Opera: Celeste

Aria: Secure the ghosts



Synopsis of the Imagined Opera

On the eve of a rare and mystical ritual, Celeste and her kin join in song with their neighbouring communities; it is time to select the new Carrier, a singular care-giver whose calling it is to bear away troubling stories. On this night, each voice leaves a material trace in the air, catching like so many leaves and feathers about the robes of a mysterious pilgrim. Reaching her destination, the pilgrim shakes herself free of the wisps and snags of sound until all that remains is a single thread of voice.

Finding herself marked out for the role, Celeste must make a choice: resist her calling and sacrifice her voice or recover her voice and use it only for the songs of the haunted ones, the ones whose hurts and longings can no longer be borne. Bereft but resolute, Celeste goes in search of her sound (the aria comes at the moment of its recovery). Later, as people come to depend on her for their own chance at happiness, she finds herself frighteningly altered by the remnants of each song she sings.  An exploration of care, guardianship and the power of active listening.



Eliza Bloom - Soprano

New Zealand soprano Eliza Boom is a current member of the Opera Studio at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Prior to this she studied at the National Opera Studio and the Royal Northern College of Music with Mary Plazas. Eliza has won many awards and competitions, including the Richard Bonynge Award, Les Azuriales International Singing Competition, Frederic Cox Award, and runner-up in the Lexus Song Quest. Past concert engagements have included the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra and Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra. Eliza is supported by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and Circle100.

Eliza’s roles include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni, Clonter Opera), Mimì (La Bohème, National Opera Studio scenes), Thérèse/Tirésias (Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Les Azuriales Opera), Nella (Gianni Schicchi, RNCM), Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica, RNCM cover), Noémie (Cendrillon, RNCM), Gertrude (Hansel and Gretel, RNCM), Norina (Don Pasquale, NZ Opera in Schools Tour), Micäela (Carmen, NZ Opera cover), Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro, University of Waikato) and Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief, University of Waikato).


Somi Kim - Repetiteur

South Korean born New Zealand pianist, Somi Kim has established herself as one of today's most highly regarded young pianists with a string of competition successes and an extensive concert experience.

Somi is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. She graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Performance and Master of Arts with Distinction, receiving the HRH Princess Alice the Duchess of Gloucester’s Prize, a DipRAM and the Christian Carpenter Prize for the Best Recital. Somi is the 2017 winner of the Royal Over-Seas League Accompanist Prize, and has received the Gerald Moore Award for Accompanists, AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Accompanist Prize, Mozart Singing Competition Accompanist Prize, Bromsgrove International Musicians Competition Accompanist Prize, Vivian Langrish Memorial Trust Prize, Thomas Art of Song Accompanist Prize, Major van Someron-Godfery Prize for Accompanists, WCOM Concordia Serena Nevill and Barthel Prizes and the 6th Pettman/Royal Over-Seas League Arts International Scholarship. Somi made her debut with Chamber Music New Zealand in 2015.

In recital, Somi’s recent and future appearances include Het Concertgebouw, Slovak Philharmonic, Wigmore Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe, Ryedale, St Endellion and Oxford Lieder Festivals.


Creative Team 

Emma-Ruth Richards - Composer

Emma-Ruth’s recent work includes The Sail of a Flame for BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and mezzo Lucy Schaufer, Until A Reservoir No Longer Remains for Guy Johnston and Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s World Premiere Tour, The Precious Art of Scars for the Albany Trio, Sciamachy for Britten Sinfonia, La douleur exquise (Musiques Nouvelles) and An English House for the London Sinfonietta. 2018/19 saw multiple performances by the Zelkova Quartet (Manchester), Camerata Pacifica (California) and James Turnball (Presteigne Festival), and the release of Moto Quarto CD featuring Dark Radiance (solo cello) at the American premiere at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The 2020 season will conclude with the film release of a new solo piece for the National Opera Studio and Tenebris Litterarum premiered by the Carducci Quartet at Presteigne Festival. Emma-Ruth has been awarded the PRS Composer's Fund to complete her opera ‘Traffick’, written with librettist Nicola Chalmers.


Nicola Chalmers - Librettist

Nic is an artist and educator. Following a period of R&D funded by ROH, she was commissioned by Nordland Teater, Norway, to write a libretto on the subject of sex trafficking for composer Emma-Ruth Richards. Public workshops include: NOS's Voices of Now: Scenes from Contemporary Operas 2019 (director: Michael McCarthy); Mahogany Opera Group’s Various Stages Festival 2017 (director: Sarah Tipple); and Helpman Studio, ROH, 2012 (director: Natalie Abrahami). Between 2013 and 2015, Nic was part of performance duo Dickson & Chalmers (Directions for Taking Controland How to Make Two Outfits Out of One) and she has written and performed her own works for SPILL National Platform (2011) and festivals at Tristan Bates Theatre (2010) and Camden People’s Theatre (2009).  Education includes an MA in Performance Design and Practice from Central Saint Martins and a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway University of London.  Nic is also one half of interdisciplinary collaboration Chalmers & May (publications include a contribution to Leap into Action – Critical Performative Pedagogies in Art & Design Education, ed. Lee Campbell).