Gr√°inne Gillis

Award: Transmission Fund

Year: 2019

Genre: Opera

Instrument/voice type: Voice (Contralto)

Location: London


Gráinne Gillis is an Irish-American based in London. She read Music at University College Cork and graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Since re-training as an opera singer, she has worked as an Emerging Artist for Opera della Luna in The Gondoliers, and performed: La Nourrice in Ariane et Barbe-Bleu; Zita in Gianni Schicchi; the Mother in Hansel & Gretel; La Zia Principessa and La Badessa in Suor Angelica; Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos; Baba in The Medium; Annie Jump-Cannon in The Observatory for Improbable; 3rd Witch in Macbeth for English Pocket Opera Company; Madame Popova in The Bear; Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Dama/3rd Witch in Macbeth and Annina in La Traviata for Pavilion Opera; Frugola & Lucia in Il Tabarro and Cavalleria Rusticana respectively; The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas; Formations 2016 for The Helios Collective, creating the role of Flora Sandes in Dead Equal at ENO Baylis, supported by ENO and the IOA.

In 2018 she worked with the legendary mezzo Dolora Zajick as one of only 5 selected participants in intensive vocal workshops in Reno, Nevada in 2018, with an open invitation to work with her in the future; sang the role of Flora in the Olivier award-winning King’s Head Theatre’s autumn production of La Traviata (nominated for an Offie) and also sang a concert of Bernstein songs in the opening recital for the London Song Festival. Other highlights in 2018 saw her performing her own one-woman show Mezzo Sings The Bard, a show about Shakespeare and opera; and singing Hélène in Faust et Hélène, the Old Woman in Candide and La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod 2018.

In 2019 roles include Aksinya in Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk for Fulham Opera; Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica and Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana for North Wales Opera Company; The Vampire Master/Suse in Der Vampyr; and Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance at the Cork Opera House.

Awards include: The Feis Maitiu Contralto Prize; Capriccio Prize; Donal ‘Doc’ Gleeson Award for Best Recitalist; an Equity Charitable Trust award; and two Italian Government Scholarships, one of which was to study at Accademmia Chigiana with Raina Kabavainska.