Northern Irish soprano Aoife Miskelly trained as a Sickle Foundation Scholar at Royal Academy Opera under Jennifer Dakin and Audrey Hyland, graduating with the Regency Award in 2012. The 2013/14 season saw Aoife make several notable role debuts, including Gilda (Rigoletto) and Gretel for Cologne, Cecily in the Irish premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest for Northern Ireland Opera/Wide Open Opera, and Thérèse in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias at La Monnaie, a role which she first performed for Aix-en-Provence in June 2013. In July 2014, Aoife returned to the Aix-en-Provence Festival for their production of Trauernacht (staged Bach cantatas), directed by Katie Mitchell.
Throughout the course of her studies, Aoife was a finalist at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards (2010), the first prize winner of the Hampshire National Singing Competition (2011), winner of the Bernadette Greevy Bursary (2011) and the BBC NI Young Artists Platform Award sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (2011). A Samling Scholar, a Britten-Pears and Internationale Meistersinger Akademie Young Artist, Aoife was also a finalist for the Royal Overseas League Competition (2012), the Young Classical Artists Trust at the Wigmore Hall (2012) and the 2013 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition at the National Concert Hall Dublin. In May 2014, Aoife was awarded the prestigious Offenbach Prize by the friends of the Cologne Opera House for outstanding achievement throughout the season.
Previous roles include Sophie Scholl in the world premiere of Kommilitonen! by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies directed by David Poutney (RAO), Pamina (RAO and Bath Festival), Despina (RAO), Servilia (Cologne), Sophie (Werther) Les Azuriales Opera, The Governess (Dartington) and covering Diana in Diana and Acteon by Jonathan Dove for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
A natural performer of modern music, Aoife performed the role of Mary Crawford in the London Premiere of Jonathan Dove’s opera Mansfield Park in May 2012 with Royal Academy Opera directed by John Ramster. With Camerata Ireland and pianist/conductor Barry Douglas, Aoife sang in the world premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s At Sixes and Sevens in July 2013. In April 2014, Aoife returned to sing with Camerata Ireland and Codetta in their performance live on Spanish Radio of Beethoven’s oratorio Christ on the mount of olives in Cuenca, Spain.
Aoife is also a very keen oratorio singer, having performed Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen and Magnificat, Beethoven’s Mass in C (Cologne Cathedral), Brahms Requiem (St. Martin in the fields), Carissimi’s Jepthe (St. John’s Smith Square), Handel’s Messiah, Dixit Dominus, Laudate, pueri, Dominum, and Saul (conducted by Laurence Cummings), Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Monteverdi Vespers (Ely Cathedral), Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass and Exultate Jubilate, Carmina Burana (Ulster Orchestra), Poulenc’s Gloria, Stravinsky’s Mass, Varese’s Nocturnal (NYOGB) and Vivaldi’s Gloria, among others.
In the 2014/15 season Aoife will return home to Northern Ireland Opera to sing Pamina in September and will then join the Cologne Opera House as an ensemble member where her roles will include: Despina, Harey (Solaris by Detlev Glanert), Valencienne (Die lustige Witwe), Papagena, Eliza Dolittle (My Fair Lady) at the Royal Opera House Muskat, Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito) and Frasquita in Carmen.
Other operatic roles performed recently whilst as a member of the Cologne International Opera Studio include Nella (Gianni Schicchi), 2. Stimme (Jakob Lenz by Wolfgang Rihm), 4th Flowermaiden (Parsifal), Die Grossmutter (Der Räuber Hotzenplotz), Schneewittchen (Snow White), and Neitrude (Aschenputtel/Cinderella).
Aoife is very grateful for all the wonderful teaching and support she has received throughout her studies and start to her career, with particular thanks owing to the Sickle Foundation, the teaching staff of the Royal Academy of Music and to her friends and family.
In her spare time, Aoife enjoys hiking, playing tennis, catching up with family and friends, and helping out on her friend’s sheep farm!