British soprano Elinor Popham is a highly versatile young singer, living and working in London. She currently studies with Nuccia Focile, having recently graduated from The Royal Academy of Music with a Distinction in her MA. She was named as joint winner of the Isabel Jay Opera Prize in her first term, and was generously supported by the John Clemence Trust and the Sophie’s Silver Lining Fund. She performed the roles of Violetta, Mme Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor and Louise in the Academy Scenes Schowcases. Since graduating, she has also tackled the roles of Lucia (Opera Integra), Lucy (The Telephone, cover - Opera on the Move), Pamina (St. Albans Chamber Opera) and Najade (Uncovered Opera). She will cover the role of Violetta with Instant Opera later this year.
While previously reading English Literature at University of Warwick, Elinor studied with Theresa Goble and Rosalind Roberts. She was awarded the Trebarwith Choral Scholarship and was a frequent concert soloist, performing Tippett’s Child of Our Time and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, amongst other works. She also sang, often as a soloist, as a member of The Hampshire Consort, with Patrick Hawes and Bob Chilcott.
She was also given the opportunity to work with conductor and composer Paul McGrath, performing principal roles in the world premiers of his new transcultural works for Western and Chinese orchestra, Evidence Frontiérs, both at The Warwick Arts Centre and in Naples.
Some of her first roles included Street Singer La Rondine and Elise Louise for Opera Coast and Papagena Die Zauberflote for Piggot's Opera.
Elinor also performed regularly at the with Opera Warwick at the Warwick Arts Centre, as Rosalinda Die Fledermaus, Valencienne The Merry Widow and The Countess, a role which she performed whilst writing her dissertation on the opera itself after rehearsals!
Since graduating from Warwick, she has explored roles in scenes, such as Blanche de la Force and Chérubin Chérubin with Morley Opera, and also Gilda, Fiordiligi and Lauretta with Vox Integra in Feltre, Italy, with the invaluable guidance of Madelyn Renée, Maestro Mario Corradi and Maestro Paolo Vaglieri.
She made her London debut at Grimeborne Festival as Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge, receiving her first review from The Stage: ‘Popham’s lament on loneliness is especially poignant and vocally sophisticated.’
Elinor took on a real variety of creative and collaborative projects when working as a freelance singer, such as a performance art piece, exploring the relationship between the written word and the operatic voice, in collaboration with the Central School of Speech and Drama. She was also honoured to perform new compositions for voice and cello for the Mayor of Coventry. Elinor also presents recitals of operatic, jazz and musical theatre repertoire with her duo partner Alex Hall, as part of Ruby & Gold.
Before and throughout lockdown, Elinor performed as the Soprano Choral Scholar with Sloane Square Choral Society, singing solos from the Bach Magnificat and Charpentier's Messe de Minuit. A highlight of her time there was performing in the Fauré Requiem via Zoom, along with the rest of her friends and chorus members, a really uplifting experience. More recently, she has performed as a soloist in Handel's Messiah for choral societies such as the Hampton Singers.
Whilst at The Academy, Elinor gained further experience in concert and recital work and was recently invited to open the Alresford Arts Festival at The Grange Festival with a programme of opera arias. Most recently, she was selected by Richard Stokes to give of a recital celebrating the work and lives of artists, John Keats and Franz Schubert. This project combined her two great interests perfectly and she was honoured to perform at Bob Boas House and Lauderdale House.
Elinor has recently been awarded several exciting prizes, including the Opera Unmasked Aria Prize, and the North London and John Miller Young Recitalist Prizes, as well as Runner up of the inaugural Isobel Buchanan Award.
She was also one of the youngest semi - finalists, selected for the 2019 National Mozart Competition.
Whilst at college, she was awarded the Isabel Jay Prize and was Highly Commeded by Kate Royal in the Chissell Stephens Lieder Prize. She was also thrilled to be selected as a semi-finalist of the 2022 Somerset Song Prize.
Elinor has really valued the opportunity to work with artists and professionals such Roderick Williams, Madelyn Renée, Kathryn Harries (NOS) and James Clutton (Opera Holland Park) for the Opera in the City Festival. She was also invited to perform a selection of the Schumann Liederkreis Op.39 for Graham Johnson with duo partner, Stella Lorenz, a really valuable experience.
She has also been selected to take part in an invaluable week of workshops with British Youth Opera, working with William Kerley and Liz Rowe. Most recently, Elinor was lucky to take part in a workshop with Dr Jessica Walker and Glyndebourne Artistic Director, Stephen Langridge, discovering ways to collaborate and create new opera.
Elinor really made the most of her time at the Academy, despite the effects of the pandemic, continuing her training in preparation for a career in opera, once supported by Robin Bowman, and more recently, with Maestro Paolo Vaglieri, helping her develop a particular interest in Bel Canto repertoire. She has performed with the Royal Academy Opera as a Fairy in their recent production of Midsummer Night's Dream.
She has simultaneously worked as an Usher, Insights Runner and Learning and Participation Assistant at the Royal Opera House - inclusivity and outreach have always been a priority for her to promote as much as possible, first to fellow students at university and now, hopefully further. She is also finding ways to combine her passions for opera and literature by writing libretti for new operatic works, discussing current themes and featuring strong female characters.