Marie Vassiliou


Marie’s broad operatic experience includes performances in mainstream operas such as La Boheme, Carmen, Pagliacci and Les Pecheurs de Perles, as well as performances in early operas, such as La Calisto and Agrippina and modern operas such as Simon Holt’s ‘The Nightingale’s to Blame’ and Errollyn Wallen’s ‘Yes.’
She has toured extensively, with performances in many parts of the world, including Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, USA & the UK. She has had 2 one-woman operas written for her: Cape Gloss by Mike Westbrook (premiered at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival) and The Lady of Satis House by Jacques Cohen (premiered at the Tête à Tête opera festival with the Piatti quartet).


Concert Performance

Marie has a great affinity for and special interest in the oratorio repertoire, as is evidenced by her extensive repertoire in this form. While still a student she was invited by Sir David Willcocks to perform in ‘scratch’ performances at the Royal Albert Hall of Brahms’ Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. These performances made a lasting impression on her and instilled a great love of this genre.

Marie has also enjoyed performing some of the great works with voice and (chamber) orchestra; works such as Bach’s Jauchzet Gott, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Ete, Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, Strauss’ 4 Last Songs and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras.

The subtlety, intimacy and sophistication of the song repertoire have become increasingly central to Marie’s focus. She performs regularly with her duo partner, pianist, Nico de Villiers. Together they form the Melicus Duo and have been working together since early 2011; they are both passionate about exploring the song repertory. Engagements have included recitals for: Buckingham Festival, Leeds Lieder, Music at the Old Chapels, St Lawrence Jewry Festival and Song in the City evening series.  Nico and Marie delight in creating imaginative and inventive programmes and like to programme mainstream repertoire, as well as unjustly neglected works. They are preparing several programmes for upcoming UK recital engagements and a tour of South Africa and have recently recorded the first ever disc devoted entirely to the songs of Dutch-American composer, Richard Hageman. The disc will be released in 2015. The Melicus Duo’s performances of Hageman have attracted much interest and have led to several invitations, including a performance at the opening of the Hageman Aquaduct, in Hageman’s birthplace, Leeuwarden, later this year.


Extensive song repertoire includes works by
Barber, Brahms, Britten, Copland, Debussy, Delius, Duparc, de Falla, Faure, Grieg, Richard Hageman, Haydn, Honegger, Ireland, Messiaen, Mozart, Poulenc, Puccini, Purcell, Quilter, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Respighi, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rorem, Schubert, Schumann, Sibelius, R Strauss, Tippett, Tosti, Verdi, V Williams.


Marie has extensive experience in premiering new music. An early experience of performing Jonathan Harvey’s Song Offerings and then an invitation to perform the orchestral version of Tippett’s The Heart’s Assurance at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, led to further invitations from Sir Michael Tippett to perform his works and invitations from many other composers. Marie has had music written for her by John Barber, Richard Chew, Jacques Cohen, Anthony Gilbert, Kenneth Hesketh and Mike Westbrook. She has given British premieres by Dutilleux and Judith Weir. Other engagements have included: Tippett’s The Heart’s Assurance (Poland premiere at the Wratislavia Cantans Festival), Julian Anderson’s Seadrift (BBC Proms season), Anthony Gilbert’s Beastly Jingles (Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia), Gilbert’s Long White Moonlight (Purcell Room with Endymion) and Arlene Sierra’s 3 Descriptions (Royal Opera House Crush Room, with Daniel Becker). She has had the honour of performing many works in the presence of their composers, including Julian Anderson, George Benjamin, Henri Dutilleux, Anthony Gilbert, Ken Hesketh, Joaquin Rodrigo, Sir Michael Tippett, Judith Weir, Mike Westbrook and Hugh Wood.

More recent operatic premieres have included: ‘Yes’ (Aashi) by Errollyn Wallen and Bonnie Greer (Linbury Studio, ROH2), ‘Stumbling over Infinity’ by Harvey Brough and Roswitha Gerlitz (ROH2) and Miss Havisham in the one-woman opera, ‘The Lady of Satis House’ written especially for Marie by Jacques Cohen (Tête à Tête opera festival). Her most recent world premiere was Jacques Cohen’s ‘Love journeys’, performed at the Purcell Room, South Bank Centre with the Isis Ensemble

Historical Performance

Early exposure to JS Bach and Handel by her college teacher, Heather Harper and ensemble coach, Catherine Mackintosh and then a performance of Handel’s Theodora (title role) with James Bowman, sparked Marie’s enthusiasm for Early music. She is a great believer in bringing this music to life with engaging, passionate performances.  Marie has performed for many years with Janiculum, an ensemble consisting of soprano, tenor, harpsichord, violin and ‘cello. They often present programmes which have been carefully chosen because of their connections with the historic buildings they are performed in. Janiculum have released 4 CDs.

Other experience includes: a tour of Dido and Aeneas in Japan, with the Purcell Quartet; several concerts with Jeremy Brooker (baryton) and Markus Kuikka (viola da gamba); concert performances at the Eisenstadt Haydn Festival and Palermo Scarlatti Festival; and staged performances of Agrippina (Poppea) with the Early Opera company. Marie has taught historical performance style to undergraduates at the Guildhall for the last 10 years.