A Queen’s School alumna is flying high in acclaimed film director Mike Leigh’s English National Opera (ENO) production of The Pirates of Penzance.
After leaving Queen’s in 2007 Angharad Lyddon, from Wrexham, began a four-year Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she graduated with first class honours in 2011. After being awarded a full scholarship, she stayed on to complete a two year Master of Arts course, graduating with distinction and then went to study at the Royal Academy Opera.
She first performed the role of Kate in The Pirates of Penzance in 2015.
Angharad said: “During my first year on the opera course the casting directors from English National Opera came into the Academy to do a workshop on auditioning. I was very busy with a production at the time but my singing teacher encouraged me to go along and we each sang two arias and gave them our CVs for critiquing.
“The next day I received an email asking me to come and audition for the role of Kate in The Pirates of Penzance. I turned up not knowing what to expect, except that my chances of getting such a role were probably quite low as surely the world and his wife must be auditioning too.
“Mike Leigh was in the audition and after I sang he took me aside and asked me to do a cold reading of a Gilbert poem. At that moment I was very grateful for my Stagecoach musical theatre and LAMDA training where this sort of thing happens as a matter of course as in the opera world it’s very rare.
“It went well and then Mike asked me how I felt about playing ‘posh’ and I said, with the best enunciation I could muster: 'That wouldn’t be a problem at all. I went to an independent school for girls!' The next day they offered me the role!”
In addition to the ENO role, Angharad has managed to build up a significant repertoire.
She has been a soloist for various Choral Societies around the country, performed in the chorus at Glyndebourne in La Cenerentola and played the role of ‘prostitute chicken’ in the premiere of Melly Still’s production of Janáçek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
Angharad was even asked back to Glyndebourne to be one of their Jerwood Young Artists, four young singers chosen every year to receive extra coaching and performance opportunities during the festival. It was at this time she made her début as 2nd Bridesmaid in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
She has played the title role in The Rape of Lucretia with the Royal Academy Opera, was also a member of the Academy Song Circle and was chosen to perform in a recital at Wigmore Hall and has secured further roles including 3rd Lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute in Turku, Finland, and won 3rd prize at the Das Lied International Song Competition in Berlin.
Angharad will be performing locally in Cheshire in July when she stars in The Marriage of Figaro for Clonter Opera Theatre in Congleton. And after that in Jonathan Dove’s new orchestrated version of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park for The Grange Festival in Hampshire.