Intermusica artists commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War
Several Intermusica artists were involved in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War this month both on and around Armistice Day on 11 November.
Renaud Capuçon joined Yo-Yo Ma in Paris on Armistice Day itself to perform Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello for world leaders including President Macron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Trump.
Also on Armistice Day, Marin Alsop led the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a performance of Brahms' German Requiem, which broke from tradition by presenting the Requiem Mass in German rather than the usual Latin. In October, Alsop also conducted three concerts with Daniil Trifonov and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra honouring the Armistice entitled A Time for Reflection.
Andrew Manze led the combined forces of the NDR Radiophilharmonie and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in two performances of Britten's War Requiem, first at the Kuppelsaal Hannover on 3 November and then at Liverpool Cathedral on 10 November. Click here to watch Manze and members of the orchestras talk about the project.
In Cardiff, Mark Wigglesworth conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and soloists Emma Bell, Alan Clayton and Roman Trekel in Britten's War Requeim, which interspersed the words of the Mass for the Dead with the poetry of Wilfred Owen.
On 4 November, the London Symphony Orchestra gave the London premiere of Sir James MacMillan's All the Hills and Vales Along, a new oratorio written for soloist Ian Bostridge and based on poems by Charles Hamilton Sorley who was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.
On 10 and 11 November, Cantori New York gave the US premiere of Thierry Escaich's oratorio "Cris", which was written after the novel by Laurent Gaudé Les Cris de Paris which explores the experience of French soldiers in the trenches. Its world premiere came in 2016 at the Théâtre de Verdun to mark the centenary of the Battle of Verdun, the longest of the war.
Hubert Zapiór joined the Albany Symphony at the Proctors Theater in Schenectady to perform War Requiem under the baton of David Allan Miller.
On 10 November Anthony Gregory and Susan Bickley joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie. Turnage's opera is an adapatation of Sean O’Casey’s provocative 1928 play of the same name, which critiqued the damaging impact of the war.
On 9 November, Marta Fontanals-Simmons joined the Jenaer Philharmonie to perform Benjamin Ellin's One Before Zero, a one-movement oratorio commemorating the Battle of the Somme. The work weaves together first-hand accounts of the Great War in English, German and French and illustrates, both linguistically and musically, how the trauma of war affected all nations equally. Click here to read an interview with Fontanals-Simmons about the piece.
Martyn Brabbins and English National Opera perform a staged version of Britten's War Requiem directed by Kaspar Holten on 16 and 22 November. Intermusica's David Butt Philip leads the soloists for the performances.
Anthony Gregory returns to the Barbican Centre for Mark-Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie with the BBC Symphony Orchestra
Anthony Gregory and Susan Bickley join the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre on 10 November to perform Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie. The performance is conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth and is part of the orchestra's commemmorations of the end of the First World War. Turnage's opera is an adapatation of Sean O’Casey’s provocative 1928 play of the same name, which critiqued the damaging impact of the war. Gregory sings the roles of Dr Maxwell and Staff Officer, while Bickley takes the role of Mrs Heegan.
Gregory performs with the BBC Symphony Orchestra again later in the season when they perform Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings in May.
Highlights for Gregory this season include the title role in Bernstein’s Candide at Bergen National Opera, a return to Den Norske Opera as Don Ottavio and the world premiere of Stuart MacRae’s Anthropocene at Scottish Opera.
This season Bickley has appeared in English National Opera's new production of Salome, and she also sings Kabanicha in Janáček Káťa Kabanová in a new production for the Royal Opera House by Richard Jones, the Queen of Sheba in a concert version of Solomon with Christian Curnyn for the Royal Opera House, and Dido in Purcell Dido and Aeneas in Boston with the Handel and Haydn Society.
Martyn Brabbins conducts new production of Salome at English National Opera with Susan Bickley, Michael Colvin & Simon Shibambu
Martyn Brabbins opens English National Opera's season conducting a new production of Richard Strauss Salome on 28 September. The production is directed by the Australian Adena Jacobs and features a cast including Allison Cook (Salome) and David Soar (Jokanaan) and Intermusica artists Michael Colvin (Herod), Susan Bickley (Herodias) and Simon Shibambu (Soldier).
Brabbins next appears at English National Opera in November, conducting a new staged production of Britten War Requiem from ENO Artistic Director Daniel Kramer. Last season at ENO Brabbins conducted the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie (a co-production with The Met) and, most recently, revived Fiona Shaw's Marriage of Figaro:
"A gratifying success…"
Financial Times, April 2018
Salome is the first of two appearances at ENO for Colvin, who returns later this season in a revival of David Alden’s acclaimed production of Lucia di Lammermoor. He also makes his company debut with Opera di Firenze as Cornwall in Reimann’s Lear, conducted by Fabio Luisi and returns to Salzburg Festival as Laios in Enescu’s Oedipe.
Bickley is a regular guest at English National Opera, recently appearing in Rodelinda and as a "superb" (Guardian) Paulina in the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter's Tale. Other highlights this season include Kabanicha in Janáček Káťa Kabanová in a new production for the Royal Opera House by Richard Jones, the Queen of Sheba in a concert version of Solomon with Christian Curnyn for the Royal Opera House, and Dido in Purcell Dido and Aeneas in Boston with the Handel and Haydn Society.
Shibambu is making his debut at English National Opera in this production. Elsewhere this season he returns to Covent Garden as Pietro in Simon Boccanegra and as Doctor Grenvil in La traviata. He also debuts at Dutch National Opera as Calazán in Micha Hamel’s Caruso in Cuba.
Salome runs at the Coliseum until 23 October.
Intermusica at the 2018 BBC Proms
The BBC Proms returns this year on 13 July 2018, and as ever there is a strong Intermusica presence at the festival. This year sees returns for artists including Marin Alsop, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, John Wilson, Colin Currie and Antoine Tamestit, while Intermusica also brings the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Baltimore Symphony to the festival as part of the Proms' celebrations of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein's birth. All concerts are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
On 15 July at 7pm, Colin Currie and Martin James Bartlett join an array of previous winners and finalists for a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of BBC Young Musician. Currie performs Steve Reich Drumming – Part I with Colin Currie Group members and fellow BBC Young Musician competitors Sam Walton, Aiden Spillet and Owen Gunnell, while Martin James Bartlett performs in Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals.
Susan Bickley renews her relationship with the London Sinfonietta and Sir George Benjamin at 3pm on 21 July in a Prom at the Roundhouse in Camden. Bickley performs in a programme featuring a quartet of war-themed premieres as well as works by Stravinsky, Messiaen and Ives.
Simon Halsey leads the BBC Proms Youth Choir once again this year in concert with Donald Runnicles and the World Orchestra for Peace at 7.30pm on 21 July. They perform Shadow, a new, First World War-themed commission from Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. Also on the programme are Britten Sinfonia da Requiem and Beethoven Symphony No.9. Halsey returns in August for concerts with the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and in September with the City of Birmingham Symphony Choruses with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
On 25 July, Ben Gernon returns to the Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Gernon, the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, leads the BBC Philharmonic in the world premiere of Tansy Davies What did We See?, an orchestral suite from the composer’s recent opera Between Worlds. He also conducts Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 ‘Emperor’ with soloist Paul Lewis and Brahms Symphony No.2. The concert starts at 7.30pm.
Martyn Brabbins conducts the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales in a programme celebrating English composer Hubert Parry at 7pm on 27 July. Brabbins conducts Parry’s Symphony No.5 and Hear my words, ye people! alongside works by his pupils Vaughan Williams and Holst. Tai Murray is the soloist in Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, while soprano Francesca Chiejina and bass-baritone Ashley Riches also feature.
Andrew Manze returns this year alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducting the orchestra in a London-focussed programme at 7pm on 31 July. The concert opens with Haydn Symphony No.104 ‘London’, and after the interval Manze conducts Vaughan Williams A London Symphony.
On 5 August, Brett Dean joins Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra for their Brandenburg Project. Over two concerts, the orchestra presents Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos alongside six newly commissioned companion works. Dean performs as viola soloist in the second concert at 7.30pm, while his Approach – Prelude to a Canon is one of the companion works.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra make their annual appearance in a late-night Prom focussing on Shostakovich at 10.15pm on 6 August. Joined once again by BBC broadcaster Tom Service, Collon and the Orchestra unpack the composer’s Symphony No.9 before performing it from memory. The concert also features Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2 with soloist Denis Kozhukhin.
Intermusica renews its relationship with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano at 7.30pm on 10 August, bringing them to the Proms as part of the festival's celebrations for the Bernstein centenary (Bernstein was the orchestra's honorary conductor for a decade). Pappano conducts the composer's Symphony No.1 'Jeremiah' alongside Haydn The Creation - Chaos and Mahler Symphony No.1.
Renaud Capuçon appears at the Proms at 7pm on 16 August alongside the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in its debut appearance at the festival. Capuçon is the soloist for Ravel Violin Sonata No.2, which has been orchestrated by Yan Maresz.
Marin Alsop conducts the Proms Scratch Orchestra in two free concerts at Maida Vale Studios on 26 August. The Scratch Orchestra, made up of amateur musicians and members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, performs movements from Shostakovich Symphony No.5.
Joshua Weilerstein returns to the Proms at 7.30pm on 26 August to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s televised Young People’s Concerts. Utilizing words, projections and music, the concert features works including Stravinsky The Rite of Spring, Ligeti Apparations and Debussy La mer alongside works by Bernstein and Beethoven.
Wallis Giunta makes her Proms debut at 1pm on 27 August, leading a recital of works by Bernstein and his associates at Cadogan Hall. As well as works by Copland, Sondheim and Barber, the concert features the world premiere of a new song by British composer Bushra El-Turk, Crème Brûlée on a Tree, inspired by Bernstein’s recipe settings.
Marin Alsop returns to the Proms at 8pm on 27 August as Intermusica brings the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to the festival for a concert of Bernstein and Shostakovich with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique return to the Proms at 7.30pm on 5 September for a programme of Berlioz. They are joined by Antoine Tamestit, who performs Harold in Italy, while Joyce DiDonato sings arias from Le mort de Cléopatre and Les Troyens.
Russell Braun joins the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Peter Oundjian at 7pm on 6 September as the baritone soloist in Britten War Requiem. Braun performs alongside Erin Wall and Allan Clayton.
Susan Bickley performs in world premiere of The Skating Rink at Garsington Opera
Susan Bickley creates the role of Carmen in the world premiere of David Sawyer’s The Skating Rink at Garsington Opera on 5 July 2018. The production is directed by Steward Laing, and conducted by Garry Walker. This is Garsington Opera’s first new commission for the main festival.
Bickley is renowned for her rare versatility as an artist both on the mainstream opera stage, and as a contemporary music specialist. Recent CD releases include collaborations with composers such as George Benjamin and Julian Anderson.
Directly after The Skating Rink, Bickley performs three new commissions by composers George Fredrich Haas, Isabel Mundry, and Luca Francesconi in the BBC Proms with the London Sinfonietta, conducted by George Benjamin.
The Skating Rink opens on July 5, with further performances on July 8, 10, 14, and 16.
Mark Wigglesworth conducts UK premiere of Dead Man Walking with Susan Bickley at the Barbican Centre
Mark Wigglesworth and Susan Bickley join the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in London on 20 February 2018 for the UK premiere of Jake Heggie Dead Man Walking.
The semi-staged performance is directed by Leonard Foglia and stars Michael Mayes, Measha Brueggergosman and Joyce DiDonato, who also performed the Spanish premiere of the work under Wigglesworth's baton in January. Bickley performs the role of Jade Boucher.
Wigglesworth continues his busy season in March when he returns to Covent Garden to conduct the Royal Opera's new production of Janáček From the House of Dead directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski.
Bickley continues her season with a performance of Berio Recital for Cathy at the British Museum with the London Sinfonietta in April and then returns to Garsington Opera in the role of Carmen, in a world premiere of Sawer The Skating Rink.
Intermusica at the Southbank Centre's 2018/19 classical season
The Southbank Centre launched its 2018/19 classical season on 30 January 2018, with Intermusica artists and performing throughout the year. Highlights include Marin Alsop continuing her relationship with the Southbank in concerts with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra continuing their residency, and performances from Leonidas Kavakos, John Wilson, Kian Soltani and George Li.
Another major highlight of the season is the International Chamber Music Series, which Intermusica co-promotes with the Southbank Centre. This year it opens with a concert from Jordi Savall and his Hesperion XXI and features a concert marking the centenary of author Muriel Spark from the Nash Ensemble, and performances from Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang, the Jerusalem, Artemis and Belcea quartets, and performances of Stockhausen by Southbank Centre Artist in Residence Pierre-Laurent Aimard.
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra continue as Associate Orchestra with three concerts in the new season. The first, on 16 September 2018, pairs a memorized performance of Beethoven Symphony No.5 with HK Gruber's Frankenstein!! in a concert conceived and directed by Jane Mitchell. Their second, on 20 January 2019, is titled Songs from the Road and features Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer, arrangements of folk ballads and the world premiere of Du Yun Where we lost our shadows. Their final concert takes place on 5 June 2019 and features works by Beethoven, Thomas Adès, a Max Richter world premiere and Mozart's Symphony No.41.
Kirill Gerstein renews his partnership with Thomas Adès when he joins the composer and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 26 September to perform Adès' concerto for piano and orchestra, In Seven Days.
Geoffrey Paterson returns to the London Sinfonietta on 13 October to conduct them in a performance of Pascal Dusapin Passion, a collaboration with Music Theatre Wales.
Patricia Bardon returns to the role of Baba the Turk in a performance of Stravinsky The Rake's Progress with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 3 November.
Lahav Shani and Francesco Piemontesi join forces for a concert of Brahms and Beethoven with the Philharmonia Orchestra on 4 November. Shani conducts Weber Oberon Overture, Brahms Symphony No.1 and Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 'Emperor', with himself as piano soloist.
Marin Alsop makes her first visit of the season on 11 November, conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a performance of Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. She then returns on 16 January to conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a contemporary programme with Colin Currie giving the world premiere of Helen Grime's Percussion Concerto.
John Wilson returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra on 15 November for a concert of Gershwin and Walton. He is joined by Louis Schwizgebel, who performs Gershwin Piano Concerto. Wilson then brings his John Wilson Orchestra to the Southbank Centre on 15 December, leading them in a characteristic programme of music from Hollywood and Broadway. He returns on 18 April to lead the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a special performance of Gilbert & Sullivan Trial by Jury.
Mary Bevan joins the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Brian Wright for a seasonal performance of Handel's Messiah on 16 December.
Leonidas Kavakos appears at the Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series on 18 January alongside Yuja Wang, performing a recital of Mozart, Prokofiev, Bartók and Strauss.
Martyn Brabbins joins the Philharmonia Orchestra on 20 January 2019 to conduct an English programme of Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and the London premiere of Geoffrey Gordon's Prometheus, a concerto for bass clarinet and orchestra.
Jacques Imbrailo joins the Mozartists and conductor Ian Page on 29 January for the next concert in their Mozart 250 series, which is themed around the year 1769. Imbrailo sings arias by Gluck, Haydn, Arne, Gréty and Paisiello.
Susan Bickley returns to the Southbank Centre to sing Beethoven Symphony No.9 alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Oliver Gooch on 16 March.
Kian Soltani returns on 23 March after his acclaimed debut at Southbank Centre with the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra. This time he joins Edward Gardner and the London Philharmonic Orchestra to play Elgar Cello Concerto.
George Li joins Vasily Petrenko and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 27 March to perform Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1, part of a programme that also features Khachaturian Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia and Walton Symphony No.1.
Following a critically acclaimed London conducting debut with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2017, Carlos Miguel Prieto returns to lead the young musicians in a concert on 12 April. Prieto conducts an exciting programme of Revueltas, Carlos Chávez and Copland.
Francesco Piemontesi returns to the International Piano Series on 2 May, performing a solo recital of works by Bach, Debussy and Rachmaninov.
Martin James Bartlett joins the Philharmonia Orchestra on 7 May to perform Ravel Piano Concerto in G, part of a programme that also features the world premiere of Cecilia McDowall Da Vinci Requiem.
Susan Bickley & Tim Mead return to English National Opera for Rodelinda
Susan Bickley and Tim Mead return to English National Opera on 26 October 2017 for the revival of Richard Jones’ acclaimed production of Handel Rodelinda. Christian Curnyn conducts a stellar cast also featuring Rebecca Evans in the title role and Neal Davies as Garibaldo.
Bickley reprises the role of Eduige, a portrayal the Guardian described as a “deft liaison of ferocity and wit” when the production premiered in 2014. Last season Bickley created the role of Paulina in Ryan Wigglesworth's The Winter's Tale for ENO, and subsequently received acclaim for her Genevieve in Pélleas et Mélisande for Garsington Opera. in 2018 she can be seen as Ericlea in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria for the Royal Opera at the Roundhouse.
Mead began the season with an appearance at the Los Angeles Philharmonic alongside Gustavo Dudamel as part of their opening night gala. In January he makes his debut at the Opéra National de Paris as Hamor in Jephtha, before appearing as Endimione in La Calisto at Bayerische Staatsoper in the spring.
Susan Bickley & Christopher Purves perform Peter Grimes at Edinburgh with the Bergen Philharmonic
Susan Bickley and Christopher Purves return to the Edinburgh International Festival on 13 August 2017 to join the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance of Peter Grimes under the baton of Edward Gardner.
Bickley has had a busy and successful 2016/17 season, with two world premieres (Pauline in Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter’s Tale for English National Opera and Torsten Rasch’s solo song cycle A Welsh Night with the Philharmonia Orchestra, for the 3 Choirs Festival), a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in Barrie Kosky’s critically acclaimed production of Shostakovich The Nose and to Garsington Opera as Genevieve in Pelléas et Mélisande.
Purves recently returned from his debut with the New York Philharmonic in his signature role of Alberich in Wagner Das Rheingold, performed as part of Alan Gilbert’s farewell season, for which he received great praise for his stand out performance:
“Mr. Purves is revelatory. Really singing, rather than sneering or shouting, the role of Alberich, he is dignified, even suave. His ethical capitulations for wealth and influence are all the more disturbing because he expresses himself so eloquently. His curses are not unlike those we might hurl if our backs were against the wall.”
New York Times
Susan Bickley returns to Garsington Opera as Genevieve in Pelléas et Mélisande
Susan Bickley returns to Garsington Opera on 16 June 2017 to sing Genevieve in Michael Boyd’s production of Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande. Bickley sings alongside Jonathan McGovern and Andrea Carroll in the title roles, Paul Gay as Golaud and Jac van Steen in the pit conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in their Garsington debut.
Bickley’s other highlights this season have included Matron in Shostakovich The Nose at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Fricka in Wagner Das Rheingold for the Halle with Mark Elder and Paulina in the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter’s Tale for English National Opera.
Pelléas et Mélisande runs from 16 June until 7 July.
Leigh Melrose, Anthony Gregory & Susan Bickley return to ENO for world premiere of The Winter's Tale
Leigh Melrose, Anthony Gregory and Susan Bickley return to English National Opera this month for the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter's Tale at the Coliseum on 27 February 2017. This new commission is an interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale of love, loss and reconciliation, directed by Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear.
Leigh Melrose joins the cast as Polixenes, adding to his reputation as a singer of contemporary repertoire. He is a regular guest at ENO, previously singing roles including Wozzeck, Ned Keene, Sonora and Escamillo. He follows The Winter's Tale with his debut as Ruprecht in Calixto Bieito's new production of Prokofiev The Fiery Angel at Opernhaus Zürich, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
Former ENO Harewood Artist Anthony Gregory continues his relationship with ENO as Florizel. Last season ENO audiences heard him as Nanki-poo in Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of The Mikado. Later this season, Gregory returns to Glyndebourne Festival Opera to sing Vafrino in Cavalli Hipermestra.
Susan Bickley returns to ENO to sing the role of Paulina. Bickley has long been a favourite guest of the company, previously performing roles including Jocasta in the world premiere of Julian Anderson The Thebans.
The Winter's Tale runs from 27 February until 14 March.
Congratulations to the Intermusica nominees at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards
Recordings by Giancarlo Guerrero, Martyn Brabbins and Susan Bickley have been nominated at this year’s Grammy Awards, including nominations in three categories for Guerrero. Congratulations to all!
Giancarlo Guerrero’s recording of music by Michael Daugherty with the Nashville Symphony for Naxos is nominated in three categories: Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Best Classical Compendium and Best Contemporary Classical Compendium. Guerrero has led the Nashville Symphony to multiple Grammy wins in recent years, most recently for works by composer Stephen Paulus in February 2016.
Martyn Brabbins’ recording Ralph Vaughan Williams Discoveries with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and soloists Roderick Williams and Jennifer Johnston is nominated for Best Classical Compendium. Released on Albion Records, the disc features world premiere recordings of several Vaughan Williams pieces, and spans the composers entire career.
Susan Bickley is one of the soloists in Janáček Glagolitic Mass with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner, released on Chandos., and nominated for Best Choral Performance.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 12 February 2017 in Los Angeles and broadcast on the CBS network.
Sarah Tynan, Susan Bickley & David Butt Philip join the Hallé for Das Rheingold in concert
Sarah Tynan, Susan Bickley and David Butt Philip join Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé at Bridgewater Hall on 27 November 2016 for a concert performance of Wagner Das Rheingold. Tynan (Woglinde), Bickley (Fricka) and Butt Philip (Froh) perform alongside Iain Paterson as Wotan, Samuel Youn as Alberich and Emma Bell as Freia.
Sarah Tynan has recently been seen at Sadlers Wells in the Garsington Opera / Ballet Rambert staged co-production of Haydn Creation. She also sings Creation next month with the Bergen Philharmonic, and in the new year returns to English National Opera in the title role of Handel Partenope.
Bickley appeared at Glyndebourne this summer as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, and has recently been seen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Matron in Shostakovich The Nose, in the hugely successful new production by Barrie Kosky.
Butt Philip last performed with Sir Mark Elder in Opera Rara’s Semiramide at the BBC Proms in 2016. Last season he also debuted the role of Pinkerton in Anthony Minghella’s acclaimed production of Madame Production at English National Opera, and later this season sings the role of Erik in Wagner Der Fliegende Holländer in his debut at Opéra de Lille.
Susanna Hurrell, Susan Bickley & Mary Bevan open Bach Festival Lausanne with The English Concert
Susanna Hurrell, Susan Bickley and Mary Bevan join The English Concert in Switzerland on 30 October 2016 for the opening concert of the Bach Festival Lausanne.
Hurrell, Bickley and Bevan join the ensemble for a performanceof Purcell Dido and Aeneas with Hurrell in the title role opposite baritone David Stout. Bickley takes the role of the Sorceress and Bevan sings Belinda.
Further highlights for Hurrell include her debut at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This season Bickley sings in Barrie Kosky's acclaimed new production of Shostakovich The Nose and returns to English National Opera for the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter's Tale. Bevan began the season as Zerlina in English National Opera's new production of Don Giovanni and rejoins The English Concert in December for a tour of Asia alongside Tim Mead.
Ingo Metzmacher conducts new production of The Nose with Susan Bickley at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Ingo Metzmacher returns to the Royal Opera House to conduct a new production of Shostakovich The Nose from 20 October 2016, featuring Susan Bickley in a role debut as the Matron.
Metzmacher, who works regularly with the world’s top houses and orchestras, made his ROH debut in 2009 conducting Die Tote Stadt and has since returned for The Rake’s Progress. In this new production by Barrie Kosky with a new translation by David Pountney, Metzmacher conducts a cast which also includes John Tomlinson, Martin Winkler, and Alexander Lewis.
Bickley returns to Covent Garden following her most recent appearance there as Virgie in Mark Anthony Turnage Anna Nicole. This summer she received high praise for her Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro at Glyndebourne, and later this season debuts the role of Paulina in the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter’s Tale for English National Opera.
There are further performances of The Nose on 24 and 27 October and 1, 4 and 9 November, the last of which will be streamed live on the Arte Concert, The Opera Platform and ROH websites.
Click here to watch an ROH Insights event where the creatives present their ideas for the production of Shostakovich’s anarchic satire.
Susan Bickley sings Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro in return to Glyndebourne
Susan Bickley returns to Glyndebourne this month as Marcellina in Mozart Le nozze di Figaro, which opens on 3 July 2016. Jonathan Cohen conducts Michael Grandage’s production, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the pit. Bickley is joined on stage by Davide Luciano in the title role, Rosa Feola as Susanna, Gyula Orendt as Almaviva, and Natalia Kawalek as Cherubino.
Bickley was last seen at Glyndebourne in 2011 as Mrs. Grose in the hugely popular production of Britten Turn of the Screw, which has since been released on DVD. This season Bickley has sung Fricka in Die Walküre and as Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, both for Opera North, as well as Marcellina for Welsh National Opera. Next season she returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Matron in Shostakovich The Nose, in a new production by Barrie Kosky.
Le nozze di Figaro runs at Glyndebourne until 24 August.
Susan Bickley joins Opera North's Ring Cycle as Fricka in Die Walküre
Susan Bickley returns to Opera North this month to sing the role of Fricka in Die Walküre on 30 April, 25 May and 7 June 2016. Richard Farnes conducts Peter Mumford's production. Bickley also sings Waltraute in Götterdämmerung (21, 29 May, 10 July).
Earlier this season Bickley was praised for her portrayal of Kostelnicka in Opera North’s Jenufa, and most recently has been seen as Marcellina in Welsh National Opera’s production of Mozart The Marriage of Figaro, a role she reprises this summer at Glyndebourne.
"It's the finest performance I've seen from this supremely protean mezzo-soprano - and that's saying something... Bickley's matriarchal monster dominates the opera as she should…and dredges the dilemma of her second-act soliloquy from her very entrails. It's shattering."
What's on Stage on Bickley's Kostelnicka for Opera North
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, announces its 2016/17 season
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, announced its 2016/17 season on 6 April 2016. The season sees Corinne Winters make her house debut, while Capalbo and Gregory Kunde all take title roles in new productions:
Alexander Lewis sings the title role of Shostakovich’s The Nose and Susan Bickley sings Old Lady, in a new production by Barrie Kosky conducted by Ingo Metzmacher opening on 20 October 2016.
Leonardo Capalbo sings the title role of Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Sofia Fomina singing Olympia, conducted by Evelino Pidò. Les Contes d’Hoffmann opens on 7 November.
Christopher Purves reprises the role of Protector in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin opening on 13 January 2017.
Gregory Kunde sings the title role in Verdi’s Otello in June 2017 alongside Kai Rüütel as Emilia. Keith Warner directs this new production.
Susan Bickley & Rhian Lois in The Marriage of Figaro at Welsh National Opera
Susan Bickley returns to Welsh National Opera to sing Marcellina in Tobias Richter’s production of The Marriage of Figaro from 18 February 2016. She is joined by fellow Intermusica artist Rhian Lois as Barbarina, David Stout in the title role and Anna Devin as Susanna. Lois also performs in Welsh National Opera’s world premiere of Figaro gets a Divorce, Elena Langer's sequel to The Marriage of Figaro, and this summer makes her U.S. debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni for Santa Fe Opera.
Bickley can also be seen this season as Fricka in Die Walküre and Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, both for Opera North, and she reprises the role of Marcellina for Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Le nozze di Figaro this summer.
The Marriage of Figaro runs until 26 February in Cardiff and then tours the country until 9 April.
Susan Bickley joins the BBC Philharmonic for Thomas Adès' America: A Prophecy
Susan Bickley joins the BBC Philharmonic this month at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester for a performance of Thomas Adès’ America: A Prophecy on 4 December 2015. The concert, conducted by Juanjo Mena, also features Dvořák's Carnival Overture, Brahms Symphony No. 3, and Britten’s Concerto for Violin Op.15, played by James Ehnes. America: A Prophecy was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, where the piece received its premiere in 1999 under Kurt Masur. Bickley recorded the piece with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2011 for Erato Classics. Click here to listen to an extract.
Bickley can next be seen as Marcellina in Welsh National Opera’s production of Mozart Le nozze di Figaro, after which she returns to Opera North as Fricka in Wagner Die Walküre and as Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. She also sings Marcellina in Summer 2016 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Susan Bickley sings Kostelnicka in Jenůfa at Opera North
Susan Bickley appears at Opera North this autumn, singing Kostelnička in Tom Cairns' English language production of Janáček’s Jenůfa from 22 October 2015. Bickley performs under the baton of Aleksandar Marković, joining a cast that also includes Ylva Kihlberg in the title role and Elizabeth Sikora as Grandmother. Tom Cairns returns to Opera North to direct the twentieth anniversary revival of the celebrated production he created in 1995.
Jenůfa is the start of a busy season for Bickley, who also appears as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Welsh National Opera and at Glyndebourne, and she also returns to Opera North in the spring to sing both Fricka in Die Walküre and Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. Earlier this summer, Bickley triumphed as Baba the Turk in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress alongside Sir Andrew Davis, a performance praised by Opera Magazine:
"Susan Bickley’s Baba reminded us, as if we needed it, what a complete artist this indispensable singer has become.”
Gidon Saks & Susan Bickley sing The Rake's Progress at Edinburgh International Festival
Gidon Saks and Susan Bickley join Sir Andrew Davis and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a concert performance of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Edinburgh International Festival on 12 August 2015. Saks and Bickley take the roles of Nick Shadow and Baba the Turk, and are joined by Emily Birsan as Anne Truelove, Andrew Staples as Tom Rakewell, Peter Rose as Father Truelove and Catherine Wyn-Rogers as Mother Goose.
Saks is a leading interpreter of the role of Nick Shadow, having sung it at the Berliner Staatsoper earlier this year:
"The highlight of the show, and a real star in our opinion, was without a doubt baritone Gidon Saks. He has taken Nick Shadow beyond the boundaries of the role."
Bickley too has become a renowned Baba the Turk, with the Times commenting that "Susan Bickley's plate-smashing Baba the Turk - as magnificiently upholstered in voice as in bosom - is the other dominant presence. Her surreal entrance through the flowerbeds, accompanied by dozens prancing, bowler-hatted acolytes, has a touch of Pythonesque genius."
Intermusica artists perform at the Buxton Festival
Susan Bickley appears in two productions at the Buxton Festival this summer. The first, Charpentier’s Louise, features Bickley as Mère, opposite Michael Druiett, Adrian Dwyer, and Madeleine Pierard. These concert performances on 16, 19, and 23 July 2015 are conducted by Buxton Festival Music Director Stephen Barlow.
Bickley also sings the role of Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, a co-production between The English Concert and Bristol Old Vic. Joining Bickley in the cast are Mary Bevan as Belinda, David Stout as Aeneas, and Pumeza Matshikiza as Dido. This semi-staged, candle-lit production has been directed by Tom Morris and John Retallack, and is performed on 13 and 20 July.
Ben Johnson also appears at the festival this month, making his role debut as Carlo in Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco on 11 July 2015. Johnson stars opposite Kate Ladner, Devid Cecconi, and Graeme Danby in a production conducted by Stuart Stratford. Johnson has previously received high praise for his interpretation of Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata, of which one critic remarked that “this was one of the most beautifully crafted accounts of the role of Alfredo that I have heard” (Planet Hugill). Giovanna d’Arco runs until 24th July at the Buxton Opera House.
Susan Bickley sings Child of Our Time with São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Susan Bickley sings Sir Michael Tippett A Child of Our Time with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil on 28, 29 and 30 May 2015 under conductor Mark Wigglesworth. The performances also feature soprano Measha Brueggergosman, tenor Stuart Skelton, and baritone Peter Coleman Wright.
Bickley recently sang in the world premiere of Tansy Davies’ Between Worlds with the English National Opera, which was performed at the Barbican Theatre. Critics described Bickley as “the emotional heart of the work” (The Arts Desk), commenting that “No-one who witnessed it will ever forget Susan Bickley’s cry of total despair” (Music OMH).
Susan Bickley sings Mother in Between Worlds ENO at Barbican world premiere
Susan Bickley performs in the world premiere of Tansy Davies’ Between Worlds at the Barbican Centre. The opera is Davies’ first, and focuses on a group of individuals trapped in an elevator high up in one of the Twin Towers on 9/11.
A co-commission by the English National Opera and the Barbican, this new work, with libretto by Nick Drakes, has been directed by Deborah Warner and designed by Michael Levine and Brigitte Reiffenstuel. Performances will be conducted by Gerry Cornelius, and will also feature Andrew Watts, Eric Greene, Clare Presland, and Philip Rhodes.
Bickley was most recently featured as the Messenger in Monteverdi Orfeo in a Royal Opera House production at the Roundhouse in London, and was praised for her “style and substance” (Financial Times).
Susan Bickley, Mary Bevan, Susanna Hurrell & Anthony Gregory: Royal Opera House’s Orfeo
Susan Bickley and Mary Bevan join Susanna Hurrell and Anthony Gregory in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden’s new production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, to be presented at the Roundhouse in London on 13 January. Bevan sings the role of Euridice, Bickley sings Silvia, Gregory sings First Pastor and Hurrell will sing Nymph. Conducted by Christian Curnyn and featuring the Orchestra of the Early Opera Company, performances run until 24 January.
Mary Bevan returns to the Royal Opera after appearing to acclaim on the main stage as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro in 2013. Winner of the Critics’ Circle Exceptional Young Talent Award, Bevan was most recently praised for her “bewitching” Susanna with the English National Opera (Michael Church, Independent, October 2014).
A veteran of the Royal Opera House main stage, Susan Bickley most recently appeared as Virgie in Turnage Anna Nicole. Bickley joins Orfeo following a successful run as Herodias in Strauss Salome at Dallas Opera alongside Deborah Voigt.
Anthony Gregory will make his Royal Opera debut with Orfeo. Other season highlights include an “exquisitely sung” (Alexandra Coghlan, Spectator, October 2014) Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw at Glyndebourne, as well as appearances with Opera de Limoges and Aix en Provence Festival.
Directed by former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd, this production of Orfeo follows the tremendously successful Royal Opera House and Roundhouse co-production of Cavalli L’Ormindo, presented in spring 2014, and featuring Susanna Hurrell.
Susan Bickley makes Dallas Opera debut as Herodias Salome
Susan Bickley returns to the role of Herodias Salome for her house debut at Dallas Opera from 30 October. In Francesca Zambello’s production of Strauss’s opera, Bickley is joined by renowned American soprano Deborah Voigt also making her house debut in the title role. There will be further performances on 2, 5 and 8 November.
Bickley has just finished performing the role of Virgie in a revival of Mark Anthony-Turnage’s Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with critics noting her “suberb” (Spectator, September 2014) and “beautifully judged” performance (Guardian, September 2014).
Susan Bickley and Rebecca de Pont Davies in Anna Nicole at Royal Opera House
Susan Bickley and Rebecca de Pont Davies return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 11 September for a revival of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole. The opera, which draws on the dramatic life and death of infamous American pin-up girl Anna Nicole Smith, received widespread critical and public acclaim following its premiere at Covent Garden in 2011.
Bickley reprises the role of Virgie, Anna Nicole’s mother, a role which she took from London in 2011 to New York in 2013, for New York City Opera’s production of the work. Bickley’s performances in both cities have received wide critical praise, with the Wall Street Journal highlighting hers as “the most affecting performance of the evening” and noting the “commitment and intensity” that she brings to the role. This revival at Covent Garden will be her first of two ROH appearances this season: in January 2015 she sings the role of Messagiera Orfeo with ROH at The Roundhouse.
De Pont Davies also returns in this revival production, reprising the role of Aunt Kay, which she originated in 2011. Following Anna Nicole at the ROH, de Pont Davies travels to Madrid for The Marchioness in Donizetti’s La fille du regiment at Teatro Real. She returns to London later this season for the role of Ruth in ENO’s production of The Pirates of Penzance.
After opening on 11 September, subsequent performances of Anna Nicole take place on 13, 16, 18, 20 and 24 September.
Susan Bickley, Matthew Best & Anthony Gregory in world premiere of Anderson’s Thebans
Susan Bickley, Matthew Best and Anthony Gregory perform the roles of Jocasta, Tiresias and Haemon respectively in the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans for English National Opera on 3 May. Conducted by Edward Gardner and directed by Pierre Audi, this new opera re-tells Sophocles’ timeless Theban tragedies, focusing on the fate of Oedipus and his daughter Antigone. Bickley, Best and Gregory will perform alongside Roland Wood in the title role, Peter Hoare as Creon and Julia Sporsén as Antigone.
Susan Bickley returns to ENO for a second time this season, following her critically acclaimed turn as Eduige in Richard Jones’ new production of Rodelinda. Following Thebans, Bickley ends this season with Waltraute in Opera North’s new production of Götterdämmerung, the final instalment of their four year Ring Cycle. Highlights next season include a reprisal of Virgie in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Herodias Salome for Dallas Opera, Messagiera Orfeo for the ROH at the Roundhouse and a return to ENO for another world premiere.
Following his successful performances of Swallow in the revival of David Alden’s Peter Grimes at ENO, Matthew Best returns to house for the final time this season in Thebans. Best will then go to Buxton Opera Festival where he will sing the Count in Dvořák’s The Jacobin, before reprising the role of Commendatore in Don Giovanni with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Highlights next season include Best’s return to Scottish Opera.
Thebans is the last of three new productions in Anthony Gregory’s busy 2013/14 season as an ENO Harewood Artist. Earlier in the season he performed Second Armed Man and covered Tamino in Simon McBurney’s innovative new production of The Magic Flute, and Borsa in Christopher Alden’s Rigoletto alongside Quinn Kelsey, Barry Banks and Anna Christy. Later in the season, at the invitation of Rollando Villazon, he returns to the Verbier Festival in the role of Agenore in Mozart’s Il Re Pastore. He then performs Tamino for NI Opera; Prologue and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw for Glyndebourne on Tour; and Shepherd L’Orfeo in his Royal Opera House debut at the Roundhouse Theatre.
Intermusica singers lead Peter Grimes cast at Santa Cecilia with Sir Antonio Pappano
Gregory Kunde makes his debut in the title role of Britten’s Peter Grimes for three concert performances with the Orchestra and Choir of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. The performances are at Rome’s Sala Santa Cecilia in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, the city’s state-of-the-art music complex, on 26, 28 and 30 October.
In a departure from the Italian repertoire in which he is particularly renowned, Kunde leads a cast that includes five Intermusica singers, as part of the celebrations for the Britten centenary. Kunde’s debut as Grimes is one of several major Italian engagements this season, which include Enee Les Troyens at La Scala, Milan, and Vasco da Gama L'Africaine at La Fenice, Venice.
Dame Felicity Palmer returns to one of her signatures roles as Mrs Sedley; a role she has performed at the Metropolitan Opera New York with Donald Runnicles, at English National Opera in the acclaimed production by David Alden and most recently at the BBC Proms in August 2012, conducted by Edward Gardner. Dame Felicity’s superb characterisation of this role led the Guardian to describe her performance as, “the most terrifying Mrs Sedley imaginable.” Following this performance, Dame Felicity sings Mrs Sedley in the revival of Alden’s production that returns to the Coliseum in January 2014.
Matthew Best once again performs the role of Swallow, a role he has sung to great acclaim in recent years at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opera Oviedo and ENO, He joins Dame Felicity in ENO’s revival of Alden’s production of Grimes in January. Prior to that, December sees his house debut at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi’s Don Carlos.
Michael Colvin sings the role of Bob Boles, following on from recent performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski at the Royal Festival Hall, London, and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
The concert will be Susan Bickley's debut with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia as well as a role debut, as she sings the part of Auntie for the first time. Her other highlights this season have included: a universally acclaimed Virgie, in the US premiere of Turnage’s Anna Nicole; the role of Storge for a recording of Handel’s Jephtha with The Sixteen under Harry Christophers, which will also be performed in concert at the Barbican; Eduige Rodelinda in a new production by Richard Jones for ENO; and the world premiere of a new piece by Julian Anderson, also for ENO.
Susan Bickley and Matthew Best star in new Lohengrin at Welsh National Opera
Mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley and bass Matthew Best both star in a new production of Wagner’s Lohengrin for Welsh National Opera, which opens on 23 May at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
Bickley sings the role of Ortrud and Best the role of Heinrich in the production by director Antony McDonald, which is set in the 1840s. WNO Music Director Lothar Koenigs conducts the performances which also star Emma Bell as Elsa and Peter Wedd in the title role. There are further performances on 26, 29 May and 1, 8 June at the Millennium Centre and performances on 13 and 15 June at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Following Lohengrin, Bickley has a busy few months ahead with engagements including Witch Hänsel & Gretel for Garsington Opera, Virgie Anna Nicole for New York City Opera, Auntie Peter Grimes with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano, Mother Hänsel & Gretel for Opéra de Toulouse, and Eduige Rodelinda and Jocasta The Thebans (a new work by Julian Anderson) for ENO.
Best performs the role of Swallow Peter Grimes with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and for ENO in a revival of David Alden’s acclaimed Peter Grimes, followed by The Thebans for ENO in the spring.