MEET THE TEAM
Founder and Artistic Director
Critically praised as an ‘inspiring’ conductor with a ‘substantial future ahead of him’, Cumbrian-born Joe Davies is Musical Director of the Ripieno Players, Leamington Sinfonia, Worcester Philharmonic Orchestra and Abney Orchestra; Artistic Director of Cumbria Opera Group and CoMA East Midlands; and a Musical Director for Barricade Arts and SLAM Theatre. Highlights include collaborations with Laura van der Heijden, Jess Gillam, and Xhosa Cole; MD credits include Candide at the Oxford Playhouse, How to Use a Washing Machine at the Edinburgh Fringe, and Acis and Galatea, Venus and Adonis and Dido and Aeneas with the Cumbria Opera Group. Joe graduated with a first-class degree in music from St Peter’s College, Oxford, before studying orchestral conducting at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under Michael Seal.
Joan Rodgers CBE
Joan Rodgers is equally established in opera, concert and as a recitalist. She has appeared in concert with conductors including Solti, Barenboim, Mehta, Harnoncourt, Mackerras, Ashkenazy, Salonen, Rattle, Elder and Bolton. She has appeared in recitals and concerts throughout Europe and the USA. Operatic engagements have included performances at all the major UK opera houses as well as in Paris, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Her many recordings include albums of songs by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Wolf, Fauré and Mozart and the three Mozart Da Ponte operas with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Joan Rodgers received the Royal Philharmonic Society award as Singer of the Year for 1997, the 1997 Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance in opera for her performance as The Governess in the Royal Opera’s production of The Turn of the Screw and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Liverpool University in July 2005. Joan Rodgers was awarded the CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List.
Lucy's love of music began when she joined her parish church choir aged eight, and she first became involved with opera when singing the titular role in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas while at school. At university, she sang with Schola Cantorum of Oxford and held choral scholarships at Keble College and Wolfson College Oxford. Lucy graduated with a degree in Biochemistry in 2019, and has since enjoyed learning the ropes of running an opera company.
Director, Jazz Opera Double Bill
Jonny read Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford. He has worked with the Royal Opera House (Faust) and British Youth Opera (Scoring a Century), assisting Keith Warner. Direction credits include large-scale productions of Don Giovanni, The Cave, Candide, and world-premieres of works by Toby Young and Joel Baldwin. He is the artistic director of international theatre company Barricade Arts, and has acted professionally under directors Polly Findlay (Twisted Tales, Lyric Theatre) and Steven Daldry (Billy Elliot, Victoria Palace Theatre). Jonny works as a freelance director, composer and designer in London, recently staging his own score of The Tempest for chamber ensemble and live electronics.
Director, Così fan tutte
Persia trained as an Actor Musician at Guildford School of Acting. Since graduating, she has begun a varied career in the performance industry, including performing in London’s West End, composing music for theatre with collective Jupiter Creatives and co-directing and producing Swallows and Armenians at Theatre by the Lake.
Persia began working with the Cumbria Opera Group in 2017, co-producing Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, then directing John Blow’s Venus and Adonis in 2018. Persia is honoured to have been asked to direct Così fan tutte in the inaugural Cumbria Opera Festival.
Jen Hartley grew up near London and had piano lessons with Graeme Humphrey. She studied Music at Cambridge University where she also did her PGCE, and completed a research MA at York University. She is a secondary school Music teacher, an active composer, an amateur conductor and a teacher of piano, composition and theory. Jen has written music for choir, chamber ensemble, orchestra, musical theatre and ballet, and recently had a piece recorded by Ora Singers as part of their 2019 Christmas Gift collection. She is currently a PhD student at the RNCM, looking at critical creativity through the lens of improvisation.