Penelope Randall-Davis' dramatic coloratura voice is known both for the breadth of its range, and its natural facility in the upper register, which has inevitably led to engagements in particularly high-lying and difficult operatic roles.


In her 'signature' role of the Queen of the Night in 'Die Zauberflote' she has appeared all over the world. Having sung the role in England for Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and English National Opera, in 2004 Penelope made her italian debut with Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Teatro all'Opera di Roma in Pier Luigi Pizzi's production. A huge critical and public success- both in the theatre and in a televised open-air performance-led to other engagements: in recent seasons she has sung the role with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Sydney Opera House (again with Maestro Gelmetti); at La Fenice in Jonathan Miller's production, for New Zealand Opera in Gerald Scarfe's attractive production, and with Opera Atelier and Tafelmusik in Toronto, for which she was nominated for a Dora award.

She has also appeared in the role for  West Norwegian Opera, Oper der Stadt Koblenz, Opera North in Tim Supple's popular production, and in Opera Holland Park's production with Dr Jane Glover and Simon Callow.

A graduate of Durham University, Penelope obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Studies from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Funded by the Countess of Munster and Ian Fleming Trusts, she then studied in Munich for 2 years.

A particular affinity for the Verdi coloratura roles has resulted in many and varied appearances as Violetta (Opera Swansea City/Opera South-East), and as Gilda in a touring production of Rigoletto for Interopera. More recently Penelope appeared as Alcina in the newly-formed Barefoot Opera’s inaugural performances at the Arcola Theatre in London-and in the film made about this project by award-winning film-maker Nicola Bruce.

Concert and oratorio

Penelope has appeared as soloist at the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Brighton and Dijon Festivals, and made her South Bank debut in the Purcell Room in Keith Burstein's 'Prayer for Peace'. Many and varied oratorio engagements have included: Bach's St Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Gianluigi Gelmetti and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, frequent appearances in Orff's 'Carmina Burana', Mozart's Mass in C Minor, Poulenc's Gloria, Tippett's 'A Child of Our Time', Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Missa in Tempore Belli.

Penelope has long-standing collaborations with gifted pianists Nancy Cooley and Lada Valesova, with whom she appears regularly in recital, in varied repertoire. In recent years she has also appeared in seasonal concert series in Bangkok, and given associated masterclasses.

Future plans

In addition to regular appearances in concert and oratorio, and further performances of "Alcina",  in 2012 Penelope will appear as the Queen of the Night in Longborough Festival Opera's new production of "The Magic Flute", and will be guest artist in the Durham International Brass Festival's concert series with Interopera, conducted by Alistair Dawes.


Penelope Randall-Davis in Opera Atelier: Magic Flute (photo courtesy of Bruce Zinger)Penelope Randall-Davis in Opera di Roma: Die Zauberflote

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