Award winning soprano and actress Michelle Todd was born and raised in the mining town of Sutton in Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, England. She began singing in the church choir and school productions and started taking voice lessons at the age of 10 with Pamela Cook. Her early performing years were as a member of the multi award winning ensemble Cantamus with whom she sang in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Hungary and Bulgaria. She continued her voice studies with Margaret Field at Sheffield University, where she completed a B.Mus. (Hons) degree and continued with a two year postgraduate course of voice and opera studies at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Her voice teacher there was Noelle Barker with whom she continues to work today.
She made her London recital debut in the Purcell Room as a winner in the Park Lane Group series of recitals. This was followed by performances in The Queen Elizabeth Hall, twice as guest soprano with "The Hans Eisler Ensemble " and on two British Arts Council Tours. She performed Faure's Melodies de Venise with the "New London Ballet" in Oxford and York and sang Schoenberg's 2nd String Quartet for the "London Contemporary Dance Theatre" on tour. Other appearances included soprano with "Threeway" Music Theatre in Bristol, London,and Wales, also Judyth Knight's song cycle based on Jean Rhy's novel "Quartet" for "Songscape". She sang excerpts from Mozarts La Finta Semplice for the popular Royal National Theatre Foyer Concerts, and twice was guest "star singer" for BBC's "Friday Night is Music Night." She has been soloist in the major sacred works of Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Hadyn, Mozart, Faure, Resphigi, Scarlatti and Karl Jenkins.
Her roles in London Theatres, include "H.M.S. Pinafore", (Old Vic Theatre London, and Manchester and Belfast Opera Houses), Stephen Sondheim’s "Follies", (with Dame Diana Rigg, and Julia Mackenzie, Shaftesbury Theatre,), "Little Me" (with Russ Abott, Prince of Wales Theatre), "The Sound of Music" (with Petula Clark, Apollo Victoria Theatre), also"Little Shop of Horrors", and "Pravda" (Leeds Playhouse) and "Bless the Bride" and "Twelfth Night" (Exeter Playhouse).
A residency at the Banff Centre, Canada included performing the role of Daisy in the Western Canadian premiere of the opera "Shivaree" and the musical "Sasha"( directed by Colin Graham and conducted by Steuart Bedford)) She has starred at The Shaw Festival ("Good News","Nymph Errant" and Ionesco's "Bald Primadonna ") The Citadel Theatre Edmonton (Terence McNally's "Master Class", "Hello Dolly") performed across Canada in recital with the voice/harp duo Amata and was profiled for Bravo! Television. Favourite roles in North American theatres include "My Fair Lady" (Eliza) "Oklahoma" (Laurey) "Cinderella" (Queen) "Masterclass" (Sharon) "Side by Side by Sondheim" and "Move Over Mrs. Markham" (Mrs. Markham) also nine leading roles in productions for Stage West including "Moon over Buffalo"(with Cindy Williams), "Don't Dress for Dinner" and "Cash on Delivery" (with "Allo Allo's" Guy Siner) and "It Runs in the Family" (with M*A*S*H's William Christopher)
Renowned for her interpretation and interest in contemporary works, she has presented more than forty world premieres including soloist in music composed by or directed by John Beckwith, Allan Gordon Bell, Michael Boudreau, Gavin Bryars, John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, George Crumb, Quenten Doolittle, David Eagle, Judyth Knight, Brent Lee, Hope Lee, Elizabeth Maconchy, Stephen McNeff, Kelly Marie Murphy, Marc Patch, William Pura, Laurie Radford, Robert Rosen, Roberta Stephen, Ray Twomey, Owen Underhill, and Judith Weir.
Her North American appearances in oratorio and chamber music include guest soloist with many Canadian ensembles including Mount Royal Woodwind Quintet (Murray Schaeffer, Minnelieder) Beau Quartet, Kensington Sinfonia, (Vivaldi and Bach arias), Calgary Festival Chorus, (Bach St John Passion, Resphigi's Laud to the Nativity) Lands End Chamber Ensemble (Schoenberg Pierrot Lunaire) Aubade Chamber Ensemble (Schubert chamber arias) also The Parry Sound Festival and the Newfoundland Sound Festival, (Robert Rosen Canyon Shadows) Okanagan Symphony (Christmas Favourites) and in concert with Canadian guitarist Rachel Gauk. As soloist with the Calgary chamber group Ensemble Resonance, Michelle has performed across Canada and represented Canada twice at the Cantai Festival in Taiwan as performer, adjudicator and masterclass voice teacher.
In 2001-2006 she moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Whilst there she performed the recently discovered "Gloria" by Handel , "Messiah" , Susanna in "Marriage of Figaro" (Abu Dhabi Chamber Choir at Abu Dhabi National Theatre ) sang recitals at the American University of Sharjah and at the worlds only 7 star hotel Burj Al Arab. Film goers may recognise her singing voice from various commercial sound tracks. A special firework display was choreographed to her singing live for the opening ceremony of the Ibn Battuta Mall.
Her performances have included many private corporate events for clients as diverse as the Norwegian Formula One Boat Racing Team, Christies of London, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Scintilla Monaco, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise. In 2004 she presented recitals in Kerala, India and the 2005 season included conducting choral performances at Csehy Music School in Philadelphia, U.S.A In 2007/8 she released a solo cd of classical sacred arias titled "Grace Notes' which continues to prove popular on itunes and many music websites and was nominated in both the Covenant and Unity Awards
Recent seasons have included performances of 18th century American songs for Handel House Museum performed in the intimate ambience of Handel's personal music room, soloist in Denmark and Rome,Christmas programmes with Noel Tredinnick and the All Souls Orchestra, Michelle's "Reel Music" orchestral programme of Oscar-nominated songs with Scarborough Spa orchestra, recitals in St Giles -in -the Fields, and Regent Hall, London, the role of Gertie Lawrence in "A Cavalcade of Coward", and The Actress in Molnar's "The Guardsman." In 2009 she made her solo debut with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in The Andrew Lloyd Webber Experience. The 2011 season included her debut with The City of London Sinfonia in London's newest concert hall, Cadogan Hall, Paul McCartney's Ecce Cor Meum in Canada and a recording of Canadian avant garde music with Ensemble Resonance which was nominated for a Best Classical Recording.
Throughout her career Michelle has taught either privately or at colleges, including Mount Royal Conservatory and has been music /vocal supervisor for numerous musical theatre perfomances.
Michelle now travels between Canada and England for solo and theatrical work and is soprano with the new classical crossover trio "Arria".
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