Sukanya: Introducing the cast

With only six weeks to go until we give the world premiere performance of Indian classical music legend Ravi Shankar’s only opera Sukanya, we’re delighted to introduce the international cast of singers who will be joining us for this major musical event.


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Susanna Hurrell, Sukanya

Soprano Susanna Hurrell was born in London to a family of musicians and trained at the Royal College of Music and National Opera Studio. Having specialised in performing Handel roles with the London Handel Festival early in her career, she has quickly established herself as an in-demand and highly versatile soprano, performing in works as varied as Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Philip Venables’ award-winning adaptation of Sarah Kane’s final play 4.48 Psychosis. For the premiere of Sukanya Susanna will be singing the title role, playing the princess who finds herself betrothed to the ancient sage Chyavana.


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Alok Kumar, Chyavana

American tenor Alok Kumar was born in Nagpur, India, and raised in New York State, and will be making his Royal Opera debut with Sukanya, playing the ancient sage Chyavana who is accidentally awoken by Sukanya from decades of meditation. As well as regularly singing with opera companies across the US and appearing with orchestras all over the world, and being a keen supporter of contemporary music, Alok is also a qualified lawyer and practicing attorney.


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Keel Watson, King Shaariyati

British bass-baritone Keel Watson has performed in operas by composers as varied as Wagner and Gershwin all over Europe, and frequently appears in contemporary opera, having originated roles for Mark-Anthony Turnage in The Country of the Blind and in Jonathan Dove’s The Palace in the Sky. He is also a regular on the concert hall stage, frequently performing solos in concert repertory including Tippett’s A Child of Our Time and Verdi’s Requiem. In Sukanya Keel will be creating the role of King Shaariyati, father of the princess Sukanya.


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Michel de Souza, Aswini Twin

Brazilian baritone Michel de Souza began his musical training in his home country, winning the Maria Callas vocal competition in Sao Paolo and studying organ in Rio de Janeiro before going on to train at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Since graduating he has taken on operatic and concert performances across Europe and South America, and joins the cast of Sukanya to play one of the Aswini Twins, two beautiful and meddlesome young demigods who enjoy interfering in human affairs.


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Njabulo Madlala, Aswini Twin

South African tenor Njabulo Madlala was raised in Durban and moved to London to study at the Guildhall School, before winning the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Award and going on to sing with opera companies and orchestras throughout the UK and abroad. This is not the first time Madlala has sung with the LPO, having previously joined us for a performance of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. In this premiere production of Sukanya Njabulo will be creating the role of the Aswini Twins with Michel de Souza.

Sukanya will be premiering at Curve Leicester on Friday 12 May before touring to Salford, Birmingham and London. Find out more about the production and book tickets here