IO’s recently appointed Creative Director, Natalie Murray Beale, has been a consultant to IO since 2007 and, in addition to being closely involved with its productions at Sadler’s Wells has been key to the development of its Artist Support scheme. A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the National Opera Studio, Natalie trained with Jorma Panula and was mentored by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Informing the mentoring and training work that has become an increasingly important part of IO’s offering, is Natalie’s experience as conductor, assistant conductor and répétiteur with numerous organisations including Welsh National Opera, Den Nye Opera, Opera Holland Park, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Aix Festival, Wiener Festwochen, Spitalfields Festival, National Theatre Studio, London Symphony Chorus, Philharmonia, Bergen Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of London, and City of London Sinfonia.
Chrissy Jay joined Independent Opera in 2007 and became General Manager in 2013. She completed an MA in Creative Producing for Theatre and Live Performance at Birkbeck University in 2011, working as trainee producer with Paines Plough. She has been Assistant Producer for Iris Theatre and Theatre Uncut, and has worked with the City of London Festival and Whitechapel Gallery. She was project coordinator with the British Council Theatre and Dance department, where she coordinated international showcases and tours, and is also a trained jewellery designer.
Grace Cook joined Independent Opera after graduating from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2015, BA Hons degree in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education. Grace’s role at IO includes the administration for the Artist Support programme and annual productions, as well as the day-to-day administration for the charity.
She has previously been involved in theatre and education based outreach projects, working with charities in Mumbai, India and has collaborated with university peers on performance projects for the Minack Theatre, the Roundhouse and the Embassy Theatre. Grace has a keen interest in film and music, she is also trained in several dance styles to an advanced level.
Supported in his early career by Bill and Judy Bollinger, Alessandro Talevi is a Co-Founder of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells, Artistic Director (2006-2010) and currently Artistic Consultant. He won third prize at the European Opera Directing Award in Wiesbaden in 2007, was a shortlist nomination at the 2009 Royal Philharmonic Society awards for his IO production of Pelléas et Mélisande and, the same year nominated as 'Best Newcomer' in the Opernwelt 2009 Yearbook. Talevi’s production of Don Giovanni won Best Opera Production at the 2012 Manchester Theatre Awards, and in 2014 he was the Times Breakthrough Award category at the Sky Arts/Southbank Awards. Now in demand worldwide, Talevi’s future productions include Tosca (Bunka Kaikan,Tokyo and Opera di Roma), L'histoire du soldat (Maggio Musicale, Florence),Samson et Dalila and Un Ballo in Maschera (Israeli Opera) and Don Giovanni (Opera North).
Annita Bennett was one of the founding partners of Taylor Bennett, an independent search firm that has specialised in corporate communications assignments for over 30 years. Her early career was spent at Unilever in both recruitment and corporate communications teams. She became HR director of the global advertising agency SSC&B Lintas before establishing Taylor Bennett in 1982. A Fellow of the RSA, the deputy chair of City Lit and trustee of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, she is also an active professional mentor.
Judith Bollinger is CEO of Judico Capital Pte Ltd and the non-executive Chairman of ABG Sundal Collier.
She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and of the Board of Overseers of The Wharton School. In 2011, she assumed two additional roles: Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and member of the university’s Investment Board. She also serves on the Investment Board of Latymer Upper School in London.
Judith Bollinger attended Kalamazoo College, and received her MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
William Bollinger is Chairman of Judico Capital Pte Ltd. He is also a limited partner of Egerton Capital (UK) LLP.
In addition to serving as Chairman of Independent Opera, he remains closely associated with the Jewellery Gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He has also recently become involved with the Dunhuang Foundation’s digitisation of Buddhist art in the Mogao Caves of Western China. He is an ardent supporter of Singapore’s Checkpoint Theatre.
William Bollinger attended the University of Texas, where he received his undergraduate degree in International Business and his MBA degree in Finance.
Elisabeth Buchanan completed both undergraduate and postgraduate training as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist in New Zealand.
Having worked in New Zealand and Switzerland she jointly established Harley Street Physiotherapy in 1987. The practice has established a strong working relationship with students and staff at the Royal Academy of Music, treating both vocal and instrumental students along with the general public.
Elisabeth Buchanan is a member of the Hampstead Church Music Trust.
Wilson Kerr studied Architecture in Glasgow but has since based his career in London. Having worked for several architectural practices he set up his own business in 1983, specialising in residential projects. His work has generally been interior architecture design both in the UK and abroad, and in recent years has included project management.
Wilson Kerr has acted as the external examiner for the Chelsea School of Art Interior Design course, as well as the Inchbald School of Design. He is active in the community of his Scottish home and has frequently been involved with clients’ philanthropic work.