British mezzo-soprano Frances Gregory is a recent graduate of Royal Academy Opera. Last year she sang at Opera North as Apsara and La Messagiera (cover) in their critically acclaimed Orpheus, a re-imagining of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, musically directed by Laurence Cummings and Jasdeep Singh Degun.
Recently, she created the role of Laura in the world premiere of Tom Coult’s Violet at the opening of the 2022 Aldeburgh Festival, with further performances at the Hackney Empire and Buxton International Festival. The production was a collaboration between Britten Pears Arts and Music Theatre Wales, in association with the Royal Opera, and has subsequently been nominated for best Achievement in Opera by the UK Theatre Awards. Other recent roles include Nancy in Britten’s Albert Herring for Clonter Opera and Claudio in Handel’s Silla for Northern Opera Group/Leeds Opera Festival. Previously for MTW she covered and performed the mezzo-soprano role in Philip Venables’ European premiere of Denis & Katya, a co-production with Opera Philadelphia.
During 20/21 she was a studio artist with the Opéra National de Lyon and an emerging artist at Longborough Festival Opera, where roles included Maman, La Tasse Chinoise, and La Libellule L’Enfant et les sortilèges and the Fox and Dog The Cunning Little Vixen. She is a former Alvarez Young Artist at Garsington Opera where she covered and performed Flamel in Fantasio by Offenbach, and was one of Laurence Cummings’ Handel House Talents for 19-21. For her performance as Sycorax in Jeremy Sams’ pastiche The Enchanted Island with British Youth Opera in 2018, she was awarded the Dame Hilda Brackett Award from Sadler’s Wells.
Further operatic performances comprise Minskwoman Flight, Juno Semele, Véronique Le Docteur Miracle, Laura Iolanta (all with Royal Academy Opera), Egeo Teseo (London Handel Festival), Idamante Idomeneo (2018 Amersham Festival of Music), and Hansel Hansel and Gretel, directed by Sarah Walker CBE. Chorus work includes the 2021 Glyndebourne Tour, 2017 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival.
Whilst studying she was a Karaviotis scholar, winner of the 2018 RAM Club Prize and the Tom Hammond Opera Prize, a RAM/Kohn Foundation Bach cantata soloist, and a member of the Academy’s prestigious Song Circle. Prior to joining RAO she received a Distinction in her Masters from the RAM, as well as a DipRAM for an outstanding final recital. Notable engagements whilst studying included Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Trevor Pinnock as part of the RAM Bach: the European series, and her Wigmore Hall recital debut, promoting the Balladen of Carl Loewe, for Song Circle.
Engagements this season include singing the mezzo solo in Elgar’s The Music Makers for Buxton Musical Society, Flosshilde (cover) in a new production of The Rhinegold for English National Opera and in the summer she returned to Longborough Festival Opera with La messaggera and Proserpina L’orfeo. This season and 2024/25 Frances is one of the Rising Stars at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, including a London performance of Elgar’s Sea Pictures, and makes her debut at the Grange Festival. Other highlights include performances with the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh in Lucerne and the English Concert under Harry Bicket on tour in Spain.
“…but the most idiomatic, stylish singing comes from Frances Gregory in the small roles of the Messenger who brings the news of Euridice’s doom (it is a nice touch that Orpheus’s village-green tribute band blindly play on regardless) and as Proserpina, ideally warm and direct.” DAILY TELEGRAPH
“Mezzo Frances Gregory is particularly eloquent as Sylvia, who brings the heartbreaking news of Euridice’s death, and also as Proserpina, who persuades Pluto that Orfeo should take his wife back into life, with the binding condition that he should not look back at her.” THE GUARDIAN
“Our excellent Messaggiera was Frances Gregory, who has witnessed the death of Eurydice, and artfully delays relating this news, building the tension. Later she sang an impressive Proserpina.” BACHTRACK
“Come the Messenger, Sylvia, and everything changes. Frances Gregory (later to return as Proserpina) proves outstanding as the party-pooper who flips joy to grief, her rich mezzo aceing the tricky narrative of ‘In un fiorito prato’.” ARTS DESK
Claudio in Silla for Northern Opera Group ‘…I should pick out for special mention: Frances Gregory for her thrilling call to rebellion at the end of Act One…’- OPERA NOW
‘Equally sharply characterised and beautifully sung is the Claudio of Frances Gregory…’ – THE REVIEWS HUB
Laura in Violet for Britten Pears Arts/Music Theatre Wales: ‘Frances Gregory is a touching Laura, her timbre growing in richness as the maid gives voice to her thoroughly understandable fears.’ – ARTS DESK
‘Frances Gregory’s Laura hovered tantalisingly between escape and capitulation…’ – SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL
Fox Gold-Spur in The Cunning Little Vixen for Longborough Festival Opera: ‘Frances Gregory stood out playing both the Dog in the early part of the opera and the lover, Gold-Spur the Fox, in Act ii. The singing of the scene where the Fox and Vixen meet and mate was compellingly tender and erotic.’ – PLAYS TO SEE
‘Gregory’s finely modulated mezzo lent the Fox a suitably patrician air.’ – OPERA
‘The long duet between the Fox and the Vixen is superbly delivered by Julieth Lozano and Frances Gregory…’ – ARTS DESK
‘…the beautiful mezzo-soprano of Frances Gregory…both their Act ii meeting and moment alone in Act iii are highly moving.’ – MUSIC OMH
‘Lozano is a steely, assertive Vixen, rivalled only in this performance by the still more forceful projection of Frances Gregory as her lover, Gold-Spur the Fox…’ – CLASSICAL SOURCE
‘…piano playing and singing registered well, as in the tender first meeting between the Vixen (Julieth Lozano) and her Golden Fox suitor (Frances Gregory), both very winning in stage manner and voice.’ – BACHTRACK