We were greatly saddened to hear of the recent death of soprano Kathryn Harries from cancer. Kathryn was Director of the National Opera Studio from 2008-2017, and during that time influenced the journeys of many NOS Young Artists.  

During her time at the Studio she introduced many strong initiatives for singers and pianists alike. She brought in established top-class directors into the Studio whilst giving up and coming young professionals opportunities to direct scenes in front of our partner opera companies. Kathryn introduced many international singers, conductors, agents and language specialists to the Studio and very many of the Young Artists whom she helped develop over the years now enjoy successful careers in the UK and abroad.

Nicky Spence (2009-10 alumnus and current member of the NOS Sounding Board) says:

Kathryn was hugely influential to my early career. For all of us at NOS, she managed to make us feel special while offering a bespoke blend of support and no nonsense business advice. She will be hugely missed both on stage and off”.

Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North writes:

"It is with enormous sadness that we learn of the death of Kathryn Harries and we mourn the loss of a dear friend, colleague and artist. She led the National Opera Studio as our Director from 2008 until 2017.

Kathryn was a consummate artist and enjoyed wonderful career, performing with all the major UK opera companies, having made her debut in Fidelio with WNO in 1983. It was in 1985 that I first met her when she created the role of Hedda Gabler at Scottish Opera returning to the company in 1990 as a triumphant Didon in Les Troyens and one of her final performances was as Kostelnicka in Jenufa again for Scottish Opera.  The catalogue of her contribution to opera in the UK is immense, appearing with the Royal Opera, ENO, WNO, Glyndebourne, Opera North and Scottish Opera, and internationally her career took her round the world – The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco, Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Amsterdam and Salzburg.

As Director of the National Opera Studio she transformed the training programme, including the intensive study of core roles and she was at pains to put musicianship at the heart of her curriculum.  During her time at the Studio, Kathryn was able to share and impart her incredible experience as a distinguished performer which has enabled so many young artists to embark on their careers and to meet the constantly challenging demands of our profession.  The Studio will always be grateful for her depth of commitment and care.

As an artist, all of us in the opera profession are privileged to have known and worked with Kathryn and her contribution  will live long not only in our memory but in the careers of so many singers."

She was awarded the OBE in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to Opera. 

Though she will be sorely missed by many, she leaves a long-standing legacy behind through the successes of those artists she helped.