"The lively British mezzo Grace Durham, the only one of 30 to make it to the final, won the audience over with her presence and imagination" (Le Dauphiné Libéré, Opéra Grand Avignon Jeunes Espoirs competition 2015)
Grace Durham is an award-winning young British mezzo-soprano and a member of the Junges Ensemble at the Semperoper Dresden, 2017-19. Born in London, Grace began her studies as a linguist, graduating in French and Italian from Clare College, Cambridge in 2012, before continuing her singing training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the National Opera Studio. She was the winner of the Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize 2016, 2nd Prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2015, and Audience Prize and Banque Chaix Prize at the Opéra Grand Avignon’s inaugural Jeunes Espoirs competition in 2015.
As a member of the Semperoper Junges Ensemble, Grace’s roles in the 2017/18 season included Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro, Mercédès Carmen, Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte and Lucienne Die Tote Stadt; in 2018/19, she will continue in these roles while making additional débuts as Flora Bervoix La traviata and Clare in the German première of Philip Venables’ 4.48 Psychosis. Previous operatic roles include, as extracts performed with the National Opera Studio, Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia, Annio La clemenza di Tito and Prince Charmant Cendrillon at Scottish Opera, Opera North and Welsh National Opera respectively; Cherubino and Dorabella Così fan tutte in full productions at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; and Hermia A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shadwell Opera.
An accomplished recitalist and concert singer, particularly in the French 20th-century repertoire, Grace recently made her recital débuts at the Opéra Grand Avignon, the Printemps de l’Académie Ravel festival in St-Jean-de-Luz and the Les Journées Ravel festival in Montfort-L’Amaury, where her repertoire included Ravel Shéhérazade. In 2015, she was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Académie Ravel, and in 2013 devised and performed Sous le ciel de Paris, a cabaret concert celebrating the 50th anniversaries of Francis Poulenc, Jean Cocteau and Edith Piaf, at the St James Studio in London. Grace also performs regularly as part of the Semperoper’s Semper Soiree recital series. As a concert soloist, her repertoire includes Mozart Mass in C Minor, Bach St Matthew Passion, St John Passion and Mass in B Minor, Mahler Symphony no. 2 and Duruflé Requiem.
"I was particularly struck by mezzo Grace Durham, a natural performer who communicated particularly persuasively" (Brian Dickie)