NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season

23/06/2017

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St John’s Smith Square has announced its 2017/18 Season

In a characteristic programme, punctuated by a range of Festival celebrations, St John’s Smith Square continues its core mission to provide a home for Baroque music within the UK’s only concert hall dating from the Baroque period while equally championing new music. International artists sit comfortably alongside emerging talent and St John’s Smith Square also continues to provide a vital and unique central London home for the best in community music. Read more

NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More

23/06/2017

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Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 

As announced at the closing press conference for the 2016 Festival by Festival Director Katharina Wagner, the Bayreuth Festival is launching a new supporting programme this year. It is entitled Bayreuth Discourse and is designed as a series of events for the academic and artistic analysis of Wagner’s work and legacy.

A two-day symposium will be held in summer 2017. This year’s theme will be ‘Wagner’s Work and National Socialism’. Lectures and discussions will examine facets of Wagner’s personality and the effect of his works and writings during the Nazi regime and the long-term consequences. Four concerts will feature music by opponents and victims of Nazi rule. Read more

NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017

14/06/2017

Music in the Summer in the Queen City Read more

NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin

08/06/2017

Daniel Barenboim Unveils The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin

pbs Daniel Barenboim and Ole Bækhøj announced the second season of the Pierre Boulez Saal on Thursday, June 8 in Berlin. In the spirit of Pierre Boulez, flexibility, openness, and musical curiosity will remain the essential ideas for the 2017–18 programme. Contemporary music will stand side by side with chamber music masterworks of the Classic and Romantic eras and major compositions of the 20th century.

The Boulez Ensemble, founded for the hall’s opening and consisting of members of the Staatskapelle Berlin, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, as well as students and faculty of the Barenboim-Said Akademie and international guests, will be heard in concerts with Daniel Barenboim, François-Xavier Roth, Emmanuel Pahud, Zubin Mehta, and Sir Antonio Pappano, among others. Commissioned new works by Luca Francesconi, Aribert Reimann, and Benjamin Attahir, Pierre Boulez’s last student, will have their world premieres.

A staged production of Luther dancing with the gods, will be seen at the Pierre Boulez Saal for the first time. Director Robert Wilson is creating this project, which features texts by Martin Luther and music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Knut Nystedt, and Steve Reich. This is a collaboration with the Rundfunkchor Berlin for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Three concert cycles are dedicated to major Classical works: Daniel Barenboim, Michael Barenboim, and Kian Soltani perform Beethoven’s complete piano trios. Renaud Capuçon and Kit Armstrong take on Mozart’s violin sonatas; and the Streichquartett der Staatskapelle Berlin presents Schubert’s 15 string quartets.

The Staatskapelle Berlin returns to the Pierre Boulez Saal for three concerts conducted by Lahav Shani, Pablo Heras-Casado, and Lorenzo Viotti.

Jazz and early music offer new programmatic aspects. Trumpeter and vocalist Till Brönner will host a series of five concerts with national and international guest stars entitled “Talking Jazz.” Music from the 15th to 18th centuries is heard in concerts by the RIAS Chamber Choir, the Capella della Torre, the Freiburg BarockConsort, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Orlando Consort, and Il Giardino Armonico.

Music from the Middle East and Northern Africa will once again be featured prominently, with the Arabic Music Days in December 2017 as the centerpiece. Kinan Azmeh, Naseer Shamma, and others will be the headliners. Three lecture concerts offer introductions by the performing artists themselves: Jörg Widmann and François-Xavier Roth present music by Boulez, and Sir András Schiff takes on Bach’s piano partitas.

Other highlights include performances starring Thomas Hampson, Daniil Trifonov, Sergei Babayan, Piotr Anderszewski, Gidon Kremer, Yefim Bronfman, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchido, Martha Argerich, and many others. There will also be, children’s concerts, and academy concerts featuring students of the Barenboim-Said Akademie.

Further information  at: https://boulezsaal.de/ .

NEW! The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company – 2017 Season

06/06/2017

The National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company & Harrogate Festival,  4-20 August 2017 (RJW)

The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company has assembled its 2017 season of G & S delights. We first heard of this unique company at the now world-famous International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival with an original professional line-up of ex-D’Oyly Carte principals that included Kenneth Sandford, John Ayldon, Alistair Donkin, Geoffrey Shovelton, Patricia Leonard and Lorraine Daniels when first staging The Yeomen of the Guard. It has developed over the decades to become one of the world’s finest professional Gilbert and Sullivan touring groups. This year it will be performing Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and Princess Ida at Windsor, Buxton, Harrogate Festival, Malvern, Norwich and Newcastle-on-Tyne between 20 July and 30 September.

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Pirates of Penzance

The 2017 Festival has a line-up of new faces, and others making a welcome return. Vivian Coates, founder and artistic director of Lyric Opera in Ireland, will direct two new productions – Princess Ida and The Pirates of Penzance. The President of Italy decorated him for his services in promoting Italian opera in Ireland.

Michael McCaffery (Old Vic Company, National Theatre, Glyndebourne and the Bayreuth Festival) directs a new production of The Mikado at Harrogate in August and Donald Maxwell returns to direct HMS Pinafore and star in Princess Ida. Andrew Nicklin takes over the Musical Direction for three of the four shows and Aidan Faughey conducts Princess Ida.

Other frontline newcomers include Anthony Flaum who made his mainstage debut with the English National Opera this year (Nanki Poo and Frederic); Mae Heydorn the Swedish/German mezzo soprano (Glyndebourne, Grange Park Opera) takes Katisha, Buttercup, and Ruth; Emma Walsh (Lyric Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Winslow Hall Opera) will play Princess Ida, Josephine and Mabel; Natalie Montakhab, a rising star with Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and English National Opera will play Yum Yum.

Toby Stafford-Allen is known to us as one of Britain’s leading baritones with English National Opera and will play Pirate King, Pish Tush and Captain Corcoran. Simon Wilding, a member of the Bayreuth Festival Chorus, has also starred with English National Opera, Opera Holland Park, and Royal Opera and will play the Sergeant of Police, Pooh Bah and Dick Deadeye. When you add well-known singers like Richard Gauntlett (Major General, Sir Joseph and Ko-Ko); James Elliott (Ralph Rackstraw and Hilarion), Richard Suart (King Gama); Nicholas Sales (Cyril); James Cleverton (Arac) and Gaynor Keeble (Lady Blanche) you can understand why the production teams are excited at laying these new foundations of talent.

The Festival venues are the Royal Hall and Savoy theatres in Harrogate. A busy fringe programme complements the stage performances between August 4rd and 20th August 2017. The brochure can be seen at the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival website.

 Raymond J Walker

NEW! Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend – 14-16 July

08/05/2017

WORLD-CLASS CLASSICAL MUSIC IN ESSEX, AT ROMAN RIVER MUSIC’S SUMMER WEEKEND

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Tickets for Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend on 14-16 July are now on sale, offering a chance to experience world-class, classical music in rural Essex.

Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Coggeshall parish church, St Peter ad Vincula, this year’s Summer Weekend features four programmes of French music performed by eight exceptionally talented musicians from around the globe.

The internationally acclaimed tenor, Karim Sulayman, will make his debut at the Summer Weekend, flying in especially from New York for the occasion.

Alongside Karim, Tom Poster, Elena Urioste, the Navarra Quartet and Raphaela Papadakis complete the incredible line-up of musicians.

Orlando Jopling, Artistic Director at Roman River Music, says, “Eight wonderful and charismatic musicians will be performing in one of Essex’s most idyllic villages.  It’s a truly unique opportunity to enjoy an evening of French music with some delicious French cheese and wine, in an incredible setting.”

BBC Radio 3 has recognised the quality offering of Roman River Music and will be recording all four Summer Weekend concerts for broadcast.

Tickets are priced from £6 (or just £3 for anyone under 30) and can be purchased online now from romanrivermusic.org.uk.  Further information about each of the concerts can also be found on the site.

About Roman River Music

Roman River Music presents world-class music in unexpected venues on the Essex/Suffolk borders.

Roman River Music produces two international festivals in North Essex and creates opportunities for over  1,000 young people to compose, perform or listen to music and get involved in the performing and visual arts.

We  aim to challenge, inspire and surprise audiences with magical and unique experiences in unusual and unexpected venues in Colchester and coastal Essex. We commission new work and collaborations, nurture emerging talent and tempt  internationally renowned musicians and performers to our corner of the world with the promise of appreciative audiences and the time and space to develop their skill and create new work among the salt marshes and wide open skies of  coastal  Essex.

The charity  uniquely combines strong grassroots support from over 100 volunteers with a truly international quality programme.

SUMMER WEEKEND

Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend concerts will celebrate the rich treasure trove of music by French composers from the golden age of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Iconic masterpieces have been carefully chosen by pianist Tom Poster, providing a framework for some exquisite rarities interwoven throughout this unique four-concert festival.

Musicians
Tom Poster piano
Elena Urioste violin
The Navarra Quartet
Raphaela Papadakis soprano
Karim Sulayman tenor

Friday 14 July, 8pm
Debussy Violin Sonata
Saint-Saëns Violons dans le soir
Messiaen La mort du nombre
Fauré Piano Quintet No 1 in D minor

Saturday 15 July, 11am
Fauré Violin Sonata No 1 in A major
Ravel String Quartet in F major

Saturday 15 July, 6pm
Ravel Pavane pour une infante défunte
Chausson Chanson perpétuelle
Fauré La bonne chanson
Ravel Piano Trio

Sunday 16 July, 6pm
Poulenc Songs (selection)
Chausson Concert in D major

For further details, please visit http://romanrivermusic.org.uk/summer-festival-2017/

AUTUMN FESTIVAL

Roman River Music’s Autumn Festival will run from 14 September to 1 October 2017.  Full details of the Autumn Festival are due to be announced in May.

NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18

03/05/2017

Ex Cathedra Unveils an Exciting Season of Choral Music in Birmingham and Beyond

ExCathedra-logoThe Birmingham-based Ex Cathedra is a leading UK choir and Early Music ensemble.  It is a unique musical resource, comprising a specialist chamber choir, vocal Consort, period-instrument orchestra and a thriving education programme. Ex Cathedra was founded in 1969 by Jeffrey Skidmore OBE so the ensemble is fast approaching its 50th anniversary. Details of their 2017/18 season have just been announced.   Read more

NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018

02/05/2017

Major new international singing competition launched by Glyndebourne

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Website http://www.glyndebourne.com/

Glyndebourne today launches a new international singing competition.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup – the international competition for opera singers is designed to discover and spotlight the best young singers from around the world, offering a top prize of £15,000 and a platform for launching an international opera career.

The eight-strong panel of judges includes representatives from top international opera houses. Among them are Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin, Sophie de Lint, Opera Director of Zurich Opera and Director designate of Dutch National Opera, David Devan, who runs Opera Philadelphia, and Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director of Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

Acting as honorary president will be Dame Janet Baker, whose own early career was fostered by Glyndebourne.

Sky Arts, Glyndebourne’s official UK broadcast partner, will bring the competition to a wider audience with a dedicated TV series. Following each stage of the competition, the series will feature preliminary rounds in a number of international cities, culminating in the finals at Glyndebourne, and will allow audiences to learn more about the individual competitors involved.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup will be unique to other competitions of its kind in a number of ways. Firstly, alongside prize money, the overall winner is guaranteed a role at one of the opera houses represented on the jury within five years of their victory. The time frame is designed to ensure that a suitable role for the winner can be found and reflects the long planning times in opera.

In addition, the biennial competition will focus on a different single composer or strand of the repertoire each time it is held.  This is in order to cater for the various specialisms within operatic training, and to ensure competitors can be accompanied by an orchestra with instruments appropriate for the period. Eligibility criteria, including age limit, will vary to reflect the chosen theme.

The inaugural competition, culminating in March 2018, will require singers to focus on Mozart, accepting entrants to an upper age limit of 28. Contestants will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The competition has been devised by Glyndebourne’s General Director, Sebastian F. Schwarz, who will chair the judging panel. Glyndebourne already has an international reputation for discovering and nurturing new talent. This includes Glyndebourne Chorus members who have gone on to fame, such as Sarah Connolly and Thomas Allen, as well as stars, such as Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti, who were given a place in the spotlight at early stages in their career.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, said: “I’ve been on the judging panels of a number of singing competitions and have seen what works and what doesn’t. When I arrived at Glyndebourne, with its giant reputation for discovering exceptional talent, it seemed an incredible opportunity to design the perfect singing competition from scratch. To me this means offering maximum benefit to those who enter. This is reflected in the jury which comprises esteemed colleagues representing houses that, like Glyndebourne, have a lot to offer competitors as they seek to develop careers. Our ambition is to establish The Glyndebourne Opera Cup as among the premiere competitions of its kind and we are delighted to be partnering with Sky Arts to bring this to a wider audience.”

Dame Janet Baker, also commenting on the competition, said: “My own career began at Glyndebourne so I’m well aware just how much the company has to offer to singers as they seek to establish themselves and develop as artists. This new competition is thoroughly in keeping with the strong commitment to nurturing singers that I observed and benefitted from during my time at Glyndebourne so I was delighted to be invited to act as honorary president.”

Sky Arts Director, Phil Edgar-Jones, says: “Sky Arts has had a long association with Glyndebourne over the years and, as opera enthusiasts, we are always keen to break new ground and seek out new audiences for this unique art form. So, when Sebastian brought us his idea for a partnership with Glyndebourne on its new opera singing competition his vision and infectious enthusiasm were impossible to resist. We’re sure it’ll hit the right note with our audience.”

The international jury for The Glyndebourne Opera Cup is:

  • Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director, Glyndebourne (Chair)
  • Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director, Komische Oper Berlin
  • David Devan, General Director and President, Opera Philadelphia
  • Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director, Teatro Real de Madrid
  • Sophie de Lint, Artistic Director, Zurich Opera and Director designate of Dutch National Opera
  • Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director, Teatro La Fenice, Venice
  • Pål Christian Moe, Casting Consultant for Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and Glyndebourne
  • Maria Mot, Associate Director, Vocal & Opera, Intermusica

Applications for the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup open later this year, with preliminary rounds taking place in January 2018 in Philadelphia, London and Berlin. The final stages of the competition take place at Glyndebourne in March 2018.

Full details, including information on the application process, will be released this summer.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018

The UK’s first professional production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Vanessa takes place at Glyndebourne Festival 2018.

One of the great American operas, Vanessa was hailed as a triumph at its premiere in 1958 but quickly fell out of the repertoire and has only been staged intermittently since.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Given my first chance to programme a work at Glyndebourne, my thoughts quickly turned to this neglected masterpiece. It’s remarkable that there has never been a UK production of Vanessa, the first opera by such a popular composer – and the man who wrote the Adagio for Strings. Sixty years on from its 1958 premiere, I’m delighted that Glyndebourne will give it the UK showcase it so richly deserves.’

The new production will be directed by British director Keith Warner, fulfilling his long-held ambition to stage the piece and marking his Glyndebourne directorial debut. Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša returns to Glyndebourne to lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The cast includes British soprano Emma Bell in the title role, alongside Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas as Anatol.

The second new production for Festival 2018 is Claude Debussy’s only completed opera, Pelléas et Mélisande.

With Pelléas et Mélisande, premiered in 1902, Debussy sought to rewrite the rules of the art form, producing a completely new style of opera, heavy with symbolism and deploying naturalistic vocal writing, with one note per syllable, phrased according to speech intonation.

The new production will mark the Glyndebourne debut of the in-demand Norwegian director Stefan Herheim, and is conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati.

Leading the cast are Austrian soprano Christina Gansch as Mélisande and American baritone John Chest as Pelléas. British baritone Christopher Purves returns to Glyndebourne in the role of Golaud.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 opens with the Festival debut of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Originally staged for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, Annilese Miskimmon’s production is the first staging of the work at Glyndebourne.

Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, his first appearance at Glyndebourne since he made his debut conducting Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

Taking on one of the greatest soprano roles in the repertoire is Moldovian soprano Olga Busuioc as Cio-Cio-San. The role of Lieutenant BF Pinkerton will be performed by American tenor Joshua Guerrero, with American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki.

Completing the 2018 Festival season are revivals of three of the most popular productions in Glyndebourne’s recent history.

Offering a chance to compare and contrast one of Handel’s finest operas with one of his great oratorios are revivals of David McVicar’s ground-breaking 2005 production of Giulio Cesare and Barrie Kosky’s smash-hit 2015 staging of Saul.

A number of artists involved in the original Giulio Cesare production return for next summer’s revival, including director David McVicar, conductor William Christie and British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in the title role. American soprano Joélle Harvey takes the role of Cleopatra.

Barrie Kosky returns to Glyndebourne to oversee the first Glyndebourne Festival revival of Saul, with Laurence Cummings conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

German baritone Markus Brück will perform the role of Saul with British tenor Allan Clayton as Jonathan and British countertenor Iestyn Davies returning to the role of David, which he performed in the 2015 premiere.

Completing the season is the first Glyndebourne revival of British director Richard Jones’s stylish and original take on Strauss’s masterpiece, Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Robin Ticciati.

British soprano Kate Royal stars as the Marschallin, as she did in the original 2014 staging, opposite American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Octavian. British bass Brindley Sherratt performs the role of Baron Ochs.

Glyndebourne Festival runs from 19 May – 26 August 2018.

Fifty years of the Glyndebourne Tour in 2018

Glyndebourne’s first-ever production of Massenet’s Cendrillon forms the highlight of the Glyndebourne Tour, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Cendrillon will be directed by Fiona Shaw, who previously directed a critically acclaimed production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne.

The Glyndebourne Tour launched in 1968 with two aims – to make Glyndebourne’s work accessible to broader audiences and to give performing opportunities to young, promising singers. These objectives remain as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

The second fully-staged opera in the 2018 Tour is a revival of Tom Cairns’s opulent production of Verdi’s La traviata, which had its premiere at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

There will also be a return for Behind The Curtain – a new style of event introduced in 2016, with Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain, to take audiences behind the scenes on the creation of opera. On this occasion the event will take an in-depth look at La traviata, with performance extracts from the cast and orchestra of the main Tour 2018 production.

Glyndebourne Tour runs from 13 October – 1 December 2018.

Further information and casting to follow.

Plans for biggest capital investment since new opera house

Glyndebourne is in the final stages of planning a new, state-of-the-art production hub that will unite all its expert making departments under one roof.

It will be the organisation’s biggest capital investment since the rebuilding of its world-class opera house in 1994.

In addition to housing technical workspace, the building will contain three music practice rooms and an extra rehearsal space.

The new hub will enable Glyndebourne to sustain its competitive edge, providing state of the art facilities that support the company’s high artistic standards and help it attract and retain creative staff.

The building will also improve the organisation’s environmental footprint, with a design that gives careful consideration to environmental factors. The development is being designed  to meet the BREEAM Excellent standard for sustainable development.

In addition, the hub will enhance the visitor experience through the addition of an attractive new building that offers greater potential for running tours of backstage departments.

A targeted fundraising effort will seek to raise the money for the project, underwritten by reserves that have been built up in recent years for this purpose.

Nicholas Hare Architects have been appointed to the project and an architect’s model of the development will be on display to visitors during the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival. Work on the new building is expected to begin this winter.

The new production hub is part of a wider programme of investment taking place at Glyndebourne that includes upgrades to front of house facilities, re-landscaping and the extension of wet weather facilities.

These initiatives all support Glyndebourne’s commitment to sustaining its high standards and retaining its reputation for excellence in all areas.

Education and outreach

Recruitment will get underway in 2018 for Glyndebourne’s latest large-scale main stage community opera.

The latest new commission will be composed by Howard Moody and directed by Simon Iorio. It will be delivered in partnership with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and staged at Glyndebourne in March 2019.

Also in 2018, a new Young Composer-in-Residence will join Glyndebourne.

The position is a three year, part-time residency for an emerging composer, giving the holder an unrivalled opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of an opera house and observe the creation of new operas, as well as create new work of their own.

Based within Glyndebourne’s pioneering education department, the Young Composer-in-Residence will also involve themselves in Glyndebourne’s broader artistic, learning and audience development activities.

An annual bursary of £17,000 is provided to cover time, expenses and any work composed for Glyndebourne during the residency.

Recruitment for the position is open now via glyndebourne.com

Glyndebourne will crown the latest winners of its two biennial awards for young singers in 2018.

The Gus Christie Award is for a young singer who has demonstrated outstanding vocal talent, while the Bill Weston Young Singers Award is for an exceptionally promising singer who would benefit from financial support to continue their development.

Both awards were launched in 2016 to mark 30 years since the formation of Glyndebourne’s education department.

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  • NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More __________________________________
  • NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company – 2017 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend – 14-16 July __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Culture and the Coast: Garsington’s Opera for All and Forthcoming Opera Screenings __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 BBC Proms from Friday 14 July – Saturday 9 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Announces Details of New Season 2017/2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Grange Park Opera’s 2017 Season in its New Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
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  • NEW! ANGELA BROWNRIDGE IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
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  • NEW! PIANIST KIRILL GERSTEIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! IN MEMORIAM LOUIS FRÉMAUX (1921-2017) __________________________________
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