Harriet Pridmore moved to York in July after graduating in music from the University of Bristol, where she majored in vocal performance. She is now combining working as a personal assistant for Riding Lights Theatre Company with “a bit of music teaching”.

Harriet has previously performed the role of Cenerentola in Rossini’s Cenerentola (Cinderella) and has also performed in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. During her time at Bristol she was the University Chamber Choir conductor, leading the choir and orchestra on their tour to Berlin, and she has also conducted the Borlase Gospel Choir, which performed for Prince Edward under her leadership when 17 or 18.

On Tuesday, she makes her York Opera debut, playing Ann Page in Otto Nicolai’s mildly saucy The Merry Wives Of Windsor, a comic opera based on William Shakespeare’s play.

What attracted you to joining York Opera, Harriet?

“I wanted to get involved with something in York – anything, to be honest! – and I’d been in operas before, having previously played Cenerentola in Bristol. That was very challenging music. I was given the details to contact York Opera, I auditioned and they gave me the part.”

Were you familiar with The Merry Wives Of Windsor from Shakespeare’s play?

“No, I hadn’t seen the play. To be truthful, I hadn’t even heard of it. At the time the opera was written it was quite influential, but you don’t hear much of it now, though apparently Oddsocks are doing it at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in December – I put the leaflet in the bin when I saw it! – so it’s like the proverbial two buses!”

What befalls your character, Ann Page, in the opera?

“She’s being pulled in different directions by her mother and her father who each want her to marry a particular person but she wants to marry someone else, Fenton! She’s a bit of a sap really, as she doesn’t want to want to disappoint her parents but wants to marry this guy.”

How would you describe Ann?

“She’s very innocent. I guess the whole thing is about plots and schemes and she partakes in one of those, but in general she wants to make everyone happy, including herself.

“Her big aria comes when she makes up her mind she’s going to swap dresses to enable her to steal away during the masquerade. It’s a big number with lots of notes.”

Lots of notes! What are the distinguishing features of Nicolai’s operatic style?

“He writes in a way that for an audience member is seemingly simple, so that when they hear it it’s meant to sound completely at ease, but for the singer there are sudden modulations and then sudden masses of notes that seem to pop up out of nowhere.”

How are you settling in with York Opera?

“The whole cast has been very welcoming to me since I arrived. The standard of singing and acting is very high and it’s been great to work particularly alongside Karl Reiff (who plays Fenton) in blending our voices and creating an onstage relationship.

“But I do notice that I’m the youngest by quite a long way, being only 21.”

York Opera in The Merry Wives of Windsor, York Theatre Royal, November 15, 16, 18 and 19, 7.15pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

• ON York Opera’s gap night during its production of The Merry Wives Of Windsor at York Theatre Royal, the York RI Band will present Bandstand Brass on Thursday.

This 7.30pm concert comes in the wake of the band’s appearance at the head of the Annual Trafalgar Day parade last month and its contribution to the John Barry Tribute Concert at York Barbican on October 30.

Thursday’s concert will be the fifth in the band’s Bandstand Brass series and will contain a wide variety of brass music to suit all tastes under the baton of resident musical director Gordon Eddison.

The band has enjoyed two successful years on the contest stage, becoming North of England Open 3rd Section Champions in 2010 and Northern Area 3rd Section Champions this year and appearing twice in the national finals.

Next month, the band once again will play at the Annual Christmas Carol Concert in St Chad’s Church on Saturday, December 10, one of numerous engagements in the lead-up to Christmas.