Una Barry is from London of Irish parents and has enjoyed a busy career down the years whereby her extensive repertoire from the baroque to the present day and her outstanding musical ability have enabled her to accept solo engagements and broadcasts all over Britain, Ireland and Continental Europe as well as in Australia, Finland, Hong Kong and Kenya.

This repertoire covers the operatic stage with her time at Kent Opera and Scottish Opera in roles such as The Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Aminta in Mozart’s Il Rè Pastore and The Priestess in Gluck’s Iphigenie in Tauris at the Edinburgh International Festival.  She also sang the lead role in Alison Cox’s The Time Killing and Brian Hughes’s Stars and Shadows in Manchester. She has also given many song recitals, ranging from Purcell to Messiaen and more contemporary music, but it is now in oratorio for which Una is best known.

The Daily Telegraph wrote of her Manchester Midday Concert, “Una Barry possesses a strong, true soprano voice which is the expression of a marked intelligence and a vivid response”. She has sung for Kings College, Cambridge in Bach’s St John Passion, with Pro Cantione Antiqua of London on numerous occasions as their guest soprano all over Continental Europe giving performances of in particular of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneus, The Fairy Queen, King Arthur and Handel’s Acis and Galatea. She has also performed in Belgium at the Flanders Festival in Tongeren Basilica Concerts as soloist in Handel’s Athalia as well as Judas Maccabæus in German in Düsseldorf.  In Switzerland she gave a series of opera and operetta concerts, and in Finland three critically acclaimed performances of Verdi’s Requiem.

Una has sung with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Elgar’s The Kingdom, and in Chester Cathedral in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis where it was said that “her quality of tone resulted in a thrilling performance”, and she also appeared with the Darlington Choral Society to sing Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, Poulenc’s Gloria, Beethoven’s Concert Aria: Ah! Perfido, and the first performance of Stuart Johnson’s Requiem. Una also sung Dvorak’s Stabat Mater in Ilkley, Haydn’s The Seasons in Leighton Buzzard, Eton College and Peterborough, Bach’s Cantata 51: Jauchzet Gott with Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Mass in B Minor in Southport, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Nelson Mass in Formby, Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Chester Cathedral and Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace and Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Peterborough Choral Society. There was a lunchtime recital of Strauss and Britten in New York as well as song recitals in Belgium, London and Colchester with her pianist John Gough from Chester. Most recently Una gave performances of Verdi’s Requiem in both Hull and in Chester Cathedral, and then Rutter’s Requiem and Chilcott’s Requiem with the Hong Kong Choir and Chamber Orchestra in St John’s Cathedral as well as a song recital with David Knowles for the Red Square Gallery plus two live radio interviews for RTHK’s Radio 3 and Radio 4, all in Hong Kong. She also sung Bach’s St Matthew Passion in St Margaret’s Church, Ilkley in West Yorkshire from which she was invited back to Yorkshire to sing Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Chilcott’s Requiem.  In July 2012, Una was the soprano soloist in Ely Cathedral in Elgar’s Coronation Ode in a concert to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.  Most recently she sang Elgar’s The Apostles in St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, Langlais’ Missa in Simplicitate for opera singer and organ, and Handel’s Messiah for the Ilkley Choral Society.   She gave a recital of European Sacred Music for soprano and organ at St Mary’s Hemel Hempstead, Verdi’s Requiem in Malvern and then to Salzburg to do Chilcott’s Requiem, Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Haydn’s  Little Organ Mass.   Then two performances of Hendrix Andriessen’s Miroir de Peine for soprano with Edinburgh-based organist, Philip Sawyer, firstly in St Margaret’s Ilkley, and then in Bradford Cathedral in West Yorkshire.  This was followed by Langlais’ Missa in Simplicitate for opera singer and organ with the director of music, Alex Woodrow.   In May 2016, Una had a ‘Coffee Concert’ with pianist John Gough, and in July sang Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the Northampton Bach Choir and pianist David Owen Norris. In March and May she joins Benjamin Saunders in both Bradford and Leeds Cathedral as guest soprano in the organ recital series with more performances of Hendrix Andriessen’s Miroir de Peine. And in April she sings Elijah in Wakefield Cathedral with Andrew Padmore conducting.

Una initially studied with Eileen Poulter and then won a post-graduate scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester to study with Ena Mitchell, Pamela Cook and Alexander Young.  There were further valuable periods of study with some of the best teachers in London, Salzburg and Cologne and all through her career she received coaching from Paul Hamburger in London until his death in 2002. There were also regular visits to Bayreuth to study with Anna Reynolds and Jean Cox who encouraged Una to delve into the more dramatic operatic repertoire of Beethoven, Verdi, Puccini and Wagner whilst keeping her usual lyric and oratorio repertoire. This enabled her to sing the part of Aida in a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida in London, directed by Victor Morris, formerly the Head of Music at English National Opera. She also had short periods of study with David Jones in New York, and has actively participated in his training courses and seminars for singing teachers, both in London and New York. But for twenty years Una studied regularly with Josephine Veasey. With moving to West Yorkshire, Una now studies regularly with the retired international baritone, teacher and vocal researcher, Neil Howlett. She teaches singing privately in both London and in Ilkley, is a member of The Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS), the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and is also becoming increasingly known as an adjudicator and an examiner. Most recently Una was the adjudicator for the singers division at the prestigious Limerick Music Festival (Féile Luimní) in Ireland.


February 2017