Phoebe Haines is an award-winning British Mezzo Soprano, with vocal qualities that have been variously hailed as ‘extraordinary’ (The Times), ‘silvery’ (The Evening Standard), ‘impressive’ (The Los Angeles Times), and ‘opulent’ (Sunday Times Culture). Phoebe studied at the University of Cambridge where she obtained a Double 1st, completing her MMus and Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
While still a student, Phoebe made her Salzburg Festival debut in 2014, singing Zweite adelige Waise in Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Franz Welser-Möst at the Großes Festspielhaus. She also appeared as Tisbe in La Cenerentola für Kinder, a co-production with Teatro Alla Scala. Her engagements with the Festival took her to Castell Son Claret (Mallorca), where she was a soloist in their annual gala concert, ‘Opera Under the Stars’.
Phoebe has performed and apprenticed with companies including Aldeburgh Music, the English National Opera, Opéra de Baugé, Center for Contemporary Opera, Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival, Clonter Opera, Songfest Los Angeles, and has appeared as a soloist with such wide-ranging orchestras as the Camerata Salzburg, the China Film Orchestra, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
International solo recital venues include Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (France), Giardini La Mortella (Italy), Villa Del Balbianello (Italy), Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Topping Rose House (New York’s Hamptons), and the British Embassies in Rome and Budapest. Phoebe has concertized as far afield as Agra, India, and in summer 2016 made her Chinese debut, appearing in concert at such illustrious venues as Suzhou Grand Theatre, and Tianqiao Theatre Beijing. Recent role debuts include Clairon in Capriccio (Apotheosis Orchestra, NYC), Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Jiangsu Symphony Orchestra, China), Katisha in The Mikado, and La Badessa in Suor Angelica (both for Hawaii Performing Arts Festival).
In the realm of contemporary music, Phoebe enjoys engagements both as a performer and producer of new works. She has learnt alongside living composers from Jake Heggie to Gordon Getty, and is particularly renowned for her interpretation of Louis Andriessen's Anais Nin. Phoebe debuted a number of microtonal works for Mezzo and chamber ensemble by the late John Eaton, at Symphony Space, NYC. She recently covered the role of Mrs. Otis in Getty's Canterville Ghost for Center of Contemporary Opera/ LA Opera, and she looks forward to reprising Britten's solo cantata, Phaedra, in 2019.
Having trained at ENO in 2015, Phoebe is delighted to continue her association with the company as a Vocal Mentor, working with the Youth Programme on a number of educational projects. Phoebe is also a sought-after public speaker, and has given talks on subjects from Mozart to Britten for organisations including the International Women’s Forum, the Cadogan Hall, and the London Festival of Song.
Phoebe is a two-time bursary winner of the International Opera Awards Foundation, and opened the 2014 Awards Ceremony.
Phoebe is incredibly grateful for the support of Help Musicians UK, the Nicholas Boas Trust, the Sino-British Fellowship Trust, The International Opera Awards Foundation, the Rev. John Wates OBE, Talent Unlimited, Mr. Philip Rudge & Dr. Michael Shipley, Dr. Henry Sauls, and Opera Prelude. She is a brand ambassador for Catherine Walker Couture.
Phoebe Haines | Mezzo Soprano
Q&A with Phoebe Haines
When did you first hear opera?
We had a large selection of Maria Callas recordings when I was growing up, which inspired me a great deal. I thought that if I could achieve even a small percentage of the vocal and communicative power that she possessed, then I would be very happy. I also could not have begun to study music without the unfailing support of my mother, so I definitely have to thank her for these early experiences.
One of the first times I heard opera live was Joyce DiDonato’s much-feted Rosina at ROH in 2006. She is a singer whose attitude I admire greatly. I think she is a living shrine to professionalism, and is an absolute queen on stage. A real inspiration for all young singers.
Why did you want to become an opera singer?
I think there is no other art-form that possesses the sheer communicative power that opera does. It is raw emotion transmitted through music, and it possesses a very special and unique power in that regard.
Strangest costume you've had to wear on stage?
… would probably be this rather fetching 1960’s style nightie and slippers – but the best element of this costume was definitely the hair, which consisted of a huge ball of synthetic hair which sat on top of my head, over which my own hair was combed, and a fringe added. This was for the young artists’ performances of ‘La Cenerentola’ last year at the Salzburg Festival. Needless to say, I didn’t make many quick head movements during this show!