Bright humour and keen eye for idiosyncrasies of personality and power… ambitious, original and playfulExeunt on Shuck’n’Jive (co-writer)
You’d go a long way to find a better Aida and Amneris… [Simone] is a mezzo soprano I would dearly love to hear again, extracting every ounce of passion and dramaThe Courier on Aida with Opera Festival Scotland (performer: Amneris)
Simone is a opera singer and theatre-maker, passionate about work that brings joy, and reflects and affects the world we live in.
Recent performance highlights include Grace, Opera Mums (BBC Four); Mami Wata (Pegasus Opera, Royal Opera House); Passepartout, Around the World in 80 Days (West Green House Opera); Jo, Dead Equal (Summerhall); and small roles in Porgy and Bess (English National Opera, Dutch National Opera, Theater an der Wien). Performances in 2022/23 include: Melissa, La liberazione di Ruggiero (Longborough Festival Opera); Amneris, Aida (Opera Festival Scotland); O King (London Sinfonietta); Earth Song Cycle (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment); Four AfroCuban Songs (Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra); and recitals at the Bishopsgate Institute, National Gallery, and London Festival of American Music.
She is a published playwright, and has been engaged to direct and write for professional, emerging artist, and community companies across the UK. Engagements in 2022/23 include releasing her and Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong’s “wild, witty and painfully perceptive” (The Stage) Shuck ‘n’ Jive on Soho Theatre On Demand; writing and directing The Anonymous Lover for Glyndebourne Touring Opera and a multi-genre prequel to Orpheus for Opera North; plus directing Shirley Thompson’s Women of the Windrush at Buxton International Festival and on tour, one-woman triple-bill FEAST starring Stephanie Wake-Edwards, and The Aspern Papers for Pegasus Opera, and workshops of new shows with The Kooks’ Hugh Harris, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Simone trained at the University of York and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she recently completed a fellowship on artist-activism. She is honoured to have been named a BBC Radio 3 Next Generation Voice 2019, and a Women of the Future Awards-winner 2020. She co-founded Hera, celebrating and sharing music and stories by equity-seeking artists.
Ibbett-Brown sang with an exquisite tone, drawing long phrases through tricky, winding melismas… virtuosicTempo on Alastair White’s fashion-opera RUNE (performer: Khye-Rell)
Musically spell-bindingReviews Hub on A Tale of Eurydice and Orpheus (music theatre maker)
Simone is an opera singer, music theatre maker and Essex girl passionate about celebrating and sharing work that brings joy, and respects, reflects and affects the world we live in.
Directing & writing
As a theatre-maker, recent years saw the release of her short film for the English National Opera, What Do You Hope For?; the premiere of her “wild, witty… and painfully perceptive” (The Stage) and “fierce, fearless and cerebral” (The Guardian) debut play with Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Shuck ‘n’ Jive, on stage and screen at the Soho Theatre; writing the libretto for the Royal Opera House and Visualise’s immersive trap-opera experience mobilising us against the climate crisis, HAM the Illustrator’s Munkination; and short tours of her all-singing, all-dancing Il barbiere di Siviglia (Devon Opera), and Hansel and Gretel (East Anglia Opera). She’s previously been engaged to direct, write or translate a range of operatic classics, new musicals, gig theatre, and plays with music for professional, emerging artist, and community companies across the UK.
2022 saw her writing and directing a concert play about composer and revolutionary Joseph Bologne for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and a cross-genre prequel to Orpheus for Opera North; after directing The Aspern Papers for Pegasus Opera and workshops of a brand new musical for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Engagements altered due to the pandemic include directing her, Ana Beard Fernández and April Koyejo-Audiger’s cabaret-opera Gracie with Immersive|LDN and OperaVision, and woman.life.song for the Edinburgh International Festival and Chineke! Orchestra. Next, she directs Nadine Benjamin in Shirley Thompson’s Women of the Windrush at Buxton International Festival and on tour, and Stephanie Wake-Edwards in one-woman triple-bill FEAST; as well as a workshop of a brand new immersive opera by The Kook’s Hugh Harris.
As a singer, 2022 saw performances of Odaline de la Martinez’s Four AfroCuban Songs, written for her, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; debuts with Longborough Festival Opera as Melissa, La liberazione di Ruggiero and Opera Festival Scotland as Amneris, Aida; performing Berio’s O King with London Sinfonietta; premiering Earth Song Cycle in schools with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; and releasing CDs with Métier/UU Studios and Lontano/the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
Recent highlights include Mami Wata (Cairo Opera House, Royal Opera House, Pegasus Opera); Grace, Bryony Kimmings’ Opera Mums (BBC Four); Passepartout, Around the World in 80 Days (West Green House Opera); Jo, Lustrum Award-winning Dead Equal (Summerhall); A Woman, Olivier and Sky Arts Award-winning Porgy and Bess (English National Opera, Dutch National Opera), and cover Annie for Theater an der Wien‘s production; Esther in the workshop of Mamzer Bastard (The Royal Opera); Khye-Rell in fashion-opera RUNE (UU Studios); Wellgunde in an anti-colonial Das Rheingold, and Carmen, R’Otello (Gafa); as well as the eponymous fish in Bubbles the Zebra-fish and the No. 8 Bus, bringing climate awareness to the young and young at heart (Aukoko). She’s also recently been engaged for recitals with the African Concert Series, Black British Classical Foundation, Bishopsgate Institute, London Festival of American Music, National Gallery, and Trinity College Cambridge. She regularly works with duo partners Ben Comeau and Kamilla Arku, performing works by artist-activists and composers of the global majority.
She’s a Longborough Festival Opera Emerging Artist 2022, an Extra Chorister at the English National Opera, and an alumna of the Pegasus Opera mentorship scheme. Before training in classical voice, she sang backing vocals for a range of artists including Mercury Award-winner Benjamin Clementine.
Simone co-founded Hera with Toria Banks and Linda Hirst, celebrating and sharing unheard music and stories by women and gender-minoritised folk right across the UK. With them she worked on feminist gig theatre; anti-ableist electronic opera; festivals celebrating under-performed composers of the past; and commissions, training and support for artists of the present. She’s also worked in the bustling offices of Cheek by Jowl, Paines Plough, and Arts Council England.
Simone trained at the University of York and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she recently completed a fellowship in artist-activism. Her studies were kindly supported by the Guildhall School Trust, Help Musicians UK, and the Opera Awards Foundation; and her first forays into the profession by Creative Access. She now enjoys working as a facilitator herself, and has been engaged by organisations including English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Leeds Lieder, Leicester MusicFest, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Opera Holland Park.
She has appeared on the radio, podcasts and TV discussing music, theatre, equity and inclusion, and the climate crisis; and is honoured to have been named a BBC Radio 3 Next Generation Voice 2019, and won the arts and culture category at the Women of the Future Awards 2020.
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Simone uses she/her pronouns.