Charmian Bedford

Charmian Bedford graduated from Clare College, Cambridge in 2005, where she read Classics and Trinity College of Music where she was a finalist in both the Lillian Ash French Song Competition and the Elizabeth Schumann Lieder Prize. She received the Paul Simm Opera Prize two years running for her portrayal of Blanche Les Dialogues des Carmélites and Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress.

Opera includes 2nd Niece Peter Grimes at the Aldeburgh Festival (also recorded live as a feature film Grimes on the Beach), Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream for both Opéra de Baugé and Garsington Opera (cover), Rowan Little Sweep for Jubilee Opera in Aldeburgh, Belinda Dido and Aeneas for Silent Opera, Fortuna/Damigella L’Incoronazione di Poppea for the Academy of Ancient Music, Catarina in Nicola LeFanu’s Dream Hunter at Wilton’s Music Hall in London and 1st Attendant in the European premiere of John Harbison’s Full Moon in March at The Warehouse. Recent roles include Echo Ariadne auf Naxos for Opera Project at West Green House, and Hope in John Barber’s To the Silkwood Tree for Streetwise Opera.

As a contemporary performer she frequently collaborates with Mira Calix with whom she has worked for Opera North, Streetwise Opera and the Spitalfields Music Festival. She has worked with Tête à Tête ‘The Opera Festival’ performing four newly-commissioned single act operas, and she has premiered song cycles by Lloyd Moore and Graham Williams and orchestral cycles by Daniel Thomas Davis (also recorded) and Peter Child in Lontano’s 2012 Festival of Contemporary American Music.

Concert performances have included Mahler’s Symphony No 4 (Aurora Orchestra at the Deal Music Festival and the Barbican), Handel’s Israel in Egypt (Monteverdi Choir), Berio’s Laborintus II (Aurora and Mahogany Opera at LSO St Luke’s), Mozart’s Requiem (Maribor Festival in Slovenia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti), Handel Dixit Dominus (La Nuova Musica).

With the Academy of Ancient Music she has performed 2nd Woman Dido and Aeneas (Wigmore Hall, subsequently touring to North Africa and China), Bach’s Magnificat (BBC Radio 3), Vivaldi Dixit Dominus (St Sulpice, Paris, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and Usher Hall, Edinburgh), Giunone Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Barbican), Fortuna/Damigella L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Bucharest and Venice), a solo recital of Handel and Purcell at the Foundling Museum and a concert of Bach cantatas live on BBC radio 3 with Pavlo Beznosiuk at Milton Court London and West Road Cambridge.

Plans include the premiere of a new Childrens’ Opera Vehicles by Martyn Harry, and Clorinda La Cenerentola (on tour with Diva Opera).


Peter Grimes (2nd Niece) Aldeburgh Festival 2013
Peter Grimes (2nd Niece) Aldeburgh Festival 2013
La Cenerentola (Clorinda) Diva Opera 2017
La Cenerentola (Clorinda) Diva Opera 2017
Die Fledermaus (Ida) Diva Opera 2018

“In Charmian Bedford’s Giunone she had some serious rivalry, though; Bedford’s late-entry cameo commanded and demanded attention, all gloss and athleticism.” Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria/Academy of Ancient Music, The Arts Desk, October 2015

“The other characters in this community were delineated with Dickensian vigour… with Alexandra Hutton and Charmian Bedford as the two flighty nieces being outstanding.” Peter Grimes/Aldeburgh Festival, The Independent June 2013

“… and Charmian Bedford’s bright voiced “nieces” brought Straussian radiance to the women’s quartet.” Peter Grimes/Aldeburgh Festival Sunday Times June 2013

“This is a lovely, bell-like voice perfectly able to negotiate the coloratura passages and with a characterful smokiness in the lower register.” Dream Hunter, Opera Britannia February 2012

“Charmian Bedford’s somnambulist Catarina is beautifully sung…” Dream Hunter, Guardian February 2012

“Charmian Bedford was particularly lovely: disarmingly candid in her expression, with a beautifully controlled voice that is just the right amount of grainy and able to crack and whisper for added pathos.” La Boheme at the Cock Tavern, Opera Magazine December 2009

“Charmian Bedford was an Anne Trulove… with easy, pure, beautiful tones that rose to radiance… Anne’s duet with Baba the Turk was more moving than ever.” Times Literary Supplement July 2008

“Charmian Bedford, her clear, penetrating soprano projecting strongly…, brought dramatic conviction to the ups and downs of Blanche’s progress from timid novice to serene martyr – the scene with her brother had a special intensity…” Carmelites, Opera Magazine July 2007

Opera Repertoire

Britten Peter Grimes 2nd Niece
Britten The Little Sweet The Little Sweet
Britten The Turn of the Screw Governess
Strauss (Richard) Ariadne auf Naxos Echo
Monteverdi Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria Giunone
Monteverdi L’Incoronazione di Poppea La Fortuna
Poulenc Les Dialogues des Carmélites Blanche
Purcell Dido and Aeneas Belinda
Stravinsky The Rake's Progress Anne Trulove

Concert Repertoire

Bach Magnificat
Berio Laborintus II
Handel Dixit Dominus
Handel Israel in Egypt
Mahler Symphony No 4
Mozart Requiem
Vivaldi Dixit Dominus
Peter Grimes Britten
Signum Classics SIGCD348