Irish mezzo-soprano Anne Marie Gibbons made her Royal Opera debut in 2015, singing Leocadia Begbick (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) for one performance. In the 2016/17 Season she returns to sing Camila (The Exterminating Angel).
Gibbons grew up in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. She studied psychology at University College Dublin and the University of London, and singing at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music. She was a Company Principal with ENO 2004–07, singing such roles as Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Anna (The Trojans at Carthage) and Ascanius (The Trojans), Ino (Semele), Sister Mathilde (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Pitti-Sing (The Mikado), Flora Bervoix (La traviata), Bacchis (La Belle Hélène), Nero (Agrippina), Kasturbai (Satyagraha) and Annio (La clemenza di Tito). Other engagements include Page (Salome) for State Opera of Southern Australia, David (Saul) for the Buxton Festival, Rosmira (Partenope) for Les Azuriales Festival, the title roles of Ariodante and Teseo for English Touring Opera, Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) for Welsh National Opera, Pippo (La gazza ladra) and Leocadia Begbick for Opera Theatre Company, Dublin.
Gibbon’s many concert performance include Mozart’s Requiem in Madrid, the St Matthew Passion for the Lausanne Festival, David for Versailles Handel Festival, Siegrune and Gutrune (Der Ring des Nibelungen) at Birmingham Symphony Hall, Anna (Maria Stuarda) at Cadogan Hall, Flora (La traviata) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Das Paradies und die Peri, Les Nuits d’été and Lola (Cavalleria rusticana) with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Her recordings include Zulma (Elvida) and Abra (Il diluvio universal) for Opera Rara. Source: Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation
In an interview with the Irish Examiner Anne Marie said:
What I most love about singing is the ability it affords me to lose myself in whatever aria, or song or role, I am singing or playing. Because, by doing so, I’m able to create a very pleasurable experience for the audience.
I grew up in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, a beautiful little village.
We had a very happy childhood and living on a farm meant we had lots of wonderful outdoor experiences.
I went to University College Dublin and studied psychology. I was also in the College of Music, at the same time, doing vocal studies. From there, I went on to work for AIB and also completed an MSc in organisational psychology at the University of London.
While I was working for AIB, I began to be asked more and more often to do concerts and perform different roles.
Many people started suggesting that I should be singing full-time. It got to the stage where I wondered to myself, irrespective of outcome, whether in ten years’ time I would regret it if I didn’t take the plunge and give singing full-time a proper go? And, of course, the answer was yes. So, I then went and auditioned for a place on the postgraduate vocal and opera studies course at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and was successful.
Leaving my job in AIB was taking a huge financial risk. I sold my car to help pay for the tuition and living expenses, but the reaction from everybody, overall, including my colleagues, was an immensely positive one.
Together, my husband Hugh and I run The Mayo Vocal Academy, in Castlebar, where we coach voices of all ages and abilities, covering everything from traditional music to opera.