Acclaimed for her musical interpretation, presence and “warmly distinctive tone” (The 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. She was a Rising Star of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment 2017-2019 and is a 2018 City Music Foundation Artist.
Recent concert highlights include Handel Messiah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Mendelssohn Lobgesang with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Paul McCreesh; her debut at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona (Bach Matthew Passion/Gabrieli Consort and Players); solo recitals as part of Barbican Sound Unbound 2019 and at York Early Music Festival, London Handel Festival, Händel-festspiele Halle, Korčula Baroque Festival, Leicester International Music Festival and Fitzrovia Festival.
This season Helen makes debut with Academy of Ancient Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Il Gardellino, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, as well as joining Fretwork for a solo recital programme at Wigmore Hall and York Early Music Christmas Festival. Helen will premiere the full role of Anna in the newly completed opera Blue Electric by Tom Smail and will continue her commissioning project of lute songs with duo partner Toby Carr.
Operatic roles include Messaggera & Prosperpina/L’Orfeo (Monteverdi), First Witch/Dido and Aeneas, Olga/Eugene Onegin, Florence Pike/Albert Herring, Ino/Semele, Sara/Tobias and the Angel (Dove) and Dinah/Trouble in Tahiti (Bernstein). Helen created the role of Dido in the premiere of a new chamber opera based on Virgil’s writings about Dido: Dido is Dead, by young composer Rhiannon Randle.
Often heard on BBC Radio 3 in live concert relays, Helen features on recordings of Bach B Minor Mass (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Trinity College Choir), and Bach Actus Tragicus & Himmelskönig sei willkommen (Amici Voices/Amici Baroque Players), both available from Hyperion. The “mesmerising delivery” of her aria in BWV 182 on the Amici Voices CD was singled out by Gramophone Magazine as the highlight of the recording. This season she will record John Eccles Semele (Juno) with Cambridge Handel Opera Company and the Academy of Ancient Music.
Helen began singing as chorister and head chorister of the St Albans 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.