Praised for her “warm mezzo” (The Telegraph) and “velvet-voice” (Daily Telegraph), British-Spanish mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons recently made critically acclaimed house and role debuts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Siébel in David McVicar's production of Faust and as Hel in the world premiere of Gavin Higgins The Monstrous Child at the Linbury Theatre.
Upcoming highlights in the 2019/20 season include her house and role debut at English National Opera as Eurydice Woman in Daniel Kramer’s new production of Birtwisle’s The Mask of Orpheus, her house debut as Jennie Hildebrand in Weill Street Scene for Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and her return to the Teatro Real, Madrid for Vlasta in The Passenger. In concert she will perform Elgar Sea Pictures with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Stravinsky Pulcinella with the CBSO, appear at the Three Choirs Festival, and return to the BBC Proms.
Recent operatic highlights for Fontanals-Simmons include Amando Le Grand Macabre with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Alan Gilbert, Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Jennie Hildebrand Street Scene at the Teatro Real, Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro for Garsington Opera and at the Théâtre Champs Elysées, the title role La Cenerentola for Diva Opera, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for the Glyndebourne Tour and for Grange Park Opera.
On the concert platform, recent highlights include the European premiere of Alasdair Nicolson Shadows on the Wall (Five Hauntings) at the Barbican, Berlioz La Captive with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Verdi Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music with Sakari Oramo at the Last Night of the Proms, Mendelssohn Elijah with CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Stéphane Denève and the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Mozart Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach Mass in B Minor with Ryan Wigglesworth at the St Endellion Festival, Handel Messiah with Lawrence Cummings at the London Handel Festival, Stravinsky Les Noces at Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Haydn Harmoniemesse with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In recital, she has performed with artists including Roger Vignoles, Simon Lepper and Iain Burnside.
A keen exponent of contemporary music, Fontanals-Simmons premiered the role of Ursula in the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne co-production of David Bruce Nothing, recorded two new songs cycles (Damsel/Wife/Witch by Glyndebourne composer-in-residence Lewis Murphy and Letters from Home by award-winning composer Benjamin Ellin), and performed Jonathan Harvey Songs of Li Po with Richard Baker at the Barbican which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Fontanals-Simmons trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she was awarded the Gold Medal, and was a Jerwood Artist at Glyndebourne for the 2015/16 season.
Romeo I Capuleti e I Montecchi *
Nancy Albert Herring *
Hippolyta A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Lady Essex Gloriana *
Kate Owen Wingrave
Lucretia The Rape of Lucretia
Paggio Francesca di Foix
Pinocchio The Adventures of Pinocchio
Ellie The Calling of Maisy Day
Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel
Woodpecker/Fox The Cunning Little Vixen
Charlotte Werther *
Nerone L’incoronazione di Poppea *
Dorabella Così fan tutte *
2nd Lady Die Zauberflöte
Sesto La clemenza di Tito *
Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro
Public Opinion Orpheus in the Underworld
Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly
Dido Dido & Aeneas
Cat/Squirrel L'enfant et les sortilèges
Ruggiero Orlando Generoso
Drummer-Girl Kaiser Von Atlantis
Jennie Hildebrand Street Scene *
Mass in B Minor
St John Passion
St Matthew Passion
Sieben frühe Lieder
Les nuits d’été
A Charm of Lullabies
12 Poems of Emily Dickinson
Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire
Trois Chansons de Bilitis
Siete canciones populares Españolas
The Music Makers
Mass in C Minor
Vesperae solennes de confessore
Shadows on the Wall
Canciones Clásicas Españolas
Petite messe solennelle
Frauenliebe und -Leben
The laurels must go to… Marta Fontanals-Simmons as Cherubino, possessed of a voice with highly individual character matched by natural dramatic instincts which, quite simply, made you forget she was acting.
Marta Fontanals-Simmons, a mezzo of tremendous promise, was superb as Ursula, forced into some horrific bargaining as the nominations get personal and she descends into madness. This young singer possesses a lovely, even tone allied to great stage presence.
Marta Fontanals-Simmons's Pinocchio has real star quality: she may be playing a puppet but there's nothing wooden about this young mezzo-soprano's fabulous performance.