Scroll to the bottom paragraph to read about Suzie's teaching, education and outreach work.
Suzie is a UK based singer and performer. She 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, Heritage Opera and Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company.
Operatic roles include Carmen (Carmen – in English) for Kentish Opera and Heritage Opera; Jester (“i” the opera) for Waste Paper Opera Company; Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Juno (Semele) for Operamus; Minerve (Orphée aux Enfers) for Diva Opera; Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Rosalia (West Side Story) for Birmingham Conservatoire; First Witch (Dido and Aeneas) for mac Productions/Sampad.
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, Cecilia McDowall, Fumiko Miyachi, Joanna Lee, Kirsty Devaney, Michael Betteridge, James Oldham, Michael Wolters, Chloe Knibbs, Ed Bennett, Stuart Stevens. Performances have involved singing in a cage in a zoo (on German television), performing in an ice rink during public skating hours and an opera in a swimming pool. Suzie has dabbled in Free Improvisation in a trio with Jack McNeill (clarinet) and Dave LePage (violin), in a duo with pianist Steve Tromans and also with his band Dead as Dillinger.
I love her voice. It’s very powerful, but it is her way of breathing life into the vocal lines that I admire.
Michael Wolters wrote a two-hour-long music theatre piece called Sing, sing! for Suzie and Ulrich Mertin (viola) which they 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.
Suzie also enjoys singing sacred music, her performances including the alto solos in Handel’s Messiah for North Cotswold Chamber Choir and Emmanuel Church Choir; 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. She is regularly invited to dep for Ex Cathedra choir.
…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.
Suzie is one fifth of the all-female a cappella group Papagena with who she enjoys a busy performing schedule. They have given live performances on In Tune (BBC Radio 3) and Woman’s Hour (BBC Radio 4). Their winter album ‘The Darkest Midnight’ was near the top of the classical charts last year and number one on the Amazon Download chart following their radio appearances. Their next album “Hush” will be released in February 2020.
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.
Alongside her performing projects Suzie runs a busy teaching practice, giving voice coaching to students of all ages and when requested taking students through ABRSM singing exams. She is the Musical Director of Welsh National Opera’s Youth Opera Company in Birmingham and is an experienced singing workshop leader for organisations including Music of Life Foundation, Birmingham Opera Company, Choirs Beating Time and Choir with No Name. She regularly works as a singing teacher for National Children’s Choir of Great Britain and also visits the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire leading workshops for student composers on writing for voice and performing works written for her by them. Suzie regularly engages in professional development, having attended courses including Voice Workshop on ‘Advanced Anatomy for the Vocal Practitioner’ and ‘Teaching Young and Adolescent Voices’. She is grateful to the Pam Jelf Memorial Fund for assisting her financially to attend the Sing for Pleasure Advanced Choral Conducting Course and also to the English Choral Experience for the generous scholarship assisting her to study for an intensive week long course under Paul Spicer and Sarah Tenant-Flowers.