Emily studied with Linda Hirst and Robert Bottriell at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, graduating with 1st class honours in performance in 2017. She took leading roles in two operas there – creating the role of Madge in Stephen McNeff’s Banished with Jessica Cottis, and singing Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea conducted by Nicolas Kraemer. Both performances saw Emily singled out in the national press as “one to watch”. Fiona Maddocks wrote in the Guardian and Observer that Emily was a performer who “stood out as already knowing how to use her dramatic and vocal skills to the utmost.”
Since graduating in July 2017, Emily has performed as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall St. Paul’s, Kings Place, and the Purcell Room. Her recent work includes the role of Lady Bertram in Jonathan Dove’s ‘Mansfield Park’ for Waterperry Opera Festival and the role of Mrs Grose in Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ for Bury Court Opera. Further highlights for 2019 include working at the Royal Albert Hall once more as the mezzo soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, appearing as the alto soloist at Lincoln’s Cathedral in Elijah, and reprising the role of Lady Bertram for Waterperry’s 2019 season.
She was the recipient of the City Livery Club Prize for Excellence. In March 2018 she was the recipient of the Christopher Ball Second Prize and the Audience Prize at the John Kerr Award for English Song and in June 2018 she won the second prize in the AESS Patricia Routledge English Song competition. Emily performed at the London Song Festival in November 2018 with her duo partner, Nicole Johnson. She was a young artist in Leeds Lieder 2016 and toured with Catherine Bott playing a young Jane Austen, in John Morrison’s ‘A History of England’.
She also achieved success at an earlier age when she was named BBC Radio 2 Choir Girl of the Year 2000. She went on to record the album “Passiontide” for Naxos to critical acclaim, and has since released solo tracks under Chandos Movies and Divine Art Recordings Group.
Covid-19 saw the postponement of her English National Opera debut this year, when she was due to cover and sing the role of Kitchen Boy in ‘Rusalka’. Recently, she has recorded twice for BBC Radio 3 documentaries, the last being performances of songs by John Foulds and is currently working on two CDs, featuring the songs of Michael Head and Eric Thiman and a second of songs by Herbert Howells and York Bowen. She has just been the soloist in a concert at Baroquestock with the Istante Collective.
“Emily Gray was an immensely sympathetic Mrs Grose, younger than is usually cast she was clearly not in the same social class as the Governess, and Gray made Mrs Grose’s need for approbation and friendship of the Governess key to the character. It was a riveting performance which helped to redefine the opera.”
“Gray, with her powerful honeyed mezzo, brings unusual expressivity and intensity to the housekeeper, who seems to have a crush on the Governess.”
“As in Stephen McNeff’s Banished last year, the mezzo-soprano Emily Gray stood out, a memorable Ottavia vocally and dramatically. She’s not afraid to take risks, as witness her barely voiced ‘Addio Roma’, the first syllable endlessly stammered as she struggled to utter her farewell. Given such command and her distinctively grainy mezzo, Gray is a charismatic singer-actress to watch.”