IONA Cumming will make her York Opera debut as Rosalinde in Johann Strauss’s bubbly comic operetta Die Fledermaus from Tuesday at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.

She will bring her many years of singing experience, which has seen her perform with some of opera’s biggest names.

“It all started when I gained a place at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice,” says Iona.

“I was fortunate enough to sing alongside famous Welsh singer Dennis O’Neil and sing in masterclasses with some of opera’s greatest voices, such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Josephine Barstow and June Anderson, among many others. It was a wonderful opportunity which set me on to the path of the professional singer.”

From there, Iona was chosen to be part of English National Opera’s performance course. She was a finalist in the London Wagner competition, was awarded a Bayreuth Bursary and performed for Prince Edward. She has played such principal roles as Carmen, Fenena and Sieglinde.

She has since become a member of the Opera North chorus. However, it has not always been plain sailing as health issues put a halt to her career.

“I was first diagnosed with an aspergiloma and bronchiectisis in my right lung back in 2010, but getting it seen to proved difficult. First I became pregnant with my daughter, Sofia, and then I fell through the attic floor when she was only six weeks old. I had to recover fully from that before I could undertake the operation required to fix my lung. It’s been a long journey of recovery but I’m really enjoying my singing once again.”

Iona is the latest example in York Opera’s 49-year history of the society playing host to a professional vocalist whose talent enables it bring challenging and ambitious operas to York.

She will be performing for musical director Derek Chivers and stage director Lucy Thomson-Smith in Strauss’s tale of the Bat wreaking his revenge in a comic cocktail of seduction, infidelity and champagne quaffing.

• Tickets for 7.30pm performances on May 12, 13 and 15 and 4.30pm matinee on May 16 available at and on 01904 623568.