up to nurture outstanding young singers, the programme now also includes positions for a repetiteur, costume trainee and a composer in residence.

Mezzo-soprano Catherine Backhouse, The Robertson Trust Scholarship Emerging Artist, hails from Edinburgh and began singing as a chorister in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. She graduated with an honours degree in music from Durham University and gained a distinction in the Opera Studies and Artist Diploma programmes at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. This year, Catherine takes on the role of Annina in Scottish Opera’s La traviata, which opens the 2017/18 Season, and goes on the road with Opera Highlights tour next spring.

Samuel Bordoli, Composer in Residence, is creating a new work entitled Wings for Opera Highlights which will have its world premiere in September. Samuel began composing and conducting at an early age, with his first orchestral work performed at the Bedford Corn Exchange when he was aged sixteen. Samuel held the Mendelssohn Scholarship and the Manson Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music and was mentored by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years after studying with him at Dartington International Summer School. He went on to gain a BMus (Hons) at Birmingham Conservatoire. BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service and ITV News have broadcast his work and Samuel was the first composer to create site-specific compositions for Monument and Tower Bridge in London when his Live Music Sculptures were featured in the City of London Festival in 2012. Other collaborations include creating an opera to be performed on the Caledonian sleeper train between London and Aberdeen with Tête à Tête and Sound Scotland.

Baritone Alexey Gusev is from Rostov-On-Don in Russia and graduated from the Rostov State Conservatoire with a degree in Voice, Opera and Concert Singing. He joined the Rostov State Opera and Ballet Theatre as principal baritone, where he remained for seven years. In 2013-14, Alexey sang principal roles for the Astrakhan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet before taking up a scholarship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and made his debut in Scotland as Napoleon and Andrey Bolkonsky in Prokofiev’s War and Peace. Alexey is one of this Autumn’s Opera Highlights cast members and will perform in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta in The Sunday Series: Opera in Concert in October. He will also perform in the Company’s productions of Ariadne auf Naxos and Eugene Onegin in Spring 2018.

Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Emerging Artist Patrick Milne is the Emerging Artist Repetiteur and will be Music Director and pianist on the Spring dates of Scottish Opera’s Opera Highlights tour, which travels to smaller, more remote venues around Scotland. A pianist and conductor with a particular interest in opera, he is about to complete his masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama having previously graduated from Clare College Cambridge with a Double First in Opera Making and Writing. During his studies at Cambridge, Patrick held an Instrumental Award, won both the main concerto competitions and formed the Alba Orchestra.

As a prize-winning pianist at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, Patrick has performed as a soloist and as a collaborative pianist in venues such as Barbican Concert Hall and Cadogan Hall. Since graduating, Patrick has studied on the repetiteur course at the Solti Accademia in Venice and has worked as Assistant Conductor and Repetiteur for a number of opera companies including three seasons at Grange Park Opera, where he was Assistant Conductor for Tosca, Jenufa, La Fanciulla del West and Eugene Onegin.

Elizabeth Salvesen Costume Trainee Ellen Murgatroyd trained at The University of Northampton, where she was awarded distinction in the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, and at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she graduated with a 2.1 BA (Hons) in Costume Construction. She has worked at The Royal and Derngate in Northampton on productions including The Grapes of Wrath and The Addams Family and at Garsington Opera. She also completed an internship at Glyndebourne. With a passion for historical garments, Ellen will work on Scottish Opera’s Season 2017/18 productions in the Costume Department, headed by John Liddell.

Having just completed his final year at the Royal Academy of Music, baritone Alex Otterburn recently performed the role of Eddy in Mark Anthony Turnage’s Greek, a co-production between Scottish Opera and Opera Ventures which opened at Edinburgh International Festival. Alex gained a first class degree in Economics from the University of Manchester before embarking on his studies at the DIT Conservatory in Dublin. A 2014 winner of the International Opera Awards bursary, the following year he made his European concert debut as Curio (Giulio Cesare) at the Concertgebouw with the Symphonie Atlantique and as Schaunard in La bohème with the Lyric Opera in Ireland. This Season, Alex will perform in Scottish Opera’s productions of La traviata and Ariadne auf Naxos as well as reprising his role in Greek at Theatre Royal Glasgow next year.

Lithuanian mezzo-soprano Laura Zigmantaite studied at the Academy of Music and Theatre of Lithuania, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio, London. Despite being at an early stage in her career, Laura has already performed numerous roles including Valetto in L’incoronazione di Poppea, The Third Lady in The Magic Flute and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. She won first prize at the Giovanni Musicisti competition in Italy, the Isabel Jay Prize and the Mozart Singing Competition. This Season at Scottish Opera, Laura will perform the roles of Flora Bervoix in La traviata, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos and sing in The Sunday Series: Opera in Concert performance of Iolanta.

The Emerging Artists singers will perform two recitals, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in December and at the University of Glasgow Concert Hall in January.

The Emerging Artists are supported by The Robertson Trust, The John Mather Charitable Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Elizabeth Salvesen and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors.