THE Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s The Marriage Of Figaro is among the most coveted soprano roles in all opera.

Portraying the wronged, but ultimately forgiving, Countess for York Opera from May 9 to 11 will be American-born soprano Heather Watts, a singing teacher at Queen Margaret’s School, Escrick, Leeds Grammar School and SLP College (for performing arts) in Garforth.

Heather began her operatic career at the age of 15 in the United States, playing Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance. The experience propelled her to pursue performing arts and, after achieving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in opera performance from the University of Texas, she moved to Britain in 1999 to complete her education at the Royal College of Music.

While studying in London, she played Gianetta in G & S's The Gondoliers and the title role in Princess Ida.

After a few years of singing professionally in the West End and for various opera companies, Heather headed up north with husband Nick to start a family. She joined York Opera in 2007 to cover the role of Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and subsequently has performed the G&S roles of Elsie Maynard in Yeomen Of The Guard and the aforementioned Mabel once more, along with the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

On April 13, she stunned York Opera's audience for A Night At The Opera at St Oswald's Church, Fulford, with her perfect rendition of the Queen of the Night’s infamously high aria requiring multiple top Fs: a fourth above top C, no less.

Now Heather stars in Mozart's depiction of true love and infidelity, in a comedy full of deception and mistaken identities set over the chaotic course of a single day of madness, brought to life by York Opera in a modern translation by Jeremy Sams at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.

Tickets for May 9 and 10's 7.15pm shows and May 11's 4pm matinee are on sale on 01904 501935 or at

Heather Watts as the Countess Almaviva with Annabel van Griethuysen as Susanna (seated)

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Photos by - John Saunders & Venue - by kind permission of The Mansion House, York