Artistic Advisory Board
Since November 2006, Claudia Assmann has served as head of the Press & Communications department for the Berlin University of the Arts. After studying theatre studies and journalism at the Free University of Berlin, she worked at the Theater am Goetheplatz (Bremen), the Anhaltische Theater Dessau, and the art festival Kunstfest Weimar. She is a founding member of the magazine ballett international/tanz aktuell (now called tanz). At the same time, on a freelance basis, she worked for several international dance magazines, cultural management publications, and radio and television programmes.
In 1998, she was employed at the press office of the Edinburgh International Festival. In 2000, Claudia Assmann joined the Jewish Museum Berlin as Senior Writer and wrote the texts for the permanent exhibition titled 2,000 Years of German-Jewish History. From 2001 to 2003, she served as media spokesperson for the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, under the direction of Ostermeier, Hilje, Waltz, and Sandig. Subsequently, she served as a member of the management team and head of the press and public relations department at the Theater Heilbronn of the new director, Dr. Martin Roeder-Zerndt. Back in Berlin, she worked for the German Federal Government’s Art and Cultural Program for the FIFA World Cup 2006. In that role, she advised the artistic director of the cultural program, André Heller, in the areas of dance, theatre, and performance.
Claudia Assmann is a member of EUPRIO (the Association of Higher Education Communicators in Europe) and from 2008 to 2012, she was a member of the governing board of the Federal Association of University Communications (Bundesverband Hochschulkommunikation) and spokesperson for the art and music schools. As part of her activities in the Federal Association, in lectures, work groups and workshops, she has, in particular, addressed the question of how digital developments and the associated transformation of the media are changing press and public relations work at universities and cultural institutions. In the “Spielzeit-AG”, an association of press officers of Berlin cultural institutions, she represents the UNI.T theatre of the UdK Berlin. Claudia Assmann is a member of the International Theatre Institute (ITI).
Claudia Assmann intensively works on the cultural exchange between Scotland and Germany. For the European Championships 2018, which took place in Glasgow and Berlin, she worked as project manager for the two central events (orchestra-concert and “Mix the City”), that built a cultural bridge between the hosting cities.
Born in Franconia, Germany in 1981 Christoph Boehmke studied political science and sociology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Hamburg as well as cultural management at the music academy of Hamburg. He has worked at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Germany as personal advisor to Rolf Beck and as the Head of the Orchestral Academy together with Christoph Eschenbach before he became Head of the artistic administration at the Tyrolean Festspiele in Erl, Austria. Since 2015 Christoph has worked for Hamburg State Opera. After three years in the field of music education Christoph became Head of the International Opera Studio at Hamburg State Opera in 2018.
Susan Bullock’s unique position as one of the world’s most sought-after British dramatic sopranos was recognised by the award of a CBE in June 2014.
One of her most distinctive roles, Wagner’s Brünnhilde has garnered outstanding praise leading Susan Bullock to become the first ever soprano to sing four consecutive cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House under Sir Antonio Pappano. Appearances as Richard Strauss’ Elektra have brought her equal international acclaim and awards, and collaborations with some of the world’s leading conductors including Fabio Luisi, Semyon Bychkov, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Mark Elder and Edo de Waart. In recent seasons, Susan Bullock has continued to expand into new repertoire including debuts as Kostelnička (Jenůfa) for Grange Park Opera, Minnie (La fanciulla del West) for English National Opera, both Gertrude and The Witch (Hänsel und Gretel) for Opera North, and Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd) for Houston Grand Opera. This season, Susan debuts as Klytaemnestra (Elektra) at Canadian Opera Company under Johannes Debus, returns to Grange Park Opera in Hänsel und Gretel, and creates the role of Liz Stride in the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper for ENO. Following her debut as Mother in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek at the Edinburgh International Festival last season, Susan reprised this role at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York in December 2018.
On the concert platform Susan Bullock returns to Wigmore Hall in their Late Night series with pianist Richard Sisson, and will give a recital at the Canadian Opera.
Jessica Cottis maintains a busy guest conducting schedule worldwide, working with orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Houston Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Scottish Opera, Opera North, and regularly at the BBC Proms. This season she made notable debuts with the LA Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, and conducted a new opera by Israeli composer Na’ama Zisser for the Royal Opera House, where she returns this year to conduct the premiere of The Monstrous Child by Gavin Higgins.
Born in Australia, Cottis was awarded a first class honours degree in organ, piano and musicology from the Australian National University and continued her studies in Paris, winning awards from the Royal Philharmonic Society and Royal College of Organists. A wrist injury halted her keyboard career and she began conducting studies at the Royal Academy of Music where she graduated with distinction. In 2015 she was appointed Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), an honorary award for former students who have made a significant contribution to the music profession.
“The director was the extraordinary Jessica Cottis, Anglo-Australian conductor, who last night led the orchestra as a queen. Full of energy and verve, Cottis was repeatedly able to tear applause even in the middle of scenes.” Claudio Biazzetti, Rolling Stone Magazine
Roger Granville studied at Oxford University and went on to become a director and producer who has worked on projects with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Young Vic, the Mariinsky Theatre, the Théâtre National de Nice, the Oxford Playhouse and the Arcola Theatre. He is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of The New Generation Festival and Andermatt Music.
In 2020, alongside Maximilian Fane and Frankie Parham, he co-produced The ReGeneration Festival in partnership with the Uffizi Galleries at the landmark Boboli Gardens to demonstrate the paramount importance of sustaining culture in times of crisis. It was an unprecedented manifestation of the restorative power of the Arts.
Anush Hovhannisyan was nominated for the 2018 International Opera Awards and was a finalist at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017. She is a winner of number of international competitions and recipient of special prizes from Deutsche Grammophon and Royal Danish Opera. Anush was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, performing under the baton of Semyon Bychkov, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Nicola Luisotti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Oren and Sir Antonio Pappano.
Her debut as Violetta La traviata with Scottish Opera was described as “star is born moment” (The Sunday Times). She revived the same role for the Welsh National Opera. Her highly acclaimed performances include Amaltea Mosè in Egitto, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Adina L’elisir d’amore, Sitâ Le Roi de Lahore, the title role in Maria Stuarda and the Italian première of Liszt’s Sardanapolo.
Her recordings include Rimsky-Korsakov Romances (Stone Records), A Century of Song, Vol. 2 with (VIVAT), Scriabin songs (DECCA). She has performed in series of recitals on BBC Radio 3’s Big Chamber Day.
Anush graduated from Yerevan State Conservatory and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is a Samling Artist, Georg Solti Foundation scholar and the recipient of Haidee Saretski Prize at Les Azuriales Competition.
Having graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Samantha McShane embarked on a successful freelance career as a hornist, performing regularly with all the major Scottish orchestras, and as a founder member of the award-winning Pure Brass quintet.
Her appetite for management was whetted by successive internships at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and IMG Artists, eventually joining the RSNO as Assistant Orchestra Manager, and latterly as Planning Manager (A&R). Whilst in Scotland, Samantha attended the League of American Orchestras’ Leadership Academy in New York, where she received expert guidance in orchestral management.
In 2013 Samantha took up the role as Head of Creative Programming at Manchester Camerata. She joined at a pivotal time in the organisation’s development, with a mission to ‘redefine what an orchestra can do’, and the opportunity to build the orchestra’s profile internationally, resulting in several major European tours.
Passionate about changing the orchestral sector, Sam has focused on creating unique collaborations with the Camerata, notably alongside Manchester City Football Club. She also devised the orchestra’s most ambitious project to date – the critically acclaimed Haçienda Classical – and curated UpClose, a series of diverse chamber concerts in Manchester’s most eclectic venues.
In September 2017, Sam joined the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a national and international centre of excellence for performing arts education as well as being named one of the world’s top 5 leading performing arts institutions by QS World University Rankings 2018, as Head of Artistic Planning.
Jonathan Papp is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto. He is greatly in demand as a coach and accompanist around the world, having shared recitals with Sir Thomas Allen, Cheryl Barker, Ian Bostridge, Sophie Daneman, Susan Gritton, Katarina Karneus, Christopher Maltman, Sergei Leiferkus, Marina Poplavskya, Aigul Akhmetshina, Moray Welsh, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, and Carmen Giannatasio, amongst others. Venues have ranged from London’s Wigmore Hall to the Sydney Opera House. He has made radio and television broadcasts here and abroad with such artists as Dame Kiri and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He worked as both coach and recital partner with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa for over seventeen years. Papp has given masterclasses at the Royal Opera House and abroad, including Japan, the USA and New Zealand.
Papp is a senior coach and member of the Vocal Faculty and the Opera School at the RAM, as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
Italian conductor and pianist Jonathan Santagada has an established presence with several of the leading opera houses of Europe including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, La Monnaie in Brussels, Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatro Regio Torino, Welsh National Opera and Theater Basel.
He made his debut at Theater Basel in 2013 conducting Haydn’s Lo speziale. He was then chosen as a Young Artist on the Jette Parker at the Royal Opera House. In his time on the programme, he conducted Rossini’s La scala di seta and Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse with the Southbank Sinfonia as well as Eugene Onegin with The Royal Opera House Orchestra. Santagada has worked in more than twenty-five Covent Garden productions and collaborates regularly with Sir Antonio Pappano.
This season, Jonathan Santagada returns to Opera North to conduct Tosca and then to The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to assistant conduct Così fan tutte, alongside Stefano Montanari. He will then be assistant conductor to Evelino Pidò at La Monnaie in Brussels (Robert le Diable), Nicola Luisotti at L’Opéra National de Paris (La forza del destino) and Maurizio Benini at Teatro Real in Madrid (Il trovatore). He will conclude his operatic season conducting Le nozze di Figaro at The New Generation Festival in Florence.
Carmen Santoro is one of the foremost vocal coaches of her generation working regularly as répétiteur in Europe’s leading opera houses such as Opernhaus in Zurich, Theater Bolshoi in Moscow, Theatre an der Wien, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Vlaamse Opera in Antwerpen, Lithuanian National Opera, Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, Teatro Regio in Parma, Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Fondazione Toscanini in Parma, Rossini Opera Festival di Pesaro, Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, Wexford Festival Opera, and Festival Donizetti in Bergamo.
A sought after teacher, she works at International Opera Studio at Opernhaus in Zurich, Royal College of Music in London, Young Artists Opera Program at Theater Bolshoi in Moscow, Centre di Perfeccionament Placido Domingo at Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Lunenburg Academy in Nova Scotia Canada, Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Scuola dell’Opera at Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Alberto Zedda’s Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro, Accademia del Belcanto “Paolo Grassi” in Martina Franca (Ta). Since 1999 she has also been a guest professor at Showa University in Tokyo.
She regularly collaborates with many singers, including: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Mariella Devia, Juan Diego Florez, Daniela Barcellona, John Osborn, Pretty Yende, Lawrence Brownlee, Javier Camarena, Saimir Pirgu, Krasimira Stoyanova, and Marlis Petersen.
Since 2012 she has been Chef du Chant for the new Italian opera productions and Musical Assistant of M. Fabio Luisi at Opernhaus in Zurich. She is also M. Fabio Luisi’s Musical Assistant at Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino in Florence and at Festival della Valle d’Itria where she is also Musical Supervisor of Operatic Productions. She is currently Direttore degli Studi Musicali and M. Fabio Luisi’s Assistant at Accademia del Belcanto “Paolo Grassi” in Martina Franca. In addition, since 1995 she has been a professor at “A. Boito” Conservatory of Music in Parma Italy. In 2018 she was appointed Artistic Director of the Belcanto Opera Festival in Tokyo, Japan.
Her future plans include Verdi’s Nabucco, Vespri Siciliani in Zurich Opernhaus and Bellini’s La Straniera in Florence’s Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as M. Fabio Luisi’s Assistant; Rossini’s Guillaume Tell in Opéra National de Lyon as M. Daniele Rustioni’s Assistant Conductor; and Verdi’s La Traviata in Grand Théâtre de Genève as M. Paolo Carignani’s Assistant Conductor.
Managment and foundation development
Internationally recognised as one the the greatest interpreters of the belcanto repertoire of all time, soprano Mariella Devia has represented the first class female characters in the history of opera on the stages of the greatest theatres in the world. Hers is a rigorous repertoire, which has allowed her to perform the principle roles in the operas of Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Mozart and to express herself, with an elevated style, in the operas of Verdi, Bizet and other great authors, ending in Puccini, in the part of Liu in Turandot.More
Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. He has sung over fifty roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; in 2012 he celebrated his 40th anniversary of his debut with the company. An acclaimed recitalist, he is equally renowned on the concert platform and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.More