Grace Durham is an award-winning young mezzo-soprano and currently a member of the Junges Ensemble at the Semperoper Dresden, 2017-19. Born in London, she trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Susan Waters before joining the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Patricia Hay. She then spent a year as a National Opera Studio Young Artist 2016-17. Awards include the Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize 2016, Second Prize at the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2015, Audience Prize and “Banque Chaix” Prize at the Opéra Grand Avignon Jeunes Espoirs competition 2015, and First Prize and Audience Prize at the GSMD Chartered Surveyors’ Award for Voice 2014. She also holds a first-class honours degree in Modern and Medieval Languages from Clare College, Cambridge.
Grace's roles at the Semperoper in 2017-18 include Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro, Second Lady Die Zauberflöte, Mercédès Carmen, Lucienne Die Tote Stadt and Paggio Rigoletto. During her studies, operatic roles also included Dorabella Così fan tutte (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Rosina The Barber of Seville (Bloomsbury Opera), Owl The Cunning Little Vixen (Garsington Opera) and Hermia A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shadwell Opera). As a member of the Glyndebourne Chorus in 2015 and 2016, Grace covered the role of Frantík The Cunning Little Vixen and sang in productions of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Béatrice et Bénédict, Le nozze di Figaro and Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
Grace is also an active recitalist both in the UK and abroad, and particularly in the French 20th-century repertoire. She recently made her recital débuts at the Les Journées Ravel festival in Montfort-L’Amaury, the Printemps de l’Académie Ravel in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and at the Opéra Grand Avignon. In 2015, she was awarded the Académie Ravel Grand Prix for her performances of Ravel’s Shéhérazade and invited composer Thierry Escaich’s Visions Nocturnes, and together with French-Canadian pianist Juliane Gallant devised and performed Sous le ciel de Paris, a cabaret concert celebrating Francis Poulenc, Jean Cocteau and Edith Piaf, at the St James Studio in London. As a concert soloist, her repertoire includes Mozart Mass in C Minor, Bach Mass in B Minor, St John Passion and St Matthew Passion, Mahler Resurrection Symphony and Duruflé Requiem.
During the 2018-19 season at the Semperoper, Grace will reprise the roles of Cherubino, Second Lady, Lucienne and Paggio, and will make role débuts including Flora Bervoix La traviata and Clare in the German première of Philip Venables' 4.48 Psychosis.
"...I was particularly struck by mezzo Grace Durham, a natural performer who communicated particularly persuasively..." (Brian Dickie)