Suzie began her vocal training at Birmingham Conservatoire where she won a scholarship and many prizes. After completing her studies there she was awarded a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians for Excellence in Performance. In 2011 she participated in the Opera Works course with English National Opera. Since graduating she has been employed by Diva Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Kentish Opera and Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company.
Operatic roles include Minerve (Orphée aux Enfers) for Diva Opera; Carmen (Carmen – in English) for Kentish Opera; Mercedes (Carmen – in English) for Oxford International Links; Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Juno (Semele) for Operamus; Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Rosalia (West Side Story) for Birmingham Conservatoire; First Witch (Dido and Aeneas) for mac Productions/Sampad. Scenes and excerpts include Annio (La Clemenza di Tito) and Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte) for ENO Opera Works; Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Cornelia (Giulio Cesare) for Swansea City Opera/David Syrus Masterclass; Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel) for Operamus.
Act II saw the introduction of the star soloist, Suzie Purkis as Juno, adding an extra clarity of diction and stage presence to the proceedings.
Carmen's friends, played by Rebecca Hiller and Suzie Purkis, had good voices and vivid personalities.
Suzie has a special interest in the performance of new music and has performed works by Pierre Boulez, Louis Andriessen, Gerald Barry, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Philip Cashian, Steve Reich, Luciano Berio, Zsolt Durkó and Cecilia McDowall. She performs regularly as a soloist with Thallein Ensemble and has featured as a soloist with the Fitzwilliam Quartet in concerts of new music at the Recital Hall, Birmingham and The Warehouse, London.
I love her voice. It’s very powerful, but it is her way of breathing life into the vocal lines that I admire.
Suzie works regularly in the UK and Germany with New Guide to Opera, having had many pieces written for her by NGtO composer Michael Wolters including a two-hour-long music theatre piece called Sing, sing! which Suzie premiered in Düsseldorf and performed again for the opening of a festival in Trier. In the UK Suzie premiered Michael’s short opera The Voyage in collaboration with Stan’s Cafe Theatre Company; a recording of this performance was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Other projects with New Guide to Opera have included performing on BBC4 World News Today, performing in an ice-rink during public skating hours and singing with Gibbons in a cage in a zoo.
Suzie is equally at home on the concert platform. Her performances include Vivaldi’s Gloria for Music of Life; Bach’s Mass in B Minor for Bristol Phoenix Choir; Bach’s Kantate 170 for Crendon Chamber Orchestra; Bach’s Magnificat in D and Mozart’s Coronation Mass for Leicester Bach Choir; Duruflé’s Requiem for Bromsgrove Choral Society; Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah for Birmingham Christadelphian Choral Society.
…Purkis’ poised delivery conveying a wonderfully lyrical sense of line through wide-spanning intervals.
The amazingly versatile Purkis could almost have been the reincarnation of that virtuosic Cathy Berberian.
She also enjoys singing Lieder and French Song, and has given recitals of Schubert and Poulenc songs with pianist Simon Nicholls at the Hindhead Music Centre and the Adrian Boult Hall. She performed Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with piano in the Symphony Hall Birmingham at the Mahler Discovery Day presented by Stephen Johnson. Other song-cycles in her repertoire include Schumann’s Frauen Liebe und Leben and Schönberg’s Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten which she performed as a fringe event at Leeds Lieder+.
Suzie has sung in masterclasses with Pierre Boulez, Louis Andriessen, David Syrus and Gerald Barry. She has attended workshops led by theatre practicioners Mike Alfreds, Cis Berry and Ian Rickson, and this has strongly influenced the way she approaches the text of any work she learns. A workshop led by choreologist Rosemary Brandt dramatically opened up Suzie’s approach to physicality in performance. She also attended a six-day intensive course with Complicite (Anabel Arden and Philip Headlam), working on the compositions of Georges Aperghis with performers from diverse disciplines. She returns to Birmingham Conservatoire as a visiting lecturer, leading workshops for undergraduate composition students on writing for voice, and performing pieces written for her by those students.