People

Christopher Cowell stage director

Christopher’s international work has taken him to Chicago Opera Theatre for Semele and Il Viaggio a Reims, to Danish National Opera for Il barbiere di Siviglia and to Århus Sommeropera for their productions of Elskovsdrikken and Cosi fan tutte. In Copenhagen he has directed the site-specific Opera i Underverden. He directs regularly at the Royal Opera Academy there as well as for Den Rullende Opera, of which he is the Artistic Director. He has also directed in France, Portugal and Ireland.

2008 saw his début at the Royal Opera House, directing a revival of Les Contes d’Hoffmann. The ROH also commissioned a new adaptation and production of La Cenerentola for the Linbury Theatre. For Glyndebourne Touring Opera he has directed La Traviata, Le Comte Ory and Rodelinda.

Domestically, he has directed productions of Agrippina, Poro and Atalanta for the London Handel Festival, Rameau’s Acante et Céphise and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snowmaiden for UCO and Cendrillon for the Royal Academy of Music. Early in his career he forged a long-term association with Surrey Opera, for whom he has directed Hansel and Gretel, Faust, Die Fledermaus, Turandot and The Flying Dutchman and most recently the world première of Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s rediscovered opera, Thelma.

Gregory Rose music director

Gregory has a wide international experience of orchestral, operatic and choral conducting. He is Music Director of the Jupiter Orchestra, Jupiter Singers and Singcircle, and has conducted the London Philharmonic, St Petersburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestras. Gregory studied with Hans Jelinek, and later with Egon Wellesz, both former pupils of Arnold Schoenberg. He has appeared in festivals throughout Europe, including two BBC Proms. Gregory has recorded for many international television and radio stations, and has made highly acclaimed recordings for Chandos, Hyperion, Wergo, Continuum, Naxos, Da Capo and October Music. His recent compositions include a large-scale music-theatre piece, Danse Macabre, which received enthusiastic reviews following its premiere in Tallinn, Estonia. His performance of Verdi’s Requiem in Sri Lanka in 2009 was attended by an audience of over 2,000. He is a professor of conducting and staff conductor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Gregory Rose has conducted Toshio Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear (UK premiere), Berthold Goldschmidt’s Beatrice Cenci (British stage premiere), Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts, Samuel Barber’s Vanessa, Nino Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze, a national tour of Bizet’s Carmen, Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha (British stage premiere), Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress, Prokofiev’s Maddalena, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, Jonathan Harvey’s Come, Stockhausen’s American Indian Songs, Paul Barker’s Wall, and A Ronne by Berio. He was Chorus Master for 1993/94 Wexford Festival Opera productions of Tchaikovsky’s Cherevichki, Ferdinand Hérold’s Zampa, Demon by Anton Rubinstein, La Bohème by Leoncavallo, and Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot, Harrison Birtwistle’s Masque of Orpheus, Kurt Weil’s Der Kuhhandel, and assistant conductor for Milhaud’s, Satie’s Socrate and Weill’s The City of Mahagonny. For Opera Coast: Verdi’s La Traviata, Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress, Tchaikovsky The Queen of Spades, Massenet Manon.

Nigel Foster pianist

Nigel Foster is one of Britain’s leading accompanists. He has played for singers including Roderick Williams, Sarah Walker, Yvonne Kenny, Ailish Tynan, Louise Winter, Stephen Varcoe, Jeremy Huw Williams, James Gilchrist, Elizabeth Watts, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Ruby Hughes, Marcus Farnsworth, Anna Devin and Gillian Keith, and for instrumentalists including violinist Madeleine Mitchell. In his formative years he played for Graham Johnson’s Songmakers’ Almanac and with conductors including John Eliot Gardiner and Georg Solti, working with singers including Renee Fleming, Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.

Nigel is the founder, director and pianist of the London Song Festival, an annual event promoting the song repertoire. In addition to featuring internationally known artists, the Festival acts as a major showcase for young up-and-coming singers.

Nigel studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won every prize and award available for piano accompaniment. His teachers have included Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson and Iain Burnside.

Nigel has recorded several CDs of songs and anthologies. He is featured on the soundtrack of films including L’Homme est une Femme comme les Autres starring Antoine de Caune. He has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and has appeared on television in several European countries. Nigel performs extensively abroad, having played in most European countries, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, the USA, Canada and South America. In 2015 Nigel was appointed a Steinway Artist.

Dr Nicole Panizza pianist

Nicole has emerged as one of the UK’s leading vocal accompanists, recitalists and coaches. Her professional work encompasses both international and national forums. Nicole studied at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, South Australia before continuing her postgraduate studies in London with Malcolm Martineau and Roger Vignoles. She has recently completed her Doctorate of Music at the Royal College of Music. Nicole was a staff repetiteur for the Australian season of Phantom of the Opera, Opera Australia and the Cologne and Covent Garden Opera Awards.

In London, she worked as Education Manager for the Royal Opera House. In Ireland she held positions as a staff member of Dublin Institute of Technology (Conservatory of Music and Drama), University College Cork and CIT Cork School of Music and was an examiner for the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Nicole has been the recipient of many awards and bursaries including the Royal College of Music’s Doctoral scholarship (2005) and the Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship (2009) at the internationally renowned festival Songfest in Malibu (U.S.A). In the same year she was awarded an Irish Fulbright Award (Performing Arts) which enabled her to pursue her Doctoral research as a Visiting Fellow at both Harvard University and Manhattan School of Music (USA). She has given key lectures and performances at such venues as the National Concert Hall (Ireland), Oxford University, Cambridge University, University of Edinburgh (U.K), University of Bonn (Germany), National University of Singapore, University of Adelaide (Australia), Amherst College (USA), the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and St James’ Piccadilly in London. Nicole currently holds the position of Co-Course Director/Senior Lecturer in Music Performance at Coventry University (UK).

Anastasia Witts

Anastasia Witts founding director

As the founder and the managing director of OperaCoast, Anastasia coordinates and oversees both day-to-day running of the company and its strategic development. She is responsible for curating our artistic programmes and for their practical implementation. She is the first point of contact and the driving force behind our projects.

From a young age Russian-born Anastasia received extensive music education, alongside her university degree in Slavonic Linguistics and Philology. She combined her teaching career as a Russian tutor, working with the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross in her native Northern Caucasus during the Chechen wars, as well as teaching foreign students at Druzhby Narodov University (PFUR) in Moscow, with an editorial and consulting career in web-development and marketing. As an editor and copywriter, she contributed to creating web-presentations in Russia for a number of international corporations, such as Samsung, Nokia, Hewlett-Packard, and Renaissance Capital.

Having moved to the UK in 2004, Anastasia has also had a chance to realise her long-standing love for opera and classical singing by performing in concerts, recitals, and opera productions. Her in-depth knowledge of Russian language, literature, history and music allows her to help singers working on Russian repertoire through extensive music and language coaching, including singers at Glyndebourne and National Opera Studio. Together with Christopher Cowell she was involved in creating the first English translation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snowmaiden. She successfully combines her work for OperaCoast with a teaching position at Sussex Downs College, Lewes, East Sussex.

Board of Trustees

Dr Nicole Panizza (chair)

Peter Bronder

Ruth O’Keeffe

Robert Fenner

William Oastler