Lotte Betts-Dean


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 this year in Köln and Brisbane. Recent 21-22 music festival 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 her Spanish debut in 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. Other future plans include performances at Kings Place with Explore Ensemble, Wigmore Hall with Armida Quartet, Gwyl Machynlleth Festival, Linos Festival, a return to West Cork, and an Australian concert tour.

Lotte has also performed at UK 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, Glasgow Cathedral Festival, Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Lewes Festival of Song, Two Moors Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Gower Festival, 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 Festival. Prior to moving to the UK, Lotte sang numerous principal roles in predominantly contemporary operas with Sydney Chamber Opera (world premiere of Michael Smetanin’s Mayakovsky) and Victorian Opera (including covering Nancy T’ng in Adam’s Nixon in China) , after debuting with VO as El Trujaman in De Falla's El retablo de Maese Pedro while still an undergraduate student.

Alongside pianist Joseph Havlat, Lotte won the 2019 Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform and subsequently gave a recital at the 2019 Oxford Lieder Festival, and Lotte has returned to the festival every year since. 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 in 2022 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 fabrica 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 (runner up, 2012) the National Liederfest (runner up, 2012 and 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. She has also performed as soloist with English Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Collective, and the renowned Australian Chamber Orchestra, and non-classical collaborations include tours with DJ Pete Tong (2018) and electronic duo The Presets (2014). Lotte is a Young Artist of the Musicians Company, and a Young Artist alumnus of Britten Pears Arts (2022), Imogen Cooper Music Trust (2018), City Music Foundation (2017) and the Tait Memorial Trust (2019), as well as Oxford Lieder (2019).

Throughout the pandemic, Lotte remained very musically active with online performances, creating over 25 pieces of content, interviews 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, as well as making a number of recordings for disc (details below). Selections of the aforementioned content can be found on the video page.

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 (Philippos Tsalahouris with Dimitris Soukaras) Tall Poppies (Katy Abbott with Ormond Quartet), and Ensemble Q Live (Berio Folksongs) and has four further albums due for release in 2023-24, on Delphian (collaborations with Stuart MacRae and Arthur Keegan), Divine Art Metier (with Michael Finnissy, Marsyas Trio and Joseph Havlat) and BIS Records (with Brett Dean).

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.

Updated: 20/05/2023

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