Helen Charlston – Mezzo Soprano
Monday 15 August 2022
“…the star of the show…like the best of desserts, her voice is creamy with a hint of sharp fruitiness…she wowed the audience.” Music OMH
Acclaimed for her musical interpretation, presence and “warmly distinctive tone” (The Daily Telegraph), Helen Charlston is quickly cementing herself as a key performer in the next generation of British singers. Helen won first prize in the 2018 Handel Singing Competition and was a finalist in the Hurn Court Opera Competition and the Grange Festival International Singing Competition. She was a “Rising Star” of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment 2017-2019 and a 2018 City Music Foundation Artist. In 2021, she joined Le Jardin des Voix Academy with Les Arts Florissants and the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Scheme and won the Ferrier Loveday Song Prize in the 2021 Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
This Season, Helen sings Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; the role of Irene in Theodora with the Philharmonia Baroque in San Fransisco; Handel’s Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Copenhagen; Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus with the RIAS Kammerchor at the Berlin Philharmonie and Sorceress/Spirit in Dido and Aeneas at The Grange Festival.
In 2020, Helen premiered The Isolation Songbook with Michael Craddock and Alexander Soares, which is a set of 15 newly commissioned songs and duets written during lockdown as a musical response to the changing world in which we found ourselves. In 2022, Delphian Records released her second album, Battle Cry: She Speaks with Toby Carr.
Recent concert highlights include Handel’s Messiah with BBC NOW and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; Bach’s Weihnachtoratorium with Casa da Musica; Mendelssohn – Lobegesang with the Royal Northern Sinfonia; Elijah with Orquesta Sinfonia de Galicia and solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Leeds Lieder, Oxford Lieder, Cheltenham Festival, York Early Music Festival, London Handel Festival, Handel-festpiele, Halle and Korcula Baroque Festival. In 2019/20, Helen made debuts with the Academy of Ancient Music, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra.
Operatic roles include Messaggera and Prosperina in L’Orfeo; First Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; Olga in Tchaikovsky – Eugene Onegin; Florence Pike in Britten – Albert Herring; Ino in Semele; Sara in Jonathan Dove – Tobias and the Angel and Dinah in Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. Helen created the role of Dido in the premiere of a new chamber opera based on Virgil’s writing about Dido: Dido is Dead, by the young composer, Rhiannon Randle and premiered the role of Anna in the opera Blue Electric by Tom Small.
Helen began singing as chorister and head chorister of St.Alban’s Abbey Girls Choir. She then studied music at Trinity College, Cambridge where she held a choral scholarship for four years and was a scholar on the Pembroke College Lieder Scheme, led by Joseph Middleton.