© Ken Dundas
© Ken Dundas
Award-winning Welsh soprano, Claire Watkins, is a former Head Chorister of St. David’s Cathedral Choir in Pembrokeshire. She studied at Cardiff University, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is a graduate of the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Beatrice Unsworth and Audrey Hyland. Additionally, she participated in the Solti Te Kanawa Accademia di Bel Canto in Tuscany, studying with Leo Nucci and is a Samling Artist.
Operatic roles include Leïla The Pearl Fishers (English National Opera); Kitty Hart Dead Man Walking (Welsh National Opera); First Lady The Magic Flute, Gilda Rigoletto and Micäela Carmen (all for Scottish Opera); Amelia Simon Boccanegra (Opera Project Valladolid); Paquette Candide and Constance The Sorcerer (Opera della Luna); Donna Anna Don Giovanni (Amersham Music Festival); Lauretta Gianni Schicchi, Venus Dardanus, Almirena Rinaldo, Arminda La finta giardiniera, Manon Manon Lescaut and Yvette La Rondine (all for Royal Academy Opera); Miss Wordsworth Albert Herring; the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama); and creating the role of Elizabeth Barry in the world première of Rochester’s Second Bottle (RWCMD and Music Theatre Wales). Claire also participated in the workshop of Chair in Love in Montreal, composed by John Metcalf, with the Chair in Love Collective in Montreal, Canada.
Roles understudied include the title role in Massenet’s Manon and Giannetta L’elisir d’amore (Scottish Opera); Violetta La traviata and Adina The Elixir of Love (English National Opera); Bronwyn Jones Carbon 12 (Welsh National Opera) and Gretchen The Poacher and Alison The Wandering Scholar (Buxton International Festival).
Equally at home on the concert platform her oratorio experience includes the B Minor Mass with Trevor Pinnock, Mozart Requiem at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Beethoven Mass in C with Brian Kay, Monteclair’s soprano cantata, Pan et Syrinx with Laurence Cummings and The English Concert at Handel House and performing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Paquette / Candide / Ifrod Arts & Opera della Luna / 2018
“Claire Watkins’ lustrous soprano makes the most of naughty Paquette…”
First Lady / The Magic Flute / Scottish Opera / 2012
“The Three Ladies (Claire Watkins, Rachel Hynes, Louise Collett), all salivating over Tamino, were cheeky, glittery and sparky.”
Gilda / Rigoletto / Scottish Opera / 2011
“It’s Watkins, a light-toned Gilda with gymnastic vocal reach, who most consistently hits the spot, and who also most clearly won the audience’s hearts at the Grand Canal Theatre on Tuesday.”
(The Irish Times / Michael Dervan)