In 2011, Phantom ‘phans’ gathered from far and wide at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the classic musical’s 25th anniversary. The milestone was marked by a fully-staged production of The Phantom of the Opera at the RAH, with Ramin Karimloo starring as the iconic man in the mask alongside Sierra Boggess as Christine Daae and Hadley Fraser as Raoul. There were many more past and present cast members present too, as well as a few special guest stars such as Wynne Evans and Sergei Polunin. There was also an appearance from the original Phantom and Christine, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, the latter performing the show’s title song with John Owen-Jones, Anthony Warlow, Peter Jöback and Colm Wilkinson. The four former Phantom’s were then joined by Ramin Karimloo for a very special rendition of Music of the Night.
That unforgettable night was almost exactly three years ago. Now in its 28th year, the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera is still drawing in the ‘phans’ and remains one of the most successful musicals in history. Starring Geronimo Rauch and Harriet Jones as The Phantom and Christine, the current company at Her Majesty’s Theatre is probably one of the strongest seen there in recent years – and that includes the show’s ensemble team. Every single performer in the cast brings something unique to the production, which is why Lizzie Holmes has been selected as the featured ensemble member for this week’s edition of In Profile.
This talented songstress is only just out of drama school, but she has already accrued a long list of theatrical and operatic credits. The Dorset beauty has been working towards a career on the stage since a young age, getting off to a very good start by achieving an A in Theatre Studies (A Levels) and an A in Dance (AS Level) at school. In 2008, she was accepted into the University of Warwick where she gained her English Literature degree, but as she herself admits, she spent most of her three years there in the Warwick Arts Centre. Involved with such societies as Music Theatre Warwick and Warwick University Drama Society, she performed in over 20 shows at WAC and played such roles as Mrs Grace in A Man of No Importance, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Amy in Company and Anita in West Side Story. She also took part in the National Student Drama Festival in 2009, playing Monica Murray in By the Bog of Cats, and was named Best Supporting Actor for her performance. Additionally, she became one of the original members of Curious Directive, the multi-award winning theatre company led by director Jack Lowe. She played Sue McHugh in the company’s première production Return to the Silence, staged at Shunt Vaults, London Bridge in 2009. Further involvement with Curious Directive includes playing Sally Parkes in Le Corps Perdu (Edinburgh International Science Festival), Anna Bågenholm in Your Last Breath (UK Tour) and as a choreographer/dancer in Exoplanets (research and development for Latitude Festival). It was at Uni that she also discovered a love of opera after training with Llyndall Trotman, and went on to gain work experience at Glyndebourne as well as being offered the opportunity to work with Opera Warwick, adding the roles of Pamima (The Magic Flute) and Gretal (Hansel and Gretal) to her already blossoming CV.
She graduated from the University of Warwick in 2011 with a BA (Hons 2:1) in English Literature and Comparative Studies and went on to apply at numerous performing arts schools. She received offers from such prestigious UK schools as the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, but it was the Royal College of Music that eventually welcomed her into their folds in 2012. She spent two years training at RCM, taking on such stage roles as Florence/Vowel A/Caroline in Journeying Boys (Britten Theatre) as well as various operatic roles, including Brazilian Dancer/Chorus in La Vie Parisienne, La Bergére/La Chouette in L’Enfant Et Less Sortileges, Ida in The Serpentine (in collaboration with Tête à Tête Opêra) and Kate/Cover Elsie in The Yeoman of the Guard. While still a RCM student, she also played Susanna in Bloomsbury Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro and was Ensemble/Cover Young Tree in Paul Bunyan for the British Youth Theatre. She received the Inaugural Award of the Guildford Spring Music Festival Bursary and was a finalist in Lies Askonas Vocal Competition, as well as placing second in the RCM Lieder Competition.
She graduated from the Royal College of Music in the summer of 2014 with a Masters in Vocal Performance (Distinction) and immediately set to work in establishing a name for herself as a fully-trained, professional performer. She quickly gained her first post-graduate role, cast in the principal role of Poppea in Ryedale Festival Opera’s production of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea, which was subsequently brought to the Arcola Theatre in London for the Grimeborn Festival. Sung in a new English translation by John Warrack, the production was well received – as too was Ms Holmes.
Other theatre credits include playing Cassie in A Chorus Line for the Phoenix Players in 2007 (ANU, Australia).
She added another first to her CV this year by making her West End début She can currently be found at Her Majesty’s Theatre, having joined the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera as part of the its September cast change. She has an ensemble role in the show, appearing on-stage as a Page during Don Juan Triumphant, and is also 2nd Cover to the principal role of Madame Giry.
Lizzie Holmes is a woman on the rise. This talented soprano has already achieved so much in her young career and holds the promise of many more successful years ahead of her.
You can follow Lizzie on Twitter: @NoisyHolmes
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 4th October 2014