Nicole studied French at Sheffield University before winning a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
She came to international prominence when she made her debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as the Countess in Massenet’s Chérubin conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. She was immediately re-engaged to sing the roles of L’Amour and La Folie in Rameau’s Platée with the Mark Morris Dance Group and conducted by Nicholas McGegan. Also for the Royal Opera, she sang the role of Fido in Britten’s Paul Bunyan conducted by Richard Hickox, and Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Mark Elder.
Other operatic roles include Fiakermilli (Arabella) for Opera North; Nerina in Handel’s Le Pescatrici for Garsington Opera; Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) with Travelling Opera and European Chamber Opera; Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) at the St Endellion Festival; Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) for Perth Festival Opera; Alice (Falstaff), Sofia (Il Signor Bruschino) and Rossini (Zuppa Inglese by Daryl Runswick) for Pimlico Opera; Neighbour (Blood Wedding by Nicola LeFanu) for Women’s Playhouse; Hardwick (Camera by Anthony Moore) for Channel 4; Hembra (Yerma by Villa-Lobos) with Odaline de la Martinez; Serpina (La Serva Padrona) for Broomhill Opera; Kopernikus by Claude Vivier for Pierre Audi at the Almeida Festival; Mr Emmet Takes a Walk, by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and staged performances of Ligeti’s Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures with Psappha.
While a member of the Swingle Singers, she met Luciano Berio. She has subsequently performed his music throughout the world, including Sinfonia, Laborintus II, A Ronne and Folk Songs as far afield as St Petersburg, New York and Tel Aviv. She has recorded Sinfonia for Decca with the Concertgebouw and Riccardo Chailly. She has also recorded Lachenmann’s Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern with Sylvain Cambreling, concert performances of which followed in Berlin, Frankfurt and at the Salzburg Festival. She has also given premieres of works by Berio, Bainbridge, Finnissy, Gunning, Holt, Lloyd, Maxwell Davies, Nyman and Osborne, recorded works by Wishart, Bryars, Smalley, Stockhausen and Cage, and made many broadcasts for BBC radio and television. She recorded a group of neglected songs by Hindemith for Southwest German Radio and performed Ferneyhough’s Transit for the BBC’s Fairest Isle series.
Other engagements have included Castiglioni’s Cantus Planus II and Nono’s Quando stanno morendo - Diario Polacco 2 with the London Sinfonietta; Wolfgang Rihm’s Dies, Donatoni’s Arie and Szymanowski’s Songs of a Fairy-Tale Princess with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Zagrosek, Ades and Rophe respectively; Kurtag’s Scenes from a Novel with Psappha, concerts with the John Harle Band, London Mozart Players and Endymion Ensemble; performances at the Cheltenham, King’s Lynn, Huddersfield and Ludlow festivals; recitals at St John’s Smith Square and Linbury Theatre Covent Garden; appearances in the London Sinfonietta’s State of the Nation series at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and in cabaret at Stationers’ Hall in London.
She sang and danced Stravinsky songs with the Rambert Dance Company for several seasons, and performed Nenia - The Death of Orpheus (Orpheus Singing and Dreaming) with the Richard Alston Dance Company and the London Sinfonietta, concluding the Southbank’s Secret Theatre Birtwistle retrospective.
Nicole has also made a great many recordings for television and radio plays, films, television series and commercials. She provided the incidental music for the computer game The Darkening, the title music for the feature films Wish You Were Here and The Fruit Machine, a Schubert song in Needful Things, and the coloratura voice for Howard Blake’s animated film Granpa. She has made numerous commercial recordings for television and the cinema and, by popular demand, she recorded a single of the music for St Ivel Gold, which entered the pop music charts.