Benjamin Alunni Tenor

In December 2017, Benjamin Alunni released his first solo album, in association with the pianist Marine Thoreau la Salle and the cellist Lydia Shelley from the Quatuor Voce. Confluence{s} is a double album of French mélodies of Jewish inspiration. This recording and its accompanying research were noticed for their originality and their unearthing of a previously undiscovered musical heritage.

After studying with Pierre Mervant and Gerda Hartman at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Benjamin obtained a masters’ degree from the Norges Musikkhøgskole in Oslo, in the class of Hakån Hagegård and Svein Bjørkøj. He attended master classes with Malcolm King, Yvonne Minton, Philippe Huttenlocher and Nathalie Stutzmann, Eric Schneider, Helmut Deutsch and took part in the Liedforum of the Universität der Künste in Berlin…

He performed with various ensembles in France and abroad : at the Théâtre Impérial in Compiègne and several times at the Opéra Comique, under the direction of the Franco-American conductor William Christie in J.B. Lully’s Atys and M.A. Charpentier’s David et Jonathas. He also performed at the Opéra de Bordeaux, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, the Edinburgh Festival, the Bruxels Bozar, in Barcelona, Utrecht, the Lincoln Center and the BAM in New-York, as well as in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées with Edita Gruberova…

Once he became a tenor, he sang the part of the son in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Festival of Aix-en-Provence, the Théâtre de La Monnaie in Brussels, the Opéra de Nancy) as well as in Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Opera house of Dijon.

Passionate about contemporary music, he sang the part of Ulysses in Frederico Gardella’s Sirènes (Royaumont, ARCAL), then participated in the “Voix Nouvelles” programme with Brian Ferneyhough (Royaumont), for whom he created two new pieces with the Namascae Lemanic Modern Ensemble conducted by Elena Schwartz a music composed by Mithatcan Öcal young and talented composer from Turkey. He sang the part of the Gardener for the premiere of Wonderful Deluxe by Brice Pauset (Operadagen Rotterdam, Théâtre de la ville de Luxembourg.), Lui in Désarmé by the Greek composer Alexandros Markeas. He also premiered music by Samy Moussa for Sick Rose at Festival d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-provence, with Olivier Mellano and David-François Moreau, two composers dedicated to theatre and contemporary dance.

In La Jeune fille et la Mort (Death and the Maiden) he sang and danced in a creation of the choreographer Thomas Lebrun (Centre Chorégraphique National de Tours) at the Palais Chaillot. With Lebrun, he later created, for the 2014 Avignon Festival, the Lied Ballet, which was followed by a worldwide tour. He has continued to collaborate with choreographers since.

Benjamin Alunni was awarded the Honour Prize of the Saints-Anges works and the Prize of the friends of the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Marine Thoreau La Salle Pianist

Marine Thoreau La Salle is training at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP). She received training in “Lied” and French melody, first from Anne Grappotte, then from Anne Le Bozec, Emmanuel Olivier, and Jeff Cohen, and won 1st prize with high-class honors unanimously in June 2007. She then completed her training in opera repertoire under the tutorship of Erika Guiomar and Nathalie Dang and won in June 2009 a unanimous 1st prize with high-class honors and congratulations of the jury. She was also advised by Hartmut Höll, Susan Manoff, Janine Reiss, and participated in 2006 in the European Lied Forum in Berlin, and, in 2008, in the masterclass series “The art of vocal accompaniment”, given at the Musée d’Orsay by Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, and Mickaël Levinas.

Marine Thoreau La Salle is regularly invited to perform in piano-vocal recitals and for various chamber music training courses (Opéra Comique-Paris, Jeunes Talents aux Archives Nationales- Hôtel de Soubise Paris, Centre tchèque-Paris, Festival des Nouveaux Talents-Villers-sur-Mer, Soirées Lyriques de Gigondas, Académie Ravel – Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Concerts de midi de la Sorbonne, Festival 1000 sources et Dordogne, Semaine du Son, Scène nationale de Dunkerque, etc.).

In 2009, she accompanied the soprano Isabelle Poulenard during her Middle-East recital tour and recorded an album of 20th-century melodies and Lieder related to Asia, with the Taiwanese soprano Li-Chin Huang. In 2010, she recoreded with France Culture alongside the contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées with the musicians of the Orchestre Lamoureux for the concert “Carte blanche à Agnès Jaoui”. In 2013, she could be heard on France Musique with the mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand.

Marine Thoreau La Salle is also a vocal coach, working on numerous productions at the Théâtre de l’Opéra Comique de Paris, the Grand théâtre de Genève, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, etc. Since 2012, she has been a pianist-vocal coach at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique in Paris and supervises the Academie singers on a daily basis. In this capacity, she participates in a series of recitals at the Foyer du Théâtre et Salle Favart, takes part in its productions and provides the preparation and accompaniment of Christiane Eda-Pierre’s masterclasses.

Marine Thoreau La Salle is often sollicited by first-rank vocal soloists in the course of their role studies.


Lydia Shelley Cellist

Originally from London, Lydia Shelley started the cello aged seven with Eileen Croxford. From 2002 to 2007 she studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in the class of Hannah Roberts, where she was awarded her Bachelor of Music and Diploma of Postgraduate Performance, both with First Class Honours. Passionate about chamber music, she decided to continue her studies at the Royal College of Music with Richard Lester (Florestan Trio), and in 2009 was awarded a Master of Music in Performance again with First Class Honours.

An eclectic musician, she has played with many of the UK’s finest chamber orchestras, such as the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orchestra of St John’s, as well as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom she takes particular pleasure in interpreting on classical and baroque cello.

Since 2013 Lydia has been a member of the Paris-based Quatuor Voce. One of the leading string quartets of their generation, they recently toured the most prestigious halls in Europe thanks to the ECHO organization, which named the quartet as ‘Rising Stars’ in 2013: Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Konzerthaus (Vienna), Philharmonie de Luxembourg, Barbican (London), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Philharmonie de Cologne, MUPA (Budapest), Gulbenkian (Lisbon), Casa da Musica (Porto), BOZAR (Brussels), Megaron (Athens), Town Hall (Birmingham), Cité de la musique (Paris), Konserthuset (Stockholm), Konzerthaus (Dortmund), Palau de la Musica (Barcelona) and Festspielhaus (Baden Baden).

Open to diverse art forms, their curiosity has lead them to experiment with different forms of concert performance: they frequently give their voice to silent movies from W. F. Murnau to Buster Keaton and have shared their universe with such diverse personalities as the musicologist Bernard Fournier, the singer and guitarist -M-, the choreographer Thomas Lebrun and the Canadian neo-folk singer Kyrie Kristmanson, with whom they released the album ‘Modern Ruin’ in 2015.

Their recordings of Schubert and Beethoven string quartets and the complete Mozart’s Flute Quartets (with French flautist Juliette Hurel) were met with high critical acclaim by the international press (The Strad, Télérama, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Diapason, Strings and Bow and Klassieke Zaken). Their most recent release of Brahms and Mozart’s string quintets with violist Lise Berthaud continues their collaboration with Alpha Classics. Lydia lives in Paris and enjoys dressage and working equitation in her spare time.