As the world seems to move on from an international pandemic, we all take a big breath and look forward.
The arts across the globe are struggling to make up for lost time, facing losses and massive cut backs, but they continue to fight on!
I’m very grateful to have returned to work as life returns to “normal”
Since my last refresh of this page I’ve been busy, singing at the Proms, performing in Pisa, Austria, Basel, Quebec City and Montreal. I’ve also managed to record Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with David Bates, to be released later, record and film Handel’s Messiah in Coventry Cathedral with John Nelson and the English Concert along with superstars Lucy Crowe, Alex Potter and Michael Spyres. I also had fun filming with the English Concert in their series of the complete works of Handel.
I made my debut with the fabulous Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra and Choir, singing Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Matthew Halls, followed by Passions in Switzerland and Mahler songs with RPO and Vasily Petrenko.
I had a busy Easter booked in Europe, USA and Canada, but plans had to be changed after a once in a lifetime offer to jump in to sing one of my favourite roles, Il Re de Scozia from Ariodante in the Opera de Paris’ new production by Robert Carsen, conducted by Harry Bicket. We performed in the Palais Garnier, an iconic building, perfect for Baroque opera, grand, and yet intimate. Singing with a new generation of stars was a huge honour and thrill.
Future opera plans include Mozart Magic Flute for the Edinburgh Festival with the SCO and Maxime Emelyanchev, my debut with Opera North in the Purcellian The Masque of Time, directed by David Poutney, conducted by Harry Bicket, then straight into my fourth showing of Errolyn Wallen’s Dido’s Ghost with John Butt at the helm with San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque.
I will also be appearing in concerts at Bath Abbey (Elijah), Gloucester Cathedral in the Three Choirs Festival, singing Bach’s John Passion. I’ll then perform two Bach programmes with the Dunedin Consort at the La Chaise Dieu Festival, and more Bach in Vezelay with Gli Angeli.
As December arrives I will be in Messiah season, performing with dear friends Harry Christophers, the Sixteen, Stephen Layton and the Halle, the Dunedin Consort in Scotland, and I’ll finish that period in Prague with three performances with the Czech Philharmonic and Nicholas Kraemer.
Summer 2024 will feature a production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Grange Park Opera, Sir Bryn Terfel in the title role, I will sing the role of Simone. To say I’m looking forward to that experience is an understatement.
Check in on my agent’s website www.rayfieldallied.com for a more detailed schedule.
I am very glad to be getting back into regular working conditions after all the worrisome Covid lockdowns. It’s great to see fuller audiences, as confidence levels grow, at home and abroad.
I had a very busy Easter 2022, with Passions, Cantatas, Apollo e Dafne, Haydn’s Creation and Seasons, Brahm’s Requiem and even a cheeky couple of Messiahs in Scotland! I was very pleased to perform these fabulous works in iconic venues including Carnegie Hall NYC, Symphony Hall, Montreal, Boston Symphony Hall, Wigmore Hall and Cologne Philharmonie.
I have just finished a run of seven performances of Verdi’s Otello with Gianluca Marciano conducting and David Alden directing at Grange Park Opera. I was singing the role of Lodovico. The theatre there is only a few years old and is a fantastic place to perform, and it is in the most beautiful Surrey countryside.
Some of my current plans had to change due to Covid, so I will miss not singing Mendelssohn’s St Paul in St Albans. I have plans to sing Dvorak”s Requiem at the Hereford Three Choirs Festival, Bach’s B Minor Mass at the BBC Proms with the OAE and John Butt, and also in Germany with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen.
Please keep an eye out for my autumn schedule.
I was honoured to be part of a team who won the BBC Music Magazine Choral Award this spring, with the Dunedin Consort’s recording for Linn Records of Bach cantata Ich habe genug, and others. It was a fulfilled dream! We were restricted during lockdown, having planned to tour the piece, so the wonderful Jo Buckley, John Butt and Phil Hobbs (Linn records) said, “let’s just record then”. And so we did, in a very very cold church in north London. What a joy!
Please feel free to buy the CD, download from the Linn website. It has a lovey booklet and fine, original artwork on the cover. It is, of course, available to hear on several streaming services too.
Also, please try to support promoters creating wonderful festivals for your delight. They are very worried about not achieving their full houses they need to help fund these events. It’s tough out there for everyone I know, but these promoters have to take so many risks at the moment. Thank you for your support.
Thanks to my agents at Rayfield Allied, Nicholas Maw, Katie Smart, Ben Rayfield and now Nicki Wenham. They have kept positive throughout this difficult period, and I am thankful for that.
Please keep a look out for another recording that was released recently. It was a wonderful programme with the King’s Consort of Birthday Odes for Queen Mary by Henry Purcell. On the Vivat label (number 122), you’ll find some of Purcell’s finest melodies and harmonies sung with a fine team of players and singers. Arias with trumpet solos feature, featuring the outstanding Neil Brough. Please check it out!
As I type, I am thrilled to be able to tell you that my new recording of Bach Cantatas with Linn Records is number one in the specialist classical music charts! It features Cantata 82, Ich habe Genug. It was recorded during lockdown with the Dunedin Consort and John Butt. Feel free to buy a copy or do it the old- fashioned way and have the cd!
You can even listen to a few tracks here.
After a busy Summer, singing the role of Aeneas in Errolyn Wallen’s new opera Dido’s Ghost at the Barbican London, Buxton International Festival and Edinburgh International Festival, I started the new season with two performances of “A View from the Villa” with Iain Burnside, Susan Bickley and Victoria Newlyn at the Rye Festival and Lammermuir Festival. It’s a programme based on the music by Wagner, it tells a light hearted account of the relationship between Richard Wagner and his patrons the Wesendoncks. I play Otto, the wealthy silk merchant who bank rolled many of Wagner’s grand ideas.
After that I sang again at the Lammermuir Festival and the Perth Concert Hall singing a programme of wonderful Monteverdi with my colleagues in the Dunedin Consort and players. This was followed by a performance of Haydn’s Creation at the London Barbican Centre with Laurence Cummings and the Academy of Ancient Music. It was such a treat to sing with larger forces again after such a long time away from it all.
This was followed by a filmed and live performance of Handel’s Samson with Harry Bicket and the English Concert for the London Handel Festival. Keep an eye out for the film being released. It had such a wonderful cast and it was an honour to sing in Handel’s Church, St George’s Hannover Square.
I then performed Bach’s B Minor Mass at the King’s Place. London, followed by another concert with the English Concert, this time, singing Purcell and Handel with Kristian Bezuidenhout at the Wigmore Hall. This was recorded for BBC Radio Three, so can be heard on the Iplayer App.
Later this Autumn, I will be singing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at St Alban’s Cathedral, and several performances of Messiah in many cities across Europe and the UK. I will sing with AAM, Tenebrae, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC NOW, RNSO and Music of the Baroque in Chicago. Other venues include Snape Maltings, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Brauschweig, Winchester Cathedral and the Cadogan Hall.
I will also perform Paul McCreesh’s English version of Haydn’s Creation at York Minster in the Gabrieli Consort’s and Players “Re-Creation” project. This involves many children and local schools and choirs.
The Spring is filled with performances of Bach’s Passions in Quebec, Montreal, Carnegie Hall NYC, and London’s Barbican Centre. I have a Brahm’s Requiem in Cologne, several Creation’s in Boston Symphony Hall and a Summer of performances of Verdi’s Otello for Grange Park Opera in the role of Lodovico. I look forward to a performance of RV Williams Sea Symphony at the Cadogan Hall and Dvorak Requiem at next year’s Three Choirs Festival Hereford.
As you can see, I won’t be sat around twiddling my thumbs! I am so grateful that promoters and Orchestras are now making firmer plans after such a devastating time for the Arts due to Covid 19.
We just hope we can fulfil these performances, keep safe and try to look ahead with confidence.
It seemed to me that the few times we were able to go ahead with carefully planned live concerts with good sized audiences, that much joy was to be had on both the stage and in the hall. Long may this continue!