Praised by The Guardian for her “irrepressible sense of drama and unmissable, urgent musicality”, Australian mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean is passionate about curation and programming, with a broad repertoire that encompasses contemporary music, art song, chamber music, early music, opera, oratorio and non-classical collaborations.
A versatile and sought-after artist, Lotte has established herself as a leading interpreter of new music, having given the world premieres of over 30 works and performed at many of the major festivals and venues around the UK, in Australia and internationally. Performance highlights include her debut with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis in Stravinsky Perséphone, Dean Hamlet (State Opera of South Australia) Pirates of Penzance (Opera Holland Park) and Pierrot Lunaire (Manchester Collective), a work she will be repeating next year in Köln and Brisbane. Recent 21-22 recital appearances include Festival Musica Sacra Maastricht, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Aldeburgh, Swaledale, Llandeilo and Petworth Festivals, Britten Pears Festival of New, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Festival Llums D’Antiga Barcelona, and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Recent operatic work includes Dido and Aeneas (Sorceress) for International Bach Festival Gran Canaria and Theodora (Irene) at Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, and this season sees her Swiss debut at Grand Théâtre de Genève in Shlomowitz’ Electric Dreams.
Lotte has also performed at venues including St John’s Smith Square, St Martin in the Fields, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Conway Hall, Wiltshire Music Centre, The Wallace Collection, Handel & Hendrix House, St James’ Palace and Colston Hall Bristol, and other festival appearances include Buxton International Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Barbican Centre Sound Unbound, Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Lewes Festival of Song, Two Moors Festival, Norfolk & Norwich, Gower Festival and Dartington Festival and Tête-à-Tête Opera. Australian festivals and venues include the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre, Dark Mofo, Adelaide Festival, and Port Fairy. Prior to moving to the UK, Lotte sang numerous principal roles in predominantly contemporary operas with Sydney Chamber Opera and Victorian Opera, after debuting with VO in De Falla’s El retablo de Maese Pedro in 2012.
Alongside pianist Joseph Havlat, Lotte won the 2019 Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform and subsequently gave recitals at the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Oxford Lieder Festival. Together they have performed many wide-reaching programmes of song and new music, including several outings of Messiaen’s largest vocal work Harawi ; a performance recently described by the Irish Times as ‘absorbing…distinctive, pointed and consistently beautiful.’ Other major works performed this year include Peter Maxwell Davies’ monodrama The Medium, Ligeti Sippal dobbal nadihegedüvel, Crumb American Songbook IV: Wings of Destiny, Cage Litany of the Whale and Nono La fabric illuminata.
Lotte also won the 2017 Peter Hulsen Orchestral Song Award, the inaugural 2018 Musician’s Company New Elizabethan Award, and most recently, the 2020 Overseas Prize and the 2020 Audrey Strange Memorial Prize for an outstanding singer at the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. Lotte reached the semi finals of the 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition in Heidelberg as well as the 2017 Wigmore Hall Song Competition alongside pianist Hannah Harnest. Prior to moving to London, Lotte won several awards and competitions in Australia including the Acclaim Awards MCM Prize (2014), the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria (2012), the Mietta Song Competition (2012) the National Liederfest (2012, 2017) and several prizes while a student at Melbourne Conservatorium.
Lotte is also a regular collaborator with various chamber groups in the UK and Australia, including EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, Explore Ensemble, Ensemble x.y, Ligeti Quartet, Armida Quartet, Marsyas Trio, La Vaghezza Baroque, Rubiks Collective, Dots+Loops Brisbane, The Song Company, Van Diemen’s Band, and previously as Associate Artist with Southbank Sinfonia. Lotte is a Young Artist of the Musicians Company, and a Young Artist alumnus of Britten Pears Arts, Imogen Cooper Music Trust, City Music Foundation and the Tait Memorial Trust, as well as Oxford Lieder. Lotte has sung several principal roles in predominantly contemporary operas with companies such as Sydney Chamber Opera and Victorian Opera, after debuting with VO in De Falla’s El retablo de Maese Pedro in 2012
Lotte has appeared as soloist with several major ensembles including the internationally renowned Australian Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and Manchester Collective, among others. She has also collaborated with non classical artists including tours with DJ Pete Tong (2018) and electronic duo The Presets (2014). In the UK, Lotte has performed at venues including Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, St Martin In The Fields, Cadogan Hall, Wiltshire Music Centre, The Wallace Collection, Handel & Hendrix House, St James’ Palace and Colston Hall Bristol, and festival appearances include Buxton International Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Barbican Centre Sound Unbound, Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Llandeilo Fawr Festival, Lewes Festival of Song, Two Moors Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Oxford Lieder, Norfolk & Norwich, Gower Festival and Dartington Festival. She has appeared with several UK and European ensembles including Manchester Collective, Choir of London, English Chamber Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, La Vaghezza and the Heritage Orchestra/DJ Pete Tong.
Throughout the pandemic, Lotte remained very musically active with online performances, creating over 25 pieces of content and recitals for several venues and organizations including Home Concert Club, Living Room Live, Bitesize Proms, Tait Tuesdays At Home, OperaHarmony, Bishopsgate Institute and Greengage Arts/OnJam. She also made recordings of premieres by Raymond Yiu, Michael Finnissy (Metier) and Philippos Tsalahouris, (NAXOS) and Brett Dean’s Gertrude Fragments (BIS Records)
Lotte is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music (MA with Distinction) and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (BMus 2012), and also completed a Fellowship at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in 2014. She was recently named as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in the 2022 Honours, an honour reserved for alumni who have contributed significantly to the music industry. While at RAM, Lotte was a member of Song Circle and a soloist for the popular Bach Cantata Series, performed in masterclasses with Sir Thomas Allen, Bengt Forsberg and Dame Felicity Lott, and was supported by the Josephine Baker Trust. She has also studied in Milan (Accademia Teatro alla Scala), privately in New York, and at the 2016 Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt with Donatienne Michel-Dansac and the Vokalsolisten Stuttgart. Teachers and coaches have included Anna Connolly, Catherine Benson, Audrey Hyland and Caitlin Hulcup. Recent masterclasses as a Britten Pears Young Artist have included Dame Ann Murray, James Baillieu, Susan Manoff and Roderick Williams.
Her performances have been broadcast on radio around the world including BBC Radio 3, NDR Kultur, ABC Classic FM, and WQXR NY, and she was named one of Limelight Magazine’s Young Classical Stars 2021. She has been featured on several albums, including releases for NAXOS and Tall Poppies, and has four further albums due for release in 2023-24, on Delphian, Metier and BIS Records.
Alongside Australian violinist Bridget O’Donnell and the Tait Memorial Trust, Lotte organized and programmed the Australian Bushfire Benefit London at the Royal Academy of Music shortly before the pandemic, involving major Australian artists Simone Young, Stuart Skelton and Amy Dickson. The event raised over £40,000 for the Australian Bushfire Relief effort.
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