Buddug Verona James
Described as “a Brancusi” in the New York Times, “a real showstopper” in the Guardian and “ravishing” in the Financial Times, the critically acclaimed Welsh mezzo soprano Buddug Verona James trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and National Opera Studio.
She has performed roles for Almeida Opera, Cleveland Opera (USA), Dutch National Opera, English Pocket Opera, English Touring Opera, Glyndebourne, Lanternhouse International, Opera Atelier (Canada), Opera Circus, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, Opera Northern Ireland, Opera Theatre Company (Dublin), Opera Players, Travelling Opera, Opera 80, Operavox Cartoons, Mid Wales Opera, Music Theatre Wales and Siobhan Davies Dance Company.
She has premiered in operas by Gerald Barry, Jonathan Dove, Deirdre Gribbin, Julian Joseph, Wolfgang Rihm and John Woolrich.
Her concert repertoire includes:
- Mozart's Ch'io mi scordi di te with Jane Glover and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra
- the title role in Juditha Triumphans at the Vivaldi Festival, London
- Matthäus-Passion with Paul Steinitz
- Johannes Passion with Thomas Dausgaard
- Theodora with Paul McCreesh
- Bach Cantatas with John Georgiadis and the London Virtuosi
- Beethoven's Mass in C with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta
- Elijah at the Royal National Eisteddfod with Owain Arwel Hughes
- Messiah with Lim Yau and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra
- Purcell's Dido with Raymond Calcraft at Exeter Cathedral
- Dvorak Mass at the Auditorio Nacional
- Madrid and Falla's El Amor Brujo with George Vass at the Presteigne Festival.
In recital she has collaborated with pianists Benjamin Bayl, Raymond Calcraft, Dearbhla Collins, Martin Cousin, Wyn Davies, Jonathan Dove, Gretel Dowdeswell, Iwan Llywelyn Jones, Andrew Wilson-Dickson and Caradog Williams. She has premiered songs and arrangements by Gerald Barry, Elfyn M Jones, James MacMilla, Pwyll ap Sion, Phyllis Tate, Andrew Wilson-Dickson and most recently a song cycle composed for her by Jonathan Dove.
She has also undertaken various acting roles for BBC, HTV, S4C, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Torch Theatre and Theatr peña. Her most recent role was Mrs Ogmore Pritchard in Kevin Allen's new film adaptation of Under Milk Wood, which was the UK entrant for the 2015 Academy Awards.
Buddug’s one-woman shows; Castradiva by Mark Ryan and A Knife at the Opera by Chris Harris have toured to Croatia, Ireland and numerous theatres and festivals in the UK including Edinburgh and Buxton.
Buddug is a Welsh Singers Competition Winner (1986). In 2001 she was honoured with the Druidic White Robe of Gorsedd y Beirdd at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
A teacher with over 25 years experience, Buddug has a private practice in London, Cardiff and Pembrokeshire, whilst also teaching on the BA Performance course at Canolfan Berfformio Cymru (Performance Centre Wales), affiliated to Trinity St. David University, and at Cardiff University. Her students have sung for all the major opera companies in the UK, and internationally, and have, in recent years, studied at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the RCM, RAM, GSMD, RNCM and NOS.
Buddug assisted Dr Alan Watson, Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University in recording breathing patterns while singing for his book The Biology of Musical Performance and collaborated with him on a paper studying the activity patterns in latissimus dorsi and sternocleidomastoid in classical singers, which was published by Journal of Voice. She is a member of the British Voice Association and the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Buddug has directed The Pirates of Penzance, Ruddigore, Acis and Galatea, Dido and Aeneas, Orpheus in the Underworld, Hercules and Opera Scenes for RWCMD, for the Welsh Baroque Orchestra Hercules which toured to Croatia, for Menter Rhosygilwen Dido and Aeneas (2010), Carmen (2011) The Marriage of Figaro (2012) which toured to Spain and The Magic Flute (2013), and for WIAV A pocket La Bohème and Opera Scenes (2013). She has conducted masterclasses on technique and interpretation in Russia, Lithuania, Croatia, Germany and the UK and adjudicated at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
- Thomas Chilcot songs with Andrew Wilson-Dickson and the Welsh Baroque Orchestra (Meridian)
- Arias by Handel and Gluck featured in Castradiva
- The James Sisters sing Gospel
- Caneuon y Werin/Songs of the People - Folk Songs from the British Isles and America arranged by Haydn, Howells, Tate, Wilson-Dickson, Pwyll ap Sion, James MacMillan and Jonathan Dove (Fflach)
- The Intelligence Park (Faranesi) by Gerald Barry (NMC Records).