My biography


Meta Powell, soprano GSMD

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Growing up in Sweden, music was a big part of my life from an early age. I attended a special choir school with an extended music curriculum, and sang in the Girl’s Choir after school. With the choir I toured Sweden, Iceland and Spain, and also sang in productions at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm. In fact, my first ever appearance on an operatic stage was at the age of 11, as one of the children in the café scene in Puccini’s La Boheme!

Along with singing, I also played the piano and cello, and in my late teens I took up the alto saxophone, and started an all-female jazz group. But as my voice developed and I started to take regular voice lessons, it soon became evident that that’s what I wanted to focus on. I auditioned for a place at the Opera Course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and was accepted.

Having completed my postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London, I embarked on a career as a mezzo soprano, debuting at Drottningholm Court Theatre as Lisbe in Zemire et Azor following a personal invitation from Elisabeth Söderström. I sang the same role at Tèatre des Champs Elysées, Paris the following year.

I continued to add mezzo soprano roles to my repertoire, such as Afra (La Wally), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte) and Cherubino (Nozze di Figaro), Aurelio in the British premiere of Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais, Hansel (Hansel und Gretel) at the Holland Park Opera Festival, Helen in Helen of Braemore for English Country Opera (specifically composed for me by Eddie McGuire). I sang Charlotte (Werther) at Wexford Opera Festival, and was invited back the following year to sing Radka in Sarka by Fibich.

It was while enjoying this critical acclaim that I started on a quest to find my ‘true’ voice as I never felt entirely comfortable that  lyric mezzo was my real voice type. While living in New York I was encouraged by a close friend and conductor to make the transition from mezzo to soprano, initially exploring the lyric soprano repertoire. My first role as soprano was Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Riverside Theater with TEV Opera. In NYC, I was also a prizewinner in the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition – as a soprano!

Recent performances in the dramatic soprano repertoire include Brünnhilde in scenes from Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung for Opera Forge at the Royal Festival Hall and St John Smith Square, Sieglinde (cover) and Ortlinde Die Walküre, Brünnhilde (cover) Siegfried, Dritte Norn and Gutrune (cover) in Götterdämmerung for Longborough Festival Opera and Wagner Society, London.

I’ve performed extensively throughout my career with orchestras and I’m a regular soloist with many of the major and regional Swedish orchestras. I was soprano soloist in the world premiere and live broadcast of Puja Trinity by Emanuel Schulz for Allegro Vivo Festival in Austria. I sang a program of Mozart arias in Wiener Konzerthaus with Ensemble Wiener Klangrede, and while living in Vienna, I also sang with Akademische Symphonieorchester in a program of arias by Puccini, Verdi and Catalani. Other oratorios and orchestral repertoire include Hanne in Haydn Die Jahreszeiten, Mozart’s Requiem with the Vienna Boy’s Choir, Janacek Glagolitic Mass with Nottingham Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Verdi Requiem, and many others. My very first venture in to the dramatic repertoire, specifically Wagner was a performance of Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder at the Vernon Ellis Foundation, London.