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The Bayham Abbey Opera – Conquests of Love

  • Bayham Old Abbey Tunbridge Wells Kent TN3 8LJ United Kingdom (map)
Conquests of Love | Bayham Abbey, Lamberhurst Music Festival, DEBUT.png

Original Narrative / Dialogue by Natasha Day

Produced by Natasha Day

Musical Arrangements by Jonathan Pease

For the first time DEBUT brings their reputation for presenting thrilling performances in unique venues to the Lamberhurst Music Festival. Set in the ruins of the breathtaking 12th Century Bayham Abbey join us for an unforgettable night at the opera.

Conquests of Love features an expertly curated selection of music that celebrates the very best of opera, from Carmen to La bohème, Don Giovanni to The Barber of Seville and The Pearl Fishers to Die Fledermaus. This tale of passion, power and jealousy, is brought to life through an original script with an incredible cast, direct from performances at the Royal Opera House and English National Opera. The story tells of a love between two couples that tests their fidelity and friendship. Hearts are broken, revenge is sought, egos are massaged, and ultimately, choices have to be made.

Tickets: £30, kids go free (but must be booked)

Grounds open for picnics from 5.30pm!



Natasha Day  - ‘The Soprano’

Natasha Day - ‘The Soprano’

Vivien Conacher  - 'The Mezzo'

Vivien Conacher - 'The Mezzo'

Stephen Aviss  - ‘The Tenor’

Stephen Aviss - ‘The Tenor’

Matthew Palmer  - ‘The Baritone’

Matthew Palmer - ‘The Baritone’


The Trio

Matthew Schellhorn , piano

Matthew Schellhorn, piano

Matthew Wilsher , clarinet

Matthew Wilsher, clarinet

Thomas Wraith , cello

Thomas Wraith, cello



Musical highlights to include:

The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola by Rossini | Così fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni by Mozart | La bohème and Edgar by Puccini | Rigoletto by Verdi | Die Fledermaus by J. Strauss | Anna Bolena by Donizetti | Carmen and The Pearl Fishers by Bizet




Natasha Day

Natasha Day, soprano

Scottish-Polish soprano Natasha Day previously trained at The English National Opera on the 2012/13 ‘Opera Works’ course. In 2015 she completed her final year at the Royal College of Music's International Opera School where she was a Fishmongers’ Company Scholar supported by an Ian Lombe Evans Award.

Roles include Violetta La Traviata (ROH Reimagined, Royal Opera House and Devon Opera), Poppea Agrippina (English Touring Opera), Gilda Rigoletto (Devon Opera), Mimi La Boheme (Haddo House Opera, Devon Opera, Opera Bohemia, Arcadian Opera), Neala Paria by Moniuszko (Polish Opera in London), the title role in Rita (Rocket Opera), Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte (RCM, Nevill Holt Opera), Micaela Carmen (Winslow Hall Opera, Edinburgh Grand Opera), Jessie Mahagonny Songspiel (UNAM) in Mexico City, Fiordiligi Cosi Fan Tutte (Devon Opera, The Rye Festival) and Musetta La Boheme (Celebrate Voice Festival, Park Opera). Concert engagements include Berg’s 3 Bruchstucke from Wozzeck, Verdi’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Berlioz's La Mort de Cleopatre, Strauss' Four Last Songs, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mahler's Symphony No. 4, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, Requiem, Coronation Mass, Exsultate Jubilate plus various recitals and orchestral gala concerts throughout the UK.

Natasha won First Prize at the Złote Głosy Competition in Warsaw, Second Prize at The Filharmonia Czestochowska Competition also in Poland and The Most Promising Singer Award at the Emmy Destinn Competition in Prague. She is a 2017 Britten-Pears Young Artist, a Finalist in the 2016 Concorso Lirico di Ferrara, Italy and is proud to be a Concordia Artist.  


Vivien Conacher

SimoneMark_Lisse0870.jpg Vivien Conacher

Sydney-born mezzo-soprano Vivien Conacher has received critical acclaim for her vibrant stage performances. Recent roles include Fidalma Il Matrimonio Segreto (PopUp Opera), Giovanna Rigoletto (Wexford Festival Opera), Little Buttercup HMS Pinafore (Charles Court Opera / International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival), Rivka Fiddler on the Roof (Grange Park Opera / BBC Proms), Penelope Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria (cover Iford Arts Festival), Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte, Nicklausse Tales of Hoffmann, Filippyevna Eugene Onegin, and Sorceress Dido and Aenaes. 

Vivien trained at the Royal College of Music (M.Perf with Distinction), ENO OperaWorks, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and with British Youth Opera. Her engagements as a concert soloist include performances for St-Martin-in-the-Fields, St Paul’s Knightsbridge, Battle Choral Society, St James’s Church Piccadilly, Foundling Museum, Leighton House, National Portrait Gallery, St Paul’s Covent Garden, Budleigh Music Festival, Bloomsbury Festival, Devon Opera, Pacific Opera, and the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation. 

Vivien is a passionate advocate for inclusivity in music-making. She founded a not-for-profit organisation called Songhaven which aims to give people living with dementia (and their companions) the dignity of top quality live music through a monthly professional concert series, as well as group singing workshops, and care home concert visits. Vivien is a proud Concordia Foundation Artist and a Tait Memorial Trust Awardee. 


Stephen Aviss


Stephen Aviss was born and raised in Surrey. Following a degree in English Literature at University College London he trained at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. 

Other roles include Fenton in Nicolai’s opera The Merry Wives of Windsor (Surrey Opera), Ruggero (cover) in Puccini’s La Rondine (British Youth Opera) and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata (Iford, Devon Opera, cover Opera North and Opera Holland Park).  Stephen has also sung in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Britten’s Billy Budd in Glyndebourne and in New York. Stephen sang Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca as part of the Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre, London, reprising the role at the Celebrate Voice Festival in Salisbury. In 2016 Stephen was a Christine Collins Young Artist at Opera Holland Park, singing the role of Rodolfo in La Boheme and has covered this role for English National Opera. Returning to Opera Holland Park in 2017 Stephen sung the role of Prunier in La Rondine.

Stephen has also performed many concerts internationally including at the Palace of Versailles, as well as opera galas in Beirut, Geneva, Paris and Stockholm. He has toured extensively in Sweden and Norway not only performing opera, but also lieder and song. Television work includes a performance of The Office, The Opera for BBC’s Comic Relief. A regular performer of oratorio, Stephen has sung Handel’s Samson, The Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem.

This summer's engagements include Edmondo in Manon Lescaut for Opera Holland Park.


Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer, baritone

Matthew Palmer studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under Robert Dean and is on the first year of the Opera Course. He has sung live on BBC Radio 3's In Tune and made his European debut as Guglielmo Così fan tutte at the Brigitta Festival, Estonia in 2016.Between graduating from the masters course in 2016 and returning to the school in 2018, Matthew worked for Opera North, Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera, Glyndebourne Education and recently sang Marcello La Bohème in the Olivier Award nominated production at Trafalgar Studios, London. 

Other highlights during that time include baritone soloist for Opera North Children’s Choir; Ned Keene Peter Grimes (Dartington Festival) under Sian Edwards; Fiorello and cover Figaro The Barber of Seville (Iford Arts); Captain Corcoran HMS Pinafore (Charles Court Opera); The Mikado & Pish-Tush The Mikado (Charles Court Opera); Guglielmo Così fan tutte (Devon Opera); Escamillo Carmen (Heritage Opera); Conte Robinson Il Matrimonio Segreto (Pop-Up Opera); Mr Ford Merry Wives of Windsor (Duchy Opera). 

A regular oratorio soloist, Matthew has performed much of the standard repertoire, in- cluding Messiah (Handel); St. Matthew Passion (Bach); Five Mystical Songs (Vaughan- Williams); Ein Deutches Requiem (Brahms); The Seasons (Haydn); Crucifixion (Stainer); Requiem (Mozart); Requiem (Fauré); Coronation Mass (Mozart); Messa di Gloria (Puccini); Messe Solennelle (Gounod) as well as lesser known works such as Passio (Pärt); Re- quiem da Camara (Finzi); Eternal Light Requiem (Goodall) among others varying from new commissions to Bach Cantatas and Haydn Masses. 

Matthew is a Concordia Foundation Artist and has performed at LSO St. Luke's, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. James’s Piccadilly, amongst others, in recital and concert. 


Matthew Schellhorn


Born in Yorkshire in 1977, Matthew Schellhorn studied in Manchester and Cambridge. His teachers included Peter Hill and Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. He has given recitals in many major venues throughout the UK, including Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room. He is a regular guest soloist at international festivals and has performed live on numerous international radio stations. 

A prominent performer of new music, Matthew Schellhorn has given numerous territorial and world premieres with recent commissions. In 2014, Diatribe Records released Matthew Schellhorn’s solo disc, Ian Wilson: Stations, the world premiere recording of a new commission featured on RTÉ lyric fm as one of the ‘great cycles of 21st-century piano music’. His recent commission from Colin Riley, As the Tender Twilight Covers, was recorded for NMC and released in 2017 on the album Shenanigans (NMC Recordings NMC D241). During June 2019, Matthew Schellhorn was Guest Artistic Director in the highly successful Borough New Music series in Central London.

Matthew Schellhorn’s performances of the music of Olivier Messiaen have been met with superlative critical approval. His first disc, with the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra – Messiaen: Chamber Works (Signum Classics SIGCD126) – received positive reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and was awarded an AllMusic Classical Editors’ Favourite. 

Matthew Schellhorn is also a successful collaborative artist. He features on Outside (Nonclassical NONCLSS013), debut album of violinist Aisha Orazbayeva, with whom he took part in the 2013 Festival de Radio France et Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon. As a duo with soprano Susanna Fairbairn, he has performed at several major venues; in 2017, Naxos released their disc of songs by Joseph Horovitz and Geoffrey Bush (Naxos 8.571378), which Gramophone hailed as ‘a splendidly stylish and communicative alliance’.

He is also active as a teacher, giving regular masterclasses and workshops in the UK and abroad. In October 2016 he was elected to membership of the Faculty of Music. Matthew is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. 


Matthew Wilsher

Matthew Wilsher, clarinet

Matthew Wilsher is a chamber, orchestral and solo clarinettist, recently graduated from his Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was currently a Chamber Music Fellow with his wind quintet, Moriarty Winds, and an Open Academy (outreach and community music work) Fellow.

Before studying at the Academy, Matthew studied Music and French at the university of Bristol, where he was awarded the Thomas Beecham Scholarship, the JH Britten Award and also won the University concerto competition with the Bruch double concerto for viola and clarinet.

Matthew also spent a year studying at Bordeaux Conservatoire, but now lives in London where he has worked with esteemed conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Sir Trevor Pinnock and Semyon Bychkov, performed with orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta and the Philharmonia, and performed in venues such as Wigmore hall and the Royal Festival Hall. 


Thomas Wraith


Thomas Wraith graduated with a Masters degree from the Royal Academy of Music in 2013. He previously studied music at Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he held an Instrumental Award and a choral scholarship. He studied the cello with Josephine Knight and has played in masterclasses and received coaching from internationally acclaimed artists such as Steven Isserlis, Pavel Fischer (Škampa Quartet) and the Endellion Quartet.

Thomas performs and records extensively across the country and abroad, whether as a soloist, chamber musician or in an orchestra. He was a member of Southbank Sinfonia in 2014 and works regularly for orchestras including the Ulster Orchestra, Mozart Festival Orchestra, Armonico Consort (principal cellist) London Concert Orchestra and the Army of Generals (principal cellist). Thomas frequently performs chamber music with groups including the Estilo Quartet. He regularly records music for film, television, and CD releases and has featured as solo cellist on numerous sountracks including The Ruth Ellis Files (BBC FOUR), The Alienist (Netflix), Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure (ITV 1), and the multi- award winning Sidney and Friends (feature film). Thomas has an eclectic taste in music and has enjoyed recording and performing with artists such as Father John Misty, ABC, Laura Mvula and Rick Wakeman. In his spare time Thomas is a freelance fixer and orchestra manager, primarily for Charles Hazlewood’s Army of Generals. In this role, Thomas has been responsible for organizing four projects at Glastonbury Festivals, several national and international tours and various other unique performances and recordings.

Audiences are left with open eyes and a thirst for discovering more
— Opera Now
Bayham Old Abbey

Bayham Old Abbey



As the sun begins to set behind the stunning Old Bayham Abbey join us for a memorable night of music, drama and entertainment.

As always at Bayham, the doors will open for picnics at 5.30pm and the opera will begin at 7.30pm. With a short interval, the opera will be finished by 10pm.