Astrid Joos is a Belgian soprano. She graduated from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2021 with a Master of Performance (Distinction). Prior to this she was part of the International Opera Academy (IOA) in Ghent as a young artist. During this time she made her opera house debut at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen as ‘Edelknabe 2’ in Lohengrin (Wagner), aswell as being part of their La Finta Giardiniera production as ‘Serpetta’ (Mozart). Other operatic highlights include singing ‘Susanna’ and ‘Barbarina’ in Mozart’s Le Nozze, ‘Pamina’ in his Zauberflöte, ‘Climene’ in Cavalli’s L’Egisto, ‘Woglinde’ in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, and ‘Clarijn’ in Hendrik Andriessen’s rarely performed Dutch opera De Spiegel Uit Venetië.
James is a graduate of the Artist Masters programme at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was supported by a Leverhulme Scholarship and the Chizel Education Trust. James’ recent operatic performances include: ‘Madwoman’ Britten Curlew River, ‘Tobias’ Dove Tobias and the Angel, ‘Male Chorus’ Britten The Rape of Lucretia, ‘Box’ Sullivan Cox and Box. He will also be appearing as ‘Aeneas’ Dido and Aeneas with HGO this year. As an oratorio soloist: Handel Joshua as ‘Joshua’ (forthcoming), UK premiere of Lidarti Ester, Haydn Creation, Bach St John Passion, Rossini Messe Solennelle, and Handel Messiah with the Britten Sinfonia. James also took part in the 2020-21 Nevill Holt Young Artist programme.
Benoît is currently studying towards a master’s degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Samantha Malk and Stephan Loges. Previously, he studied at the Conservatories of Lyon with Marcin Habela. He received 2nd young artist prize at the international competition Jeunes talents en Normandie 2022. He was Finalist at Vivonne competition in 2021. On stage he was Chairman Walsingham in Cesar Cui’s A feast in time of, Le Cicérone in Jean Françaix’s Paris, à nous deux!, and Germont in a French version of La Traviata, Ben in Menotti’s the Telephone, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Valentin in Hervé’s Petit Faust.
William Stevens is a singer and conductor. He studied singing with Donald Maxwell at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His highlights on stage include the title roles in Le nozze di Figaro and Sweeney Todd, Fasolt (Das Rheingold), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Olin Blitch (Susannah), Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring) and Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola) as well as other roles by Mozart, Donizetti, Sullivan, Puccini, Janáček and Dallapiccola. He is Artistic Director of Cardiff Opera and Musical Director of Cardiff Chamber Orchestra and The Idris Consort with whom he has conducted major works by composers such as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Donizetti.
Julia Mariko Smith
English-Japanese soprano Julia Mariko Smith graduated from the RNCM in 2020. In 2021 she appeared as Gretel Hansel and Gretel (Waterperry Opera Festival), Fredrika A Little Night Music (Buxton Opera Festival) and in recital with Dame Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton (Leeds Lieder Festival). In 2020 she covered and performed Barbarina The Marriage of Figaro, Fairy Godmother in the film Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella (Opera North) and Ellie in the film Man in the Moon (Charles Court Opera). In 2019 she performed Soeur Constance Dialogues des Carmélites at RNCM Opera and toured as principal/ensemble with the National G&S Opera Company.