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Thora Ker Mezzo Soprano from Kelso in the Scottish Borders, won a coveted place at the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) in 1974, graduating in 1979 and 1981 with honours in both teaching and performing.
During her studies she was the recipient of one of the Scottish Arts Council's highest Awards, of a Scottish Endowment Trust Award and of the Hilda Anderson Dean Prize for Singing. After graduating from the Academy she went on to study at St Andrew's College from where she gained her Post Grad. Senior School Music Teaching Certificate of Education.
After a few years full time teaching, whilst continuing her vocal studies and making guest appearances on TV, Radio and in Concert, Oratorio and Recitals throughout Scotland, she made her operatic debut with Scottish Opera, performing the role of Selina in Weber's OBERON, receiving the John Scott Award and being selected for the international and prestigious National Opera Studio, London.
Whilst at the Opera Studio she received the Sir John Cross Award and was a finalist in the Shell International Singing Competition.
Since then, Thora has become recognised as a consumate actress and highly musical singer performing principal mezzo roles with most of the major British Opera Companies at home and abroad, working with Britain's leading producers and conductors.
Her operatic roles include Pitti-Sing THE MIKADO (English National Opera), Blanche THE GAMBLER (ENO), Minerva and Love RETURN OF ULYSSES (ENO) and Kate Pinkerton MADAME BUTTERFLY (ENO). Siebel FAUST (Opera North), Cherubino MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (Scottish Opera), Schoolboy/Groom LULU (SO), Dorabella COSI FAN TUTTE (Garsington Manor and Orleans Festival, France), Second Lady THE MAGIC FLUTE (Dublin Grand Opera), Serafina IL CAMPANELLO (Les Azuriales Opera, France), Elisetta IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO (Les Azuriales Opera), Phoebe YEOMAN OF THE GUARD, Tessa THE GONDOLIERS, IOLANTHE, Pitti-Sing THE MIKADO and Lady Angela PATIENCE, for the Carl Rosa Opera. Other performances include the lead mezzo roles in the world premiere of Kenneth Leighton’s Columba, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, THE SIXTY MINUTE CINDERELLA (The Royal Opera), CARMEN, DON GIOVANNI, THE BEGGARS OPERA, DIE FLEDERMAUS, LA TRAVIATA, RIDERS TO THE SEA, THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, Mrs MacMotherly and Dame Cherry Maybud AGES AGO at the Linbury Studio, Covent Garden, and for Opera a la Carte, Welsh National Opera and the Royal Opera Education Programmes.
Thora is a founder member of the new D'Oyly Carte Opera (1987) and sang Phoebe YEOMAN OF THE GUARD, the title-role IOLANTHE, Pitti-Sing THE MIKADO and Cousin Hebe HMS PINAFORE
Her versatility and wide ranging repertoire across the fields of opera, operetta, oratorio, lieder, Scots song, ballad and the musicals has been highlighted in her guest appearances, on peak-time entertainment programmes, with BBC Television, Scottish Television, in a special New Year’s Eve edition of ‘Highway’ with the late Sir Harry Secombe for Border and other ITV Networks, in Hogmanay and Christmas Specials for Border and Central ITV, on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Forth and BBC Radio 2's ‘Friday Night is Music Night'.
Discs include DVDs of live performances, from the Buxton Opera House, of Phoebe, Yeoman of the Guard and the title role, Iolanthe, with the Carl Rosa Opera. CDs include: Pitti-Sing THE MIKADO with the New D'oyly Carte and TER Records. Pitti-Sing for Sony Classical's BEST OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, 'Festival of Music 1999' and '100th Anniversary of the RAF, 2008' with the world famous Central Band of the RAF, and her own solo album of popular favourites entitled ‘Thora’.
Thora’s international solo career has taken her on two extensive tours of Canada and America, to Italy and the Low Countries. In concert and oratorio she has made solo guest appearances in auditoriums and theatres such as the famous Hollywood Bowl, the Willshire Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles; Hamilton Place, Ontario; the Jubilee Auditoriums in Calgary and Edmonton; the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver; the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.
She has starred in London's West End at The Coliseum, The Savoy Theatre, Cambridge Circus Theatre, The Royal Albert Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and in most of the major theatres and concert halls in the UK. She has given a series of solo recitals at the Royal Opera House, the Schubert Society, and for the Friends of the Royal Opera and Scottish Opera.
Worked with include: David Alden, John Copley, John Cox, Christopher Cowell, David Pountney, Christopher Renshaw, Graham Vick, John Wells
Worked with include: Sir Richard Armstrong, Ivor Bolton, Sir Colin Davies, Wyn Davies, Tim Dean, Sian Edwards, Sir Alexander Gibson, Jim Holmes, Gareth Jones, John Pryce-Jones, John Mauceri, Antonio Pappano, David Parry, Bramwell Tovey,
Thora leads a busy life, dividing her time between family, recitals and concerts and her teaching practice.
I have worked with Thora both as a teacher and colleague and continue to be most impressed by her dedication and talent.Gillian Knight (International mezzo soprano,The Royal Opera and D'Oyly Carte Opera)
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With over 35 years experience of both performing and teaching, of high standards, a passion for music and extensive knowledge of her craft she has developed an empathic and effective way of teaching.