Marta studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and was the joint winner of their prestigious “Gold Medal” competition in 2015. In addition to her operatic work, Marta is a keen exponent of the concert and oratorio repertoire and enjoys giving recitals when her schedule permits, appearing in such venues as St John’s Smith Square, St James Piccadilly, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Christchurch Spitalfields. Marta was one of the four Jerwood Young Artists at Glyndebourne Festival in 2015 and makes her debut as Jenny Streetscene at Teatro Real, Madrid in 2018.
Described as possessing “real star quality” (Times) and giving a “a powerhouse performance that’s a vocal and physicaltour de force” (whatsonstage), Marta has completed both postgraduate and Opera Course training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under the tuition of Marilyn Rees. She is supported by the Gwen Catley Scholarship, the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and a Sybil Tutton Award. She is a Concordia Foundation Concert Artist and joined the Tillett Trust’s Young Artists Platform scheme in 2013. Marta made her Wigmore Hall recital debut in June 2014.
Marta was the 2015 joint winner of the prestigious Gold Medal awarded by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in its centenary year, was a finalist in The 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and in 2011 was winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards and Odette Sansom Award for English Song at GSMD. She was also Runner-Up in the Thelma King Award, a finalist in the Hampshire Singing Competition and reached the Semi-Final of the Mozart Singing Competition.
Solo concert and oratorio performances include Mozart Requiem at St Paul’s Cathedral (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Denève (Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart), Wesendonck Lieder at the Auditorio de Tenerife, Duruflé Requiem with the London Mozart Players, Mozart Mass in C minor and Strauss Deutsche Motette all at St John’s Smith Square, Mahler Kindertotenlieder at St James Piccadilly and recitals at St Martin-in-the-Fields and Christchurch Spitalfields, Verdi Requiem with Slaithwaite Philharmonic, Britten Canticles in Rolston Hall Banff and Jonathan Harvey’s Songs of Li Po with the Guildhall Orchestra for a live BBC Radio 3 Total Immersion broadcast at Barbican Hall. Marta also appears as a soloist alongside the City of London Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the Naxos recording of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.
Her operatic experience includes title role in Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, Paggio Francesca di Foix (Donizetti) and Kate Julian Owen Wingrave at GSMD as well as Ruggiero in Agostino Steffani’s Orlando Generoso(The Barber Opera), Drummer in Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis(Grimeborn Festival), Hansel Hansel and Gretel(Clonter Opera), Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly(Grange Park Opera), Woodpecker and Fox (cover) The Cunning Little Vixen (Garsington Opera). Further engagements include Mercedes and covering title role Carmen for Mid Wales Opera. Marta was a Jerwood Young Artists at the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival and appeared in Nothing, a main stage new commission youth opera for Glyndebourne based on the novel by Danish author Janne Teller and composed by David Bruce. Marta returned to Glyndebourne Festival as Lapak (Dog) in their revival of The Cunning Little Vixen and sang Dido and Aeneas with Ars Eloquentiae at Winchfield Festival.
Recent engagements include Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music at the Last Night of the BBC Proms, Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly for Glyndebourne on Tour and Elijah with the Burford Singers. title role (cover) in La Cenerentola for Opera North and Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro for Garsington Opera.
Engagements in 2017/2018 include further performances in the title role La Cenerentola for Diva Opera, the London premiere of Alasdair Nicolson’s Shadows on the Wall with BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, Jenny Streetscene for Teatro Real, Madrid and a return to Garsington as 2nd Lady Die Zauberflöte. Marta will also be appearing at the Oxford Lieder Festival and concert engagements include Dream of Gerontius, Christmas Concert (Royal Albert Hall), Harmoniemesse (Cadogan Hall) and Verdi Requiem (Southwell Minster).
“My first thought was that Marta Fontanals-Simmons was too tall for the adolescent Cherubino, but she proved a master (mistress) of fresh-voiced enthusiasm and cross-dressing faux-awkwardness.” Claire Seymour, Opera Today (3 June 2017)
“The laurels must go to Australian baritone…and especially to Marta Fontanals-Simmons as Cherubino, possessed of a voice with highly individual character matched by natural dramatic instincts which, quite simply, made you forget she was acting” Andrew Green, Opera Now (September 2017)