Biography & Reviews

 

Helen Sherman credit Benjamin Harte

Born in Australia, mezzo-soprano Helen Sherman studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where she completed a Bachelor of Music and Post Graduate Diploma in opera. Following her success in the 2007 Australian Singing Competition she was awarded a scholarship to take up studies at the Royal Northern College of Music where she was the first student to receive the International Artists Diploma in opera. In 2011 Helen represented Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. She again represented her country in 2014, when she was the only mezzo selected as a finalist in the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition, held in Barcelona. In 2013 Helen was awarded 3rd prize in the prestigious Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and in 2014 was invited to sing in the Opening Ceremony of the Tour de France, Le Grand Depart held at Leeds Arena. Helen is a Samling Scholar, an associate artist for Classical Opera Company and YCAT alumnus.

Of her opening night performance as Irene in Pinchgut Opera’s production of Bajazet, Bachtrack’s Peter Selar wrote: “When Irene, the princess of Trebisond entered..an eye-catching exotically jewelled dress was outdone by Helen Sherman’s jaw-dropping portrayal of her. With an attractively dark mezzo-soprano full of depth and striking register shifts, Sherman portrayed a woman to be reckoned with in Irene’s opening aria [Qual guerriero in campo armato]..Sherman performed with distinctive dramatic and vocal skill.”

Recent engagements include Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) for Opera north, Elvira (Don Giovanni) for Classical Opera, Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte) for Opera North, Old Nog (Tarka the Otter) for Two Moors Festival, Irene (Bajazet) for Pinchgut Opera, Aurelio (L’Assedio di Calais) for English Touring Opera, Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro) for Opera North, Rosina (The Barber of Seville) for Longborough Festival Opera, Carmen (Carmen) for Mid Wales Opera, Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito) for Classical Opera Company, and Nerone (The Coronation of Poppea) for English Touring Opera.

Helen’s concert appearances have included performances at Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, City of London festival, Performances at Cadogan Hall and Milton Court with Classical Opera, recitals at Cheltenham Festival including Janacek’s Diary of one who disappeared with Toby Spence and Britten’s Cabaret Songs with James Baillieu broadcast live on BBC Radio3, Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall and The Sage Gateshead, recitals with Roger Vignoles for Cambridge Summer Music Festival, with Malcolm Martineau and Sir Thomas Allen at the Wigmore Hall and Peter Maxwell Davies’s Five Acts of Harry Patch with the London Mozart Players at St John’s Smith Square.  Helen has featured on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC Classic FM and on British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC Radio4 Womens Hour, BBC Radio3, and recorded with The Orchestra of the Antipodes, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

Future engagements include Bessie (The Cotton Mill) for the Griffin Schools Trust Arts Festival, Recitals at Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the Royal Overseas League, Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) for Pinchgut Opera and concerts in Sydney and Brisbane with the Sydney Symphony and Queensland Symphony orchestras.

Helen is very grateful for the dedicated support of The Richard Carne Trust, The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Classical Opera Company, The Young Classical Artists Trust, The Kohn Foundation, The Royal Overseas League, The Wingate Trust, The Tait Memorial Trust, Independent Opera, The Australian Music Foundation, The Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Trust, The Dame Joan Sutherland Society, Ars Musica Australis, The Opera and Arts Support Group Sydney, The Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust and International Opera Productions.

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Reviews..

“Sam and Dinah were magnificently cast. Sherman’s secure delivery and crisp diction could melt into moments of tearful fragility. Her Island Magic, a tribute to the Pacific islands, was sensational, sung cabaret-style in a camilla dress complete with a bubbling volcano (courtesy of a champagne bottle and some aspirin) around which she sashayed with riotous extravagance.”

Limelight magazine / Trouble in Tahiti / Lost and Found Opera / City Beach Perth / May 2017

“Sherman infuses one scene in which Dinah remembers a dream — with a tragic poignancy. Contrast this with the late scene in which she recalls a terrible movie she just saw (alone), Trouble in Tahiti. It had this Friday opening night audience, sitting in a cinema-like enclosure beyond the sliding doors, in stitches… from the originality of its conception to the excellence of its execution, it is difficult to find fault.”

The West Australian / Trouble in Tahiti / Lost and Found Opera / City Beach Perth / May 2017

“The major roles cast list here included several notable singers trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, among whom Helen Sherman (Octavian) was the stand-out. Her voice was strong, secure and finely modulated, and her acting superb.”

Manchester Evening News / Der Rosenkavalier / Opera north / November 2016

“Helen Sherman’s Octavian weathered the orchestral storm as well as any. Her lusty cavorting and volatile temperament made her an ideal Quinquin; she found a mellower streak with Sophie, and was enchantingly rustic as Mariandel – three characters in one.”

Opera Magazine / Der Rosenkavalier / Opera North / Leeds Grand / November 2016

“Mezzo Helen Sherman, a distinguished Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, points up the continuum between the two operas by donning trousers once again and presenting a gauche, plausible Octavian. Sherman’s voice blends magically with that of Fflur Wyn..while her disguise as the maid Mariandel stays just the right side of raucous.”

What’s on Stage / Der Rosenkavalier / Opera North / Leeds Grand / September 2016

“Helen Sherman made her mark as a persuasively moody boy Octavian, still apparently torn between old flame and new at the final curtain.”

The Times / Richard Morrison / Der Rosenkavalier / Opera North / Leeds Grand / September 2016

“Helen Sherman’s Octavian sounds as dashing as he/she looks.”

The Guardian / Alfred Hickling / Der Rorenakavalier / Opera North / Leeds Grand / September 2016

“Helen Sherman sang Elvira with classical excellence; she has a large, but nimble, mezzo with plenty of dramatic tone and that clean austerity of proto-Classical singing.”

Backtrack / Dominic Lowe / Don Giovanni / Classical Opera / Cadogan Hall London / June 2016

“Her Elvira was revealingly human and intensely warm. She brought a lovely lyric freedom to the role, with not hint of pressure in the upper register. Elvira is a mixed character, part comic part serious but Sherman took her completely seriously. Her Elvira was very feminine and rather vulnerable, Ah chi mi dice mai was beautiful and warm, and the scene where she responds to Leporello pretending to be Don Giovanni was heartbreaking.”

Planet Hugil / Don Giovanni / Classical Opera / Cadogan Hall London/ June 2016

“Sherman brought lyricism and rich vocal colouring to the role of Elvira and her handling of Mozart’s coloratura was particularly impressive. She seemed to find the perfect balance between high drama and lyricism in Ah, chi mi dice mai while Ah Fuggi il traditor was bright and imperious. (It would be good to hear her performance of Mi tradi at some point in the future.)”

Seen and Heard International / Robert Beattie / Don Giovanni / Classical Opera / Cadogan Hall London / June 2016

“Mezzo Helen Sherman brings considerable dramatic charm as well as a remarkably agile yet still velvet voice to the part of Dorabella”

Bachtrack / Richard Wilcocks / Cosi fan Tutte / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / February 2016

“And the opera’s subtitle, the School for Lovers, might equally be adjusted to the School for Singers as the production, eloquently conducted by Jac van Steen, continues to provide a platform for new generations of talent.. Helen Sherman’s handsomely sung Dorabella shares an innate wickedness with Ellie Laugharne’s wily Despina”

The Guardian / Alfred Hickling / Cosi fan Tutte / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / February 2016

“Máire Flavin as Fiordiligi and Helen Sherman as Dorabella  performed what was demanded of them  by the production, navigating convincingly through the incredulities of the plot and singing their way through it all magnificently.”

Seen and Heard International / John Leeman / Cosi fan Tutte / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / February 2016

“Opera North’s cast at Newcastle Theatre Royal were firmly in the saddle, holding the audience transfixed throughout with sparkling performances, sharp comic timing and superb singing.. Helen Sherman puts in a strong performance as Dorabella.”

The Advertiser / Gavin Engelbrecht / Cosi fan Tutte / Opera North / Theatre Royal, Newcastle / March 2016

“Australian mezzo soprano Helen Sherman is ravishing as Dorabella”

Ilkley Gazette / Claire Lomax / Cosi fan Tuttel / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / February 2016

“Mezzo Soprano Helen Sherman as Irene was truly superb on every level. What a woman, what a voice. She is a beautifully timbered and fluid mezzo and her interpretation of the proud Queen seemingly usurped by a younger rival, had all the hallmarks of a complex heroine. Her range from rich to resonate, took on an extra dimension when she performed the virtuosic gob-smacking aria I was especially waiting for Qual guerriero in campo armato with crowd-pleasing virtuosity. What an extraordinary work and what a powerhouse showstopping performance. Must say that I felt like leaping to my feet and shouting for joy.”

The Culture Concept / Carolyn McDowall / Bajazet / Pinchgut Opera / City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney, / July 2015

 “When Irene, the princess of Trebisond entered to seal the deal for a promised marriage to Tamerlano, an eye-catching exotically jewelled dress was outdone by Helen Sherman’s jaw-dropping portrayal of her. With an attractively dark mezzo-soprano full of depth and striking register shifts, Sherman portrayed a woman to be reckoned with in Irene’s opening aria [Qual guerriero in campo armato] a viciously long aria full of scorn for being received coldly by Tamerlano. Later, as a trusting cohort then exhibiting signs of a psychologically suspect esteem, Sherman performed with distinctive dramatic and vocal skill.”

Bachtrack / Paul Selar / Bajazet / Pinchgut Opera / City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney / July 2015

“The six principal characters are consistently impressive.. As Irene, Helen Sherman has a powerful sound and commanding stage presence.”
Sydney Morning Herald / Harriet Cunningham / Bajazet / Pinchgut Opera / City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney / July 2015

“Mezzo-soprano Helen Sherman returns to Australia in the vocally demanding role of Irene, shunned fiancée of Tamerlano. Her control is, literally, breath-taking and the audience response to her performance was indicative of the strength and power of her inspiring performance.”

Stage Whispers / Carol Wimmer / Bajazet / Pinchgut Opera / City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney / July 2015
 
“Australian-born Helen Sherman, [is] an impressive mezzo soprano who is making quite a name for herself currently in the UK. As the slighted, vengeful, yet ultimately pragmatic Princess Irene – contracted for a diplomatic marriage, she’s dumped by Tamerlano before she’s even arrived – she nails her three contrasting arias with great aplomb. Her impassioned Sposa, son disprezzata is one of the evening’s highpoints.”
Limelight Magazine / Clive Paget / Bajazet / Pinchgut Opera / City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney / July 2015
 

“Shining brightly in the trouser-role of Aurelio mezzo-soprano Helen Sherman gave a sterling performance of dramatic integrity. Crystal clear diction and powerful vocal power ensured her resilient voice cut through the orchestral sound to every corner of the house.”

Seen and Heard International / Michael Cookson / L’Assedio di Calais / English Touring Opera / Grand Theatre / May 2015

“The character which lingers in my mind the most, however, is the hilariously-hormoned Cherubino, the ultimate stage adolescent as played by Helen Sherman, who not only dashes and leaps about but who has a terrific, lush mezzo voice which brings a surprising elegance to the part. The scene in which she is dressed up, a boy disguised as a female, with a splendid corset and bonnet, was one of the evening’s comic high points.”

Bachtrack / Richard Wilcocks / The Marriage of Figaro / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / January 2015

“Helen Sherman’s zestful Cherubino combines knockabout humour with beautiful singing, notably in the physical contortions and undisturbed vocal line of Voi che sapete.”

Huddersfield Examiner / Ronald Simpson / The Marriage of Figaro / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / January 2015

“Helen Sherman has sparkle as a Cherubino in teenage overdrive..The net result is a Figaro of exceptional ensemble, rich in charm, humour and vitality: beautifully sung, sensitively staged. For pure enjoyment, what more can opera offer?”

The Telegraph / Rupert Christiansen / The Marriage of Figaro / Opera North / Leeds Grand Theatre / January 2015

 

“Sherman’s blonde Carmen pretty much commanded the stage, her demeanour always sensual rather than overtly sexual, and her fine mezzo in full control of the range of emotions from insouciance to final passionate defiance.”

Opera Magazine / Rian Evans / Carmen / Mid Wales Opera / September 2014

“Can a vamp with a vaporiser radiate danger? A blonde with killer legs, watchful eyes and a wonderfully elastic, expressive tone, Helen Sherman as Carmen sure can.”

The Times / Anna Picard / Carmen / Mid Wales Opera / The Hafren / September 2014

“Strongest by far is Helen Sherman in the title role. No dark Gypsy, but a peroxide blonde, sensuous and sassy, she controls her mezzo throughout the range, from rich chest-voice to fearless top registers. Crucially, she is a magnetic presence even when she is not singing or centrestage: at the first appearance of the toreador Escamillo (the suave Nicholas Lester), the fickle Carmen’s body language says it all: she smoulders.”

The Guardian / Rian Evans / Carmen / Mid Wales Opera / The Hafren / September 2014
  
“Helen Sherman is certainly its highlight as Rosina. In Sherman’s detailed portrayal, Rosina is naughty, charming and a force to be reckoned with in her own right, scheming and plotting with just as much glee and dash as Figaro and Almaviva, and convincing us of Rosina’s idealistic teenage passion for a man she, quite honestly, doesn’t know. Sherman’s voice, capable of a truly huge sound and lyrically beautiful at all times, is an absolute delight, and the famous Singing Lesson scene – one of Rossini’s wittiest exchanges, comically and musically – becomes an absolute education in Sherman’s hands. I could not have enjoyed her performance more.”
Bachtrack / The Barber of Seville / Longborough Festival / Opera Project / July 2014
 
“The Rosina of Helen Sherman is simply tremendous, her coloratura as spectacular as lightning, her command of register imperious, and her sheer stage-presence compelling.”
Birmingham Post / Barber of Seville / Longborough Festival / Opera Project / July 2014
 
“Sherman, though, whatever may be in store for her, is indisputably the star of Bartolo’s drawing room. A proper mezzo, but with a seemingly effortless two-octave range, she uses every inch of her voice and her body to portray this adorable but alas easily misled beauty. Also, unlike many a mezzo, she joins up her registers; and she knows how to use her chest tones with a flicker of sensuality. This is in every way an outstanding performance, full of wit and bravura, compulsively watchable and listenable.”
theartsdesk.com / Barber of Seville / Longborough Festival / Opera Project / July 2014
 
“The emotional heart of the whole opera, meanwhile, came from Helen Sherman as Sesto. Her deeply affecting portrayal of the anguished, obsessed traitor was a tour de force, and her stage presence was magnetic as she was torn between her passion for Vitellia and her friendship for Tito.”
Bachtrack / La Clemenza di Tito / Classical Opera / Cadogan Hall London / March 2014
 
“..the infatuated Sesto, Helen Sherman, produced an impassioned account of her second-act showpiece.. the whole performance had vivid life and electric energy.”
The Telegraph / Rupert Christiansen / La Clemenza di Tito / Classical Opera Company / Cadogan Hall / March 2014
 
 “Helen Sherman’s agile, characterful mezzo was superbly suited to the character’s conflict between loyal love for his friend Tito and his passion for Vitellia. If anything, Sesto is even more gripping a role than Vitellia, certainly more sympathetic, and Sherman caught the embattled nobility in a magnificent ‘Parto ma tu ben mio’..”
www.classicalsource.com / La Clemenza di Tito / Classical Opera Company / Cadogan Hall London / March 2014 
    
 
“As Nero, Helen Sherman was imperious, showing appropriate brittleness in the part. Paula Sides equalled this self-serving determination as Poppea, but together they also achieved some tender, even erotic, music-making however hateful the circumstances of their love might be.”
www.classicalsource.com / The Coronation of Poppea / Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music London / October 2013
 
 

“A clapometer would have registered the loudest applause (cheers as well) for the Australian mezzo Helen Sherman, the only finalist who appeared fully at home standing by a piano, strongly projecting Mahler, Britten and company and entering our hearts. ..Vigorously singing in three dimensions, busy in opera and recital, the future, it seems, is already here. Perhaps thats what the jury sensed. ..She took third prize.”
The Times / Wigmore Hall International Song Prize / Wigmore Hall / August 2013
 
There is one genuine revelation in this production. The good looking youth caught stealing bread from the enemy camp during the overture turned out, to my surprise, to be the mezzo Helen Sherman playing Aurelio. I’ve never seen a more convincing boy. And she can sing too. Her voice is warm, flexible and attractively rounded, and she sang assertively and evenly from top to bottom. I can easily imagine her in the sort of parts Joyce DiDonato specialises in – bel canto, Handel, Mozart – anything that needs stupendous technical command and real character.’
Intermezzo / English Touring Opera / L’Assedio di Calais / Hackney Empire / March 2013
 
‘Donizetti’s fierce vocal demands are met fearlessly and thrillingly by the young Australian mezzo Helen Sherman, playing the volatile hero Aurelio. Her stridently masculine body language and formidable vocal power seem to epitomise the bloody-minded resistance of the besieged citizens.’
Richard Morrison / The Times / English Touring Opera / L’Assedio di Calais / March 2013
 
‘Helen Sherman, who represented Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2011, was superb as Aurelio. Dressed in baggy clothes, she looked physically every inch a young man and her demeanour was at all times highly convincing even when being rather physical (such as climbing over the drain). But she also brought to the role a fine, rich mezzo-soprano voice which was nicely even across the (considerable) range and wonderfully flexible when it came to the fioritura. She sang the role with intelligence and bravura, using the fioritura musically and dramatically. I certainly hope that we shall hear more of her in this repertoire.’
Robert Hugill / A World of Classical Music / English Touring Opera / L’Assedio di Calais / Hackney Empire / March 2013
 
 ‘The singer that made this a knock-out was Australian mezzo Helen Sherman as Aurelio. Before she started singing, her convincing mannerisms and body language made me think she was a man, and she gave a stunning portrayal of the role. The defiant aria in Act I, and in Act II the duet with his wife, the rejection of the enemy, and the farewell aria to his baby were riveting. Helen Sherman’s mezzo voice is world class, and a glance at her website shows she is singing a huge range of different roles — I look forward to hearing her again.’ 
Mark Ronan / Theatre Reviews / English Touring Opera/ L’Assedio di Calais / Hackney Empire / March 2013
  
“Finally, a Handel aria sung as it should be, with clean but not over-articulated coloratura, excellent phrasing, plenty of expression, and the ornamentation placed at the service of the music, rather than just used as a tool to show off a voice…Sherman picked up the gauntlet and flung it right down again for the remaining competitors with this exuberant and triumphant interpretation.”
An Unamplified Voice / Cardiff Singer of the World / June 2011
 

 
 “My favourite female performer of the evening, was the Australian mezzo Helen Sherman. To start with, she is so elegant.. She walked firmly onto the stage, stood there in perfect control of her expressions and gestures, and delivered three difficult pieces with no obvious sense of strain. An audience can feel safe in her hands.”
Intermezzo / Cardiff Singer of the World / June 2011