2021-22 season

Saturday 11 December 2021


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J. S. Bach: Mass in B minor


Soprano: Rachel Speirs 

Scottish Soprano Rachel Speirs is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music where she won the Betty Bannerman Award for French Song 2020 and the Kennedy Strauss Award 2019 adjudicated by Simon Keenlyside. Whilst at the RNCM Rachel was also a finalist in the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Prize 2020, and sang roles including Maria Bertram (Mansfield Park), Suor Osmina (Suor Angelica), and Voice of a Bird (The Pilgrim’s Progress). Recent engagements include Mrs Nordstrom at Buxton International Festival, a recital of French Song in the Clonterbrook Music Room, Chorus with Grange Park Opera and Wexford Festival Opera (cancelled due to COVID), and 10 Musical Postcards with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Rachel works extensively in outreach and education, in particular with people with dementia, and was recently appointed Co-Director of SoundUp Arts CIC. In 2021/2022 Rachel will sing Lotty in Retrospect Opera’s recording of G.A. MacFarren’s opera The Soldier’s Legacy before joining English Touring Opera in Spring 2022, singing in the chorus and as a principal in their opera for audiences with special educational needs.

Rachel Speirs appears by kind permission of the RNCM.

Mezzo: Rebecca Anderson 

Rebecca Anderson is a Scottish mezzo-soprano who has recently graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with an MMus. Recent opera credits have included Minskwoman in ‘Flight’ (RNCM Opera); Lapak ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ (RNCM Opera); Sœur Anne de la Croix ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’ (RNCM Opera); Phyllis ‘Iolanthe’ (Cat-like Tread at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe); Noémie ‘Cendrillon’ (Fife Opera); Constance The Sorcerer’ (Cat-like Tread at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe); and Mrs Grose The Turn of the Screw’ (Byre Opera). Rebecca was also part of the Young Artists’ Programme at Waterperry Opera Festival in the summer of 2021.

During her time as a student at the RNCM Rebecca was the recipient of the Emmanuel Prize, a finalist for the Frederic Cox Award, and was Highly Commended in the English Song Prize. Previously, Rebecca was a member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus’ Young Singers’ Programme for 2 seasons working with internationally renowned conductors such as Richard Egarr, Maxim Emelyanychev, and James Macmillan. Additionally, in 2018 Rebecca was part of the Dunedin Consort’s flagship scheme ‘Bridging the Gap’ touring across Scotland in a concert series conducted by Ben Parry.

Rebecca is also an avid conductor. This year she is working with Siân Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music as part of the Sorrell Woman’s Conducting Programme and was also part of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Women Conductor’s Initiative in 2017.

Rebecca is currently working as the Students’ Union President of the RNCM.

Rebecca Anderson appears by kind permission of the RNCM.

Tenor: Philip O’Connor 

Philip’s main musical education began at Wells Cathedral School. Subsequently, Philip then worked at Hereford Cathedral, culminating in the Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester in 2013. In 2016, Philip graduated from Manchester University gaining a 1st in Solo Performance under Andrew Heggie. Since his arrival in Manchester he has been the Decani Tenor at Manchester Cathedral with whom he has sung many live broadcasts, most recently the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Philip is currently in his studying for his Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Studies after having received a Distinction in his MMus at the Royal Northern College of Music and studies under Sarah Rhodes. As well his studies, he is also a freelance performer and teacher in the Greater Manchester area and sings regularly with the BBC 4 Daily Service Singers. Recent highlights include the role of Bill in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for RNCM Opera and a recital at Wigmore Hall as part of In Focus: Errollyn Wallen. Philip has been generously supported by The Mario Lanza Foundation and The Garner Howard Award during his time at the RNCM. His PGDip course is being funded by South Square Trust and Sophie’s Silver Lining Fund.

Philip O’Connor appears by kind permission of the RNCM.

Bass: Jordan Harding 

Jordan is a versatile baritone whose repertoire spans the opera and concert stages, lieder, English song and the Great American Songbook. He is an MMus graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied under Matthew Best, and a BMus graduate in Music from the University of Manchester.

Jordan’s stage roles include Townsperson in The Orphans of Koombu (Buxton Festival Opera) Herald in Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress, (Royal Northern College of Music), Silvio in Pagliacci (City of Manchester Opera) and The Prisoner in Louis Ashton Buttler’s The Ephemeral Legend, a role he created for Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera. In concert, highlights include Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis and Missa in tempore belli.

Jordan has an affinity for poetry which is reflected in his love of song. In his first post-pandemic recital, he performed Mahler’s Ruckert Lieder, Ireland’s Five Songs on Poems by Thomas Hardy and Ravel’s Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, alongside related songs by Clara Schumann and Rebecca. He is looking forward to returning to the stage this year as live performances resume.

Jordan Harding-Pointon appears by kind permission of the RNCM.

Coming up in 2022:

March 2022 

  Programme TBC

April 2022


11 June 2022

        J S Bach: Cantatas 92 and 125


  16 June 2022

        J S Bach: Cantatas 92 and 125 at Nicolaikirche, Leipzig (Bach Festival 2022)

This page will be updated as further details become available and/or changes have to be made to the schedule.