Get to know the musicians behind the instruments with our ‘Introducing’ sessions!
Meet Llio Evans, our wonderful soprano who will be performing as part of Ensemble Cymru during our November Coffee Concerts.
How old are you?
Where are you from?
Anglesey, LlanfairPG. But I now live in Cardiff.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a Soprano at the threshold of a career as an opera singer having just recently received a Distinction in my MA in Advanced Vocal Studies from the Wales International Academy of Voice under the tutelage of Dennis O’Neill. Prior to that I trained at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. I’ve just finished a season at Garsington Opera where I was a Young Artist this Summer.
Tell us about your family
My family are extremely supportive and very proud of me. My dad is tone deaf but my mum used to sing to me as a child. One of my earliest singing memories is singing duets with my mother while she blow-dried my hair. My mother still believes that she sings best to the accompaniment of a hairdryer or a hoover!
How would you describe your music?
I sing mostly opera but I also do oratorio and concert work. I love singing Mozart, Handel, Poulenc, Richard Strauss, Meirion Williams and I also have a huge soft spot for Ivor Novello.
Do you have any gigs/tours coming up?
I’m touring venues in North Wales during the first week of November as part of Ensemble Cymru’s Coffee Concerts season. I will be performing songs by Richard Strauss, Meirion Williams as well as Schubert’s The Shepherd on the rock and A Garden of Weeds by Terence Greaves.
What are you best known for?
I’m probably best known for my achievements at the Urdd, National and International Eisteddfodau.
What can people expect from your gigs?
Tunes – I love a good melody. I also like to include some comedy songs where I can. I may be a soprano but I still have a sense of humour! A Garden of Weeds is a quirky set of short songs with clarinet that I’m currently preparing for the November tour. That will certainly be different.
Tell us five things which make your set great
I’m very lucky to be performing with two awesome musicians as part of the Ensemble Cymru concerts; Anya Fadina on piano and Peryn Clement-Evans on clarinet. We will be performing stunning music from all over the globe as well as music by Welsh composers. It’s a chance to hear some rarely performed gems as well as some classics, including Strauss’ Wiegenlied, Meirion Williams’ Mai and Schubert’s Shepherd on the rock. People often associate classical music with ‘old’ music, written centuries ago. What’s great about this concert is that it shows how classical music is constantly reinventing itself with music ranging from Richard Strauss (celebrating 150 years since his birth this year) right up to the present day. And since they’re Coffee Concerts, they’re short and sweet (about an hour), so if you’re new to classical music and fancy a taster, this concert is perfect for you.
Tell us what’s good about the Venue
I’m so happy to be performing in some lovely venues in North Wales: Venue Cymru on the 6 and 8 November (10:30am), Canolfan Ucheldre in Holyhead also on 6 November (3pm), Neuadd Dwyfor in Pwllheli on 5 November (1pm), Capel Gad in Cilcain on 4 November (8pm) and the Teras Lounge at Bangor University on 7 November (8pm). I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to bring my music home, to be able to spend some time with my family and for them to hear me sing live, which doesn’t happen very often.
A little known fact about yourself:
I love knitting and pandas. I also have a grade 3 in Irish dancing.
What are your best and worst habits?
I always try to find the best in people. I am not a morning person.
Whose music are you listening to?
At the moment, Diana Damrau’s album, Poesie.
What are you most proud of musically?
Last year I recorded the small role of Barbe in a studio recording of Arthur Sullivan’s The Beauty Stone with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for Chandos Records. The other soloists included Toby Spence, Elin Manahan Thomas and my personal idol, Rebecca Evans. So I can proudly say that I am credited on a CD with Rebecca Evans.
What are your up-and-coming plans with your career?
I have a few exciting things to look forward to: My first Elijah which is also my first appearance as a soloist in St John’s Smiths Square in London and my first Beethoven Symhpony No.9 in Brecon Cathedral. I’m also excited to be covering the role of Despina in Garsington Opera’s production of Cosí fan tutte next summer.