Mezzo-contralto

Gráinne Gillis gained a First in Music from University College Cork, where she also held the much-coveted post of University Cantor and received several awards for singing in her native Ireland, including the Feis Maitiu (Dublin) Contralto Prize, the Donal "Doc" Gleeson award for Best Recitalist, and a full scholarship for the renowned Accademia Chigiana  in Siena, where she attended masterclasses by the internationally acclaimed soprano, Raina Kabavainska.  She was also a member of the RTE Philharmonic Choir, and worked both in Ireland and in San Francisco under the well-respected music directors and composers Colin Mawby and Christoph Tietze, and internationally acclaimed conductors Bryden Thomson and Richard Bonynge.  

 Performances in London have included singing the part of Amneris in an extract from Aida at the Cochrane Theatre, originating the part of Ella in Clem Ishmael's first opera, Looking at the Sun, and playing the part of The Transvestite in Marion Ingoldsby's opera Hot Food for Strangers (second production).  She has sung the role of Juno in Semele for Opera Mint, was cast as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor for Opera at Bearwood and also worked on Die Tote Stadt and Fidelio at the Royal Opera House as an actress.  She performed the soprano solo in a staged production of Pierrot Lunaire for the Camden Festival and Grimeborn, directed by Mark Duncan of Cornucopia Theatre and conducted by Andrew Charity, who was the MD on the Olivier award-winning production of La Boheme for OperaUpClose.

Since deciding to pursue opera full-time in 2011, roles at Morley Opera include Zita in Gianni Schicchi and The Abbess in Suor Angelica at the Bridewell Theatre in London. Since 2012 Gráinne has sung the role of the Mother in Hansel and Gretel for Opera at Home, La Zia Principessa for Co-Opera Co's production of Suor Angelica, the Alto solo in Mozart's Mass in C Major for St Barts' Orchestra and Choir and in Messiah for the Bedford Messiah Choir and was part of a small ensemble in Carmen at Winslow Hall Opera.

Gráinne performed the role of Third Witch (solo role) in Macbeth for English Pocket Opera, sung the role of Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos for Queen's Opera, and was part of the winning team at OperaUpClose's new opera competition for Ulla's Odyssey. In April 2015 she reprised the role of Alice in the new music-theatre piece Home Fires which formed part of the WWI epic hit Till the Boys Come Home for the Sydenham Arts Festival.

She performed the role of Baba in The Medium for Operaview at Grimeborn to critical acclaim; the role of Annie Jump-Cannon in a new opera by Steve Bentley-Klein and Sarah Grange called The Observatory at the Greenbelt Festival; and the role of The Mother in Hansel and Gretel for Thames Philharmonia in December. She recently performed with Pavilion Opera as Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte and with Operaview as Madame Popova in The Bear, and took part in a series of masterclasses in Berlin with Cheryl Studer. She stepped in at very short notice to sing the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Secret Opera in March 2016, which she later performed with the company at the Brighton Festival. Other roles in 2016 have included La Frugola and Lucia in Il Tabarro and Cavalleria Rusticana respectively (Opera Passione); Third Witch/Dama in Macbeth (Pavilion Opera); and The Sorceress (cover) in Dido & Belinda and Flora Sandes in Dead Equal (Helios Collective, supported by ENO and the IOA). Future engagements include Annina in La Traviata in 2017. 

 

 

 

Gráinne also has extensive experience as a soloist, and is available to add that special touch to your wedding, corporate event or any other occasion. Please use the contact form for further details.

 

 

"A special mention must go to the singer [Gráinne Gillis] who took over the role of Suzuki at very short notice, so short she had to perform holding a tablet with the score. She did a remarkable job despite the circumstances - her flower duet with Bork was delicate and harmonious..." - Manuel Munoz (A Younger Theatre) on "Madama Butterfly" with Secret Opera, 2016.

 

"....Gillis - whose voice has rich, dramatic potential - [is] powerful in the title role." - Fiona Maddocks (The Observer) on "The Medium"

 

'I was extremely lucky to be able to book Grainne to sing at my wedding recently and it was easily one of the highlights of the day. Grainne is not only supremely talented but a total professional. I'm not very knowledgeable about opera and Grainne was nothing but delighted to sing some of my rather random song requests and also gave us some much appreciated guidance on song choices. It really added a captivating sparkle to the occasion and I cannot recommend her highly enough' - Annika Eade, Hackney Editor, Mumsnet

"Thank you so much for your amazing performance at Crusaid's Summer Garden Party last Sunday. Although it's only a couple of days since the event, I've already been deluged with really positive comments from guests and many of them have particularly said how much they enjoyed your being there...Perhaps you could let me know when you're next performing in London, as I'd love to come along and have the full 'Grainne Gillis experience'!" Hugh Wright, Events Fundraising Executive, Crusaid

"I want to thank you for making our garden party sooooo lovely. You were totally an absolute delight. Wanting to use more superlatives…" M.Hoek, Birkbeck College


"I loved your programme and the performance. You entertained us brilliantly and I look forward to your next visit." Tom Butler, St Olave's Church, London