Who They Are
Va -Riotous was formed in August 2015 by Lee Power and Fiona Harris after they met at AIMS International Singing Summer School, an annual week-long event run by the renowned operatic tenor, Neil Jenkins. Being classically trained singers, and living close enough to make rehearsing together a possibility, the duo got together initially with the intention of expanding their respective repertoires by singing duets.
One quirky idea, and a creatively-productive lunch later, led to Romeo and Jemima being written and its first performance on 13th February 2016. It is best described as a story illustrated with songs and arias from musical theatre, opera and art song, performed in English, French, Italian and German in accordance with the composer's original intention. These songs and arias are woven together by the storyline narrated between each piece of music. Or alternatively it could briefly be described as the concert that thinks it's a story!
Romeo and Jemima was so well-received that Lee and Fiona have been persuaded to perform it again this Summer. Further productions are in the process of being written, with the same quirkiness that marked out 'Romeo and Jemima' as being that little bit different from any other concert you've ever heard!
Lee and Fiona are available to bring 'Romeo and Jemima' to a venue in your area, or alternatively to sing a programme of songs tailored to suit your taste. Send them a message on the contact form to discuss your requirements.
Lee has a large and varied repertoire including operatic arias and art songs by Mozart, Schubert, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Puccini, Britten; musical theatre songs by Gilbert & Sullivan, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Cole Porter and Steven Sondheim; and popular standards recorded by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, and Matt Monro.
He has also been active in musical theatre since his teens, winning a number of awards both as director and performer over the years. In 2010, his production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Epsom Playhouse received a much coveted NODA Accolade of Excellence, and his production of The Mikado at the same theatre three years later was awarded the even more prestigious NODA Best Gilbert & Sullivan Production, South-East, 2013. He also directed the hugely successful Oliver! at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking in 2014.
On stage, his recent rôles include: Tevye (Fiddler On the Roof); Fred Graham/Petruchio (Kiss Me,Kate!); Capt. Balstrode (Peter Grimes); Darryl van Horne (The Witches of Eastwick – NODA Award); The Beast (Beauty and The Beast); The Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance); Capt. Corcoran (HMS Pinafore); Col Calverley (Patience – NODA Award); Sir Roderic Murgatroyd (Ruddigore); ‘Wild’ Bill Hickock (Calamity Jane); Jud Fry (Oklahoma!); Mike Connor (High Society); and, most recently, the eponymous Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Earlier in his stage career, Lee also played the following rôles: Billy Bigelow (Carousel); Curly McLean (Oklahoma!); Sky Masterson (Guys & Dolls); Kipps (Half a Sixpence); Sir Lancelot (Camelot); Giuseppe Palmieri (The Gondoliers); Ko Ko (The Mikado); and Jack Point (The Yeomen of the Guard).
Fiona performs mainly in recital with a repertoire that encompasses Opera, Art Song and Oratorio. She made her debut as a Contralto soloist in a performance of Handel’s Messiah at St. Nicolas’ Church, Guildford in 2009 and has been a contributing soloist in a variety of other concerts given in aid of charity.
Her solo recitals often follow a storyline, with ‘Three Centuries of Song’ and ‘Love’s Journey’ both being well-received. She performed the latter at Westbury Arts and Music Festival in October 2015 and is delighted to be returning there in September 2016 to open their lunchtime recital series.
Fiona currently studies with Elizabeth Castle (formerly of the Welsh and English National Operas, and Florence Opera, Theatro Communale).
An accomplished pianist in his own right, Jonathan is also an experienced accompanist and répétiteur. He started learning the piano at the age of six, taught by his father, who was a semi-professional pianist/teacher. Although trained as a classical pianist, Jonathan is also adept at playing other styles from jazz to rock & pop.
His first rôle as an accompanist was at the age of 14 with the Addlestone Singers where his dad was Choirmaster. Since then he has accompanied many singers & musicians around Surrey but mainly enjoys playing for musical theatre groups in rehearsals and concerts. He is a permanent fixture with Woking Operatic Society and his favourite musical is Sweeney Todd, performed last year with Lee Power in the leading rôle.
Away from the piano, Jonathan lives in Horsell, near Woking, with his wife Amanda and step-children Joe & Jess, and supports Reading FC.