Rachel Nicholls made her début at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in 2001, after training at the Royal College of Music. She made her international concert début in Halle in 2000 and since then her career on the operatic stage, in concert and as an international recording artist has taken her all over the world, from her native UK , throughout Europe all the way to the USA and the Far East.
Conductors with whom she has worked in opera and concert include Stephen Cleobury, Thomas Dausgaard, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Martin Gester, Richard Hickox, Adrian Leaper, Sir Roger Norrington (she was featured soloist for his 75th Birthday Concert with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at London’s Royal Festival Hall), Sir Simon Rattle, Steven Sloane and Masaaki Suzuki.
Rachel’s reputation as one of the most versatile artists of her generation is due to her repertoire, which ranges from J.S. Bach to Michael Berkeley.
Her operatic roles have included:
Third Flowermaiden Parsifal, Pepik The Cunning Little Vixen, Echo Ariadne auf Naxos and Prilepa The Queen of Spades for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Marzelline Fidelio for London Lyric Opera, Joan For You for Music Theatre Wales, First Niece Peter Grimes, Jenifer The Midsummer Marriage and Shepherd Tannhäuser at the St Endellion Festival, Philippa Babette’s Feast at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Frasquita Carmen, Tatyana Eugene Onegin and Flora The Knot Garden for Scottish Opera, the title role in Erismena, Ginevra Ariodante and Elisa, Tolomeo for English Touring Opera, Miss Schlesen Satyagraha for English National Opera, Dorinda Orlando for the Atelier Lyrique, Tourcoing, Theophano Ottone and Metella Silla at the London Handel Festival, Handel’s Susanna for The Early Opera Company, Nerone L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the New Theatre, Tokyo, Fiordiligi Così fan tutte and Helmwige Die Wallkure for Longborough Festival Opera, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni for Mid Wales Opera, Elettra Idomeneo for New Sussex Opera, Junon Platée for T.C.C. Productions, Lisbon, and Jessie Mahagonny Songspiel at the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte, Montepulciano and Armida Rinaldo at the Edinburgh Festival (also in Tokyo),Rachel made her international début singing Messiah under the direction of Sir David Willcocks in Halle and recently sang B Minor Mass with Bach Collegium Japan at the Carnegie Hall, Schumann Requiem with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, a programme on Ann Cargill for the BBC’s Early Music Show, recording and performing St Matthew Passion throughout Holland, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder in France, Jauchzet Gott and Haydn Il ritorno di Tobia with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London and Minneapolis, Judas Maccabaeus at the Gdansk Music Festival, Szymanowski Stabat Mater for Huddersfield Choral Society, La Folle Journée in Tokyo, the B Minor Mass, Jauchzet Gott, the St Matthew Passion and Messiah on tour with Bach Collegium Japan. Other concert appearances include performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (at the 2008 and 2009 Proms where she sang Vaughan-Williams' Serenade to Music conducted by Andrew Davis and First Woman – First Fury in Birtwhistle's The Mask of Orpheus: The Arches conducted by Martyn Brabbins). She has also performed with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Darmstadt Hofkapelle, Florilegium, the Hanover Band, the London Handel Players, the London Mozart Players, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of St John’s, Le Parlement de Musique, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as well as at the Brighton, Chelsea, Fishguard, London Handel, St Endellion and Three Choirs Festivals.
Her broadcasts include the Christmas Oratorio with Le Parlement de Musique, Jauchzet Gott and Il ritorno di Tobia with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Dvorak Stabat Mater with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Dorinda Orlando with La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy for Radio France and Sally Flashmob - The Opera, Schoenberg Quartet No. 2 with the Quatuor Parisii, In Tune and South Pacific for the BBC. She has appeared in recital at the Wigmore Hall, and her recordings include B Minor Mass and Cantatas – Volumes 42, 44, 49 (BIS), Metella Silla (Somm). Hummel Mass in D Minor (Chandos), Bach Mattheus Passion ((EO) Dorinda Orlando with La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy (K617) two volumes of Music by Cecilia McDowall (Dutton) and Paul Spicer’s Easter Oratorio (Birmingham Bach Choir).
Current engagements include Brünnhilde Götterdämmerung for Longborough Festival Opera 2012 and for the Ring Cycle in 2013, Sieglinde Die Walküre for St Endellion Festival, Mozart Requiem with David Hill and the Bach Choir at London's Royal Festival Hall, Carl Orff Carmina Burana at the Royal Albert Hall, Verdi Requiem at Ely Cathedral and at the Brighton Festival and tours of Messiah, St Matthew Passion, and Pergolesi Stabat Mater throughout Holland.
A graduate herself of York University, Rachel is delighted to be teaching in the music department. Formerly a Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music, Rachel enjoys working with young singers. She gives masterclasses and has coached at Birmingham University, Leeds University and Imperial College London. Rachel also teaches at Huddersfield University and coaches for Bedfordshire Youth Opera and The Complete Singer course in St Leonards.