2018 sees Steven playing the desperate leader of the jews, Zaccaria, in Nabucco for Brent Opera. An earnest protector of his people and believer in his god, Zaccaria is nevertheless ruthless in his desire to see off the eponymous king. However, he is actually pretty useless at fighting and ends up in prison. Time for a beautiful prayer, please, Verdi. Ooh that's better. Later in the the year, he'll again play Leporello for Felici Opera, in a production which will include the rarely performed duet between his character and Zerlina. Added by Mozart for the Vienna production, it's a classic bit of buffo but also a scene which highlights his character and the repercussions of being Don Giovanni's servant!
In 2017, Steven played a Swedish diplomat, and two nazis, one vile and one repentant, in a performance of a new opera, Blood and Ink, which told the story of Raoul Wallenberg, the Oscar Schindler of Hungary. It was performed at the Toynbee Theatre in London. He also did some more touring with Il Barbiere di Siviglia and gave a recital in Ashford for their festival and recorded the part for King Herod with the Southampton Philharmonic for The Birth of Christ.
2016 saw Steven play Leporello for Winslow Hall's Don Giovanni alongside international baritone Marcin Bronikowski as The Don. He also toured as Don Basillio with PopUp Opera in their Il Barbiere di Siviglia and played Banquo for Kentish Opera's Macbeth. He started the year as a particularly slimy Don Alfonso in the King's Head Theatre's reimagining of Cosi Fan Tutte as a reality game show host. But he perhaps most enjoyed the production of Beowulf for Chilmark Opera with a new score by Louis Mander. Lots of mead, monsters and magic! And that was just at the Black Dog Inn down the road!
Steven had the joy of playing Prince Gremin twice in 2015, once in English alongside James Newby as Onegin for Brent opera and once alongside Alex Otterburn for Dartington International Summer School, where my wife could listen to the performance while she put our little boy Arthur to bed across the quad from the Great Hall. He also got to put my first Leporello on stage for Moon-Little Theatre, again alongside James Newby. And there was contemporary opera at King's Place with The Doll behind the Curtain by Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour, where he played the owner of the attractive creature who was only too happy to sell it to the obsessed chap who fell in love with it.
In February 2014, he rejoined Bury Court Opera to play the Hackney Coachman in Henry Fielding's 1731 ballad opera The Lottery, which followed John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. He then played Capellio in I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Opera Undone in March. Later that month, he was a bass soloist in the quartets for Elijah with Matthew Rose in the lead role at St John Smith Square, conducted by Ed Gardner. Along with Andy Armistead, he was the bass soloist at St Albans Cathedral's April performance of Handel's Israel in Egypt. In the summer he joined Grange Park Opera chorus for Queen of Spades and Peter Grimes, in which he also played Peter Grimes's master during the orchestral interludes and covered the role of Swallow.
In May 2013, Steven won the Singing Prize (for conservatoire students) at the North London Music Festival, with Alexandra Kremakova on piano.
Operatic roles in 2013 included Sparafucile in Rigoletto and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte for Brent Opera, Sacristan in Tosca for the King's Head Theatre, Soho and Zaretski in Eugene Onegin for Bury Court Opera. He also played Leporello in a concert staging of Don Giovanni in November and then Publio in La Clemenza di Tito and Carcagnosso in It Makes No Difference for Trinity Opera Scenes in December.
Steven has sung in seven English National Opera productions with the chorus under baton of Ed Gardner, as well as Richard Armstrong and Keri-Lynn Wilson and also in that month, he reprised the role of Quintus in Perpetua, which he created in 2012, in Southwark Cathedral. This cantata by Nick Bicât tells the story of one of the first female to martyr herself in the name of her beliefs.
Steven was a Robinson Hearn Scholar on the Advanced Independent Study Programme at Trinity Laban College of Music and Dance, studying with Lynton Atkinson and Kelvin Lim after gaining a distinction on the Postgraduate Advanced Diploma there. He was mentored by the bass Matthew Rose and has sung in masterclasses for him and Susan Bullock.
Before discovering classical singing in 2009, he had worked as a history teacher in Albania, an English teacher and kebab shop cleaner in Greece, a truck driver in the West Country, a magazine subeditor, an on-street charity fundraiser, a live-in children's care home assistant, a painter and decorator, a London cycle courier and a cycling map-checker in Prague for Berlitz Guides. He’s sung with rock bands and in studios in Russian for vodka commercials. As a travel writer, he’s climbed the mountains of Transylvania to experience the 'Festival of the Girl', been frozen to -130°C for three minutes in Slovakia to write an article on cryotherapy and fasted for three days with no food or water in the Canadian wilderness. By the third day he'd hallucinated seeing a sasquatch being chased by a moose.