Gustav Mahler and fin-de-siècle Vienna will be the focus of the Oxford Lieder Festival (13-28 October 2017), exploring his influences, contemporaries and legacy. Mahler was a dominant musical personality: composer and preeminent conductor, steeped in tradition but a champion of the new. During this Festival, his complete songs with piano will be heard, inviting a fresh look at this ’symphonic’ composer and the enduring place of song in the musical landscape. His choices of texts, wider artistic influences from literature to art to nature and folk music, his Jewish background in a conservative Catholic city, his encounter with Freud, his encouragement of other composers and more will all be explored over the fortnight.

Mahler’s Vienna will also be placed in a wider context, with tradition represented in the songs of Schubert and Beethoven, an exploration of Brahms’ glorious melodic gifts, an in-depth look at Richard Strauss, and music by Hugo Wolf, Alexander Zemlinsky, Erich Korngold, Joseph Marx and others. A late-night salon will look ahead to the Second Viennese School, including several of Schoenberg’s seminal works. Study days, readings, screenings, workshops and more once again make for an exhilarating Festival that will illuminate the era.

Some of the world’s leading singers and instrumentalists will take part, including Ian Bostridge, Sarah Connolly, Katarina Karnéus, Angelika Kirchschlager, Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams, Imogen Cooper, the Doric String Quartet and members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Passes will be on sale from 1 March from www.oxfordlieder.co.uk  / 01865 591276.
Full Passes: £600/£510. One-week Passes: £400/£340.

General booking opens 1 June 2017


ENO: Partenope

Christopher Alden’s Olivier Award-winning production of Partenope returns to ENO starring Sarah Tynan


Opens Wednesday 15 March at 7pm at the London Coliseum (5 performances)

One of the most celebrated new productions of Handel’s work in the last decade will return to ENO in March, with the original partnership of Christopher Alden and Christian Curnyn resuming their roles as Director and Conductor respectively. Called ‘riveting’ byThe Guardian and ’superb’ by The Sunday Telegraph in a five-star review, the original run won the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production.

One of Handel’s outstanding comic works, the tale of Queen Partenope and her three suitors features cross-dressing, mistaken identity and the crazed politics of romance. In Alden’s production, which has also been seen to great acclaim at the Sydney Opera House and the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House since its London premiere, the action is relocated from mythical ancient Naples to the salons and drawing rooms of the socialite set of twenties Paris, with design inspired by the surrealist photography of Man Ray.

The production will feature an outstanding cast showcasing some of the best British singers at work today, led by Sarah Tynan (’some of the finest baroque singing you’ll hear anywhere’ – The Guardian) in the title role. Sarah’s previous Handel roles at ENO include a ’superbly beautiful’ (Opera Today) Romilda in the 2014 performances of Xerxes, with Marzelline in 2013’s Fidelio and Zerlina in 2012’s Don Giovanni being other highlights. This marks her role debut.

Mezzo soprano Patricia Bardon will sing Queen Partenope’s dashing suitor Arsace. Patricia most recently sang at ENO in 2014 as Mary Magdalene in The Gospel According to the Other Mary, described as ’the performance of her life’ by The Guardian. Her strength as a Handelian has been praised, giving an ’utterly melting’ (New York Times) performance as Zenobia in The English Concert’s 2013Radamisto.

Countertenor James Laing sings as the shy suitor Armindo. James has previously appeared at ENO as Nireno in Julius Caesar in 2012. He has sung Handel’s operas on numerous other occasions, including as Tirinto in Imeneo for the 2016 Göttingen International Handel Festival and as Medoro for Welsh National Opera’s 2015 Orlando.

Returning ENO favourite Robert Murray sings Emilio, the suitor warring for the Queen’s hand. In addition to his starring roles here inThe Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, his singing of Handel in Acis e Galatea at Wigmore Hall in 2013 was called ’splendid’ by TheObserver. Rosmira, the former lover of Arsace in disguise as the male Eurimene, is sung by Stephanie Windsor Lewis, who debuted at ENO last year as Suzuki in Anthony Minghella’s production of Madam Butterfly. The cast is completed by ENO Harewood Artist Matthew Durkan as Ormonte.

Conductor Christian Curnyn is well-known as one of baroque’s foremost interpreters in the UK: ’Find anything exciting happening in period opera in the UK and Curnyn will be involved’ (The Spectator). He founded the Early Opera Company in 1994 in order to champion the relevance of baroque opera, and has won great acclaim for his recordings and performances in the area since. His most recent Handel conducting at ENO, for 2014’s Rodelinda, was called ’well-nigh flawless’ by The Guardian.

Christopher Alden has directed numerous ENO productions across the years including Norma and The Makropulos Case. He has directed operas across the world, long known for his challenging and innovative concepts. On top of winning the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Opera, this production of Partenope won the 2011 Helpmann award for Best Opera in Australia.

The design team of Andrew Lieberman (set) Jon Morrell (costume) and Adam Silverman (lighting) provide the striking surrealist look while the witty English translation is by Amanda Holden.

Partenope opens on Wednesday 15 March 2017 at 7.30pm for 5 performances – 17, 20, 22, 24 March.


Led by South Coast native William Kunhardt, the Arensky Chamber Orchestra (ACO), Britain’s orchestra of revolutionaries, make their South Coast debut in March 2017.

Sea Fever 1

Their first project, Sea Fever, is a classical experience inspired by the ocean. Sea Fever will tour the Cultural Coastal Trail Galleries, with performances at Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery on March 4th, Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion on March 8th, and Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery on March 10th. See seafevertour.com for more. It will be followed by Aulanko, an exploration of Sibelius’s 5th Symphony, at Eastbourne’s new Birley Centre in June. Classical Music. But not as you know it.

The ACO specialises in gripping performance and mind-opening presentation. Its mantra is to make classical music more social, meaningful and dramatic, without losing any of its depth or sincerity. They work with mixologists to invent cocktails inspired by the music, served during concerts. They host pre-concert ‘warm up acts’ and post-concert ‘chamber jams’. They also give ‘live programme notes’ where the orchestra tells the story of the music from the stage. They shun concert halls, preferring clubs, galleries, and urban spaces. The orchestra’s main performances are of Masterpieces in Miniature – large orchestral works reduced for chamber ensembles of 16-20. ‘They allow us to take music out of large, impersonal concert halls and into more intimate, modern settings’ says ACO Director of Collaboration Eddy Hackett. ‘They also reveal fascinating details in the music that get missed in the full versions’. In Sea Fever, the orchestra will perform world premieres of Britten’s Sea Interludes and Debussy’s La Mer ‘in miniature’.

The ACO has recorded for Classic FM, worked with leading soloists like Benjamin Grosvenor and Jennifer Pike, and collaborated with artists ranging from video DJs to dancers. The group’s players are the most indemand young artists in the country. They come from major orchestras, like the Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony, and leading chamber music groups. In 2016, the orchestra enjoyed its second 100% sell-out season in a row, won praise from the critics of the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, and saw the average age of its listeners fall 10 years below leading statistics. For more, visit www.theaco.co.uk. Building a permanent home in the South East Sea Fever is funded by the Arts Council and aims to build the foundations for a permanent, year-round ACO series in the region. This series will give local artists in many genres opportunities to collaborate with the orchestra, creating a new culture of innovation and cross-arts collaboration throughout the region. In time, it will redefine iconic local landmarks as surprising live music venues.

The orchestra will also bring its education programme to the area. As part of Aulanko, the ACO will run a two-day composition workshop for 150 children – from Grade 8 students to untrained first-timers. They will come from schools in Eastbourne Schools Partnership and the Jerwood Gallery’s Learning Programme. Artistic Director, William Kunhardt – a homegrown talent. The tour is the brainchild of Artistic Director William Kunhardt. Kunhardt grew up and went to school in Eastbourne, winning a music scholarship to Eastbourne College. At 18, he left for London to study violin at the Royal College of Music, quickly transitioning into conducting. In 2014, Kunhardt won the James Conlon Prize at Aspen Festival, Colorado, launching his career internationally. Since then, he has gone on to work with orchestras in Asia, America, and Europe and with soloists like Benjamin Grosvenor and Sarah Chang. However, his passion remains the Arensky Chamber Orchestra, the group he founded as a student in 2009.


1 June to 30 July 2017

For the first time in its history, this summer Garsington Opera will present four productions as well as a large community opera.  2017 also sees the arrival of the Philharmonia Orchestra for one opera production each season for the next five years. This year the festival offers Handel’s seductive masterpiece Semele, Debussy’s enigmatic Pelléas et Mélisande, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and will conclude with Silver Birch, a large-scale work for a professional cast with local community participants of all ages, commissioned by Garsington Opera, from leading British composer Roxanna Panufnik and librettist Jessica Duchen. The JLT Group is the season’s sponsor for the fourth consecutive year.   As part of the Garsington Opera for All programme, funded by Arts Council England and run in partnership with Magna Vitae, Semele will also be screened free of charge in Skegness, Ramsgate, Burnham-on-Sea and Grimsby

Semele is a love story in which the god Jupiter is captivated by the beauty of the all-too-human Semele; these dramatic and colourful mythological characters inspired Handel’s most memorably beautiful arias. The title role will mark the British debut of American sopranoHeidi Stober, an established favourite at some of the world’s most important opera houses, including San Francisco Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna Staatsoper  and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.  Singing the pivotal role of Jupiter is Robert Murray with Christine Rice singing his spurned wife Juno. They are joined by Jurgita Adamonyt? (Ino), David Soar (Cadmus & Somnus), South African countertenor Christopher Ainslie (Athamas) and Leonard Ingrams Foundation Award winner Llio Evans (Iris).  Leading early music specialist Jonathan Cohen will conduct the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus and Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Norwegian National Opera will direct, in collaboration with designer Nicky Shaw.


Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy’s only opera, and often considered to be one of the most original in the history of music,  is full of shimmering beauty creating a work of intense hypnotic allure. It will feature established French bass-baritone Paul Gay (Golaud) and two rising stars taking the title roles – Jonathan McGovern (Pelléas) and American soprano Andrea Carroll (Mélisande) making her British debut, with Brian Bannatyne-Scott (Arkel) and Susan Bickley (Geneviève). Jac van Steen returns (Strauss Intermezzo 2015) to conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in its first year of partnership with Garsington Opera. Michael Boyd (director) together with Tom Piper(designer) return following their acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin last season.


Il turco in Italia will be a revival of Garsington Opera’s joyous 2011 production directed by Martin Duncan with designs by Francis O’Connor. Three members of the original cast return – Mark Stone as the poet Prosdocimo,  Quirijn de Lang as the dashing Turk Selim, and Geoffrey Dolton as the devoted but dull husband Geronio. They are joined by renowned British soprano Sarah Tynan as the dazzling and flirtatious Fiorilla and rising star Katie Bray as Zaida.  Italian tenor Luciano Botelho returns as the love-lorn Narciso. Rossini doyen  David Parry will conduct the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this glittering musical score.


John Cox’s legendary production of Le nozze di Figarofirst seen at Garsington Manor in 2005will be recreated for the opera pavilion at Wormsley.  Written at the height of his genius, this is one of Mozart’s finest works. Australian born Joshua Bloom (Leporello, Don Giovanni, 2012) returns to sing the title role with the exciting soprano Jennifer France (Leonard Ingrams Award winner) as Susanna. The Canadian singer Kirsten MacKinnon will make her UK debut as the Countess with Duncan Rock as the Count and Marta Fontanals-Simmons as Cherubino. Stephen Richardson (Bartolo), Janis Kelly (Marcellina), and Timothy Robinson (Basilio) join the vibrant young cast.  Douglas Boyd will again conduct this highly acclaimed production with the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus.  In June the principals and chorus of Garsington Opera will travel to  the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris to give a semi-staged concert performance of Figaro with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris conducted by its Music Director Douglas Boyd.


Roxanna Panufnik’s Silver Birch is a commission for Garsington Opera’s Learning & Participation programme with Jessica Duchen as librettist. The production will see over 180 community participants aged 8-80, including recruits from the local military community, performing as dancers, singers, actors, instrumentalists, as well as student Foley artists from Cressex Community School under the guidance of Pinewood Studios Sound Designer Glen Gathard.  They will perform alongside favourite Garsington professionals in the cast and orchestra. The story explores the extraordinary power of love within the devastating context of war and makes use of Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry from WW1 (some of which was written while staying at Garsington Manor). The creative team is Karen Gillingham director, Rhiannon Newman Brown designer, and Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director Douglas Boyd joins them to conduct.  The professional roles will be performed bySam Furness (Jack), Victoria Simmonds (Anna), Darren Jeffery (Simon), Bradley Travis (Sassoon), Sarah Redgwick (Mrs Morrell) andJames Way (Davey) and the Garsington Opera Orchestra will be playing.

ENO: The Winter’s Tale

Rory Kinnear makes directorial debut with the world premiere of The Winter’s Tale, the first opera by composer Ryan Wigglesworth

Opens Monday 27 February at 7.30pm at London Coliseum (5 performances)

ENO will present the world premiere of Composer-in-Residence Ryan Wigglesworth’s first opera The Winter’s Tale this spring, directed by acclaimed Shakespearean actor Rory Kinnear in his directorial debut. One of the most anticipated arts events of 2017, this will be a major operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s late masterpiece.

The world premiere is the latest in a series of ENO commissions by British composers of operas in English, which includes Tansy Davies’s Between Worlds and Julian Anderson’s Thebans. Both won British Composer Awards for their work. With a top-flight cast of British singers including returning ENO favourites Iain Paterson as Leontes and Sophie Bevan as Hermione, it is sure to be a significant event for British opera.

Rory Kinnear has a long history of performing Shakespeare on the stage, having recently played Iago (for which he won the 2014 Olivier award for Best Actor) and Hamlet at the National Theatre. He now  takes the director’s seat for the very first time. An opera enthusiast and an accomplished singer himself, he played Macheath in last year’s National Theatre production of The Threepenny Opera. He is best known to wider audiences for his role as M’s chief of staff, Bill Tanner, in the three most recent James Bond films and for television roles in Black Mirror, Penny Dreadful and more.

Commenting on his directorial debut with ENO he said ‘Opera has become a big passion of mine over the last seven or eight years. ENO is the right place to do a commission from a great, young English composer and also an opera of a Shakespeare play. This feels the right kind of piece ENO should be doing’.

Ryan Wigglesworth has established himself as one of the foremost conductor-composers of his generation. Augenlieder, an orchestral song cycle for soprano Claire Booth, received the vocal prize at the 2010 British Composer Awards.

Ryan has written the roles specifically for the voices of the singers, making this line-up particularly significant – he says he ‘couldn’t imagine a greater British cast’. Many of these are figures who have been nurtured at ENO: Iain Paterson as Leontes has been a stalwart of Wagner productions here, with his role debut Hans Sachs in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning The Mastersingers of Nurembergdescribed as ‘towering’ (Bachtrack) and ‘quite beautiful’ (The Telegraph). He is a graduate of the ENO Young Singers Programme.

Soprano Sophie Bevan, who is appearing as Hermione, is among the finest young singers of her generation, receiving the Young Singer award at the 2013 International Opera Awards, the 2010 Critics’ Circle award for Exceptional Young Talent and The TimesBreakthrough Award at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards. An alumna of the ENO Harewood Artist programme, she makes a welcome return.

The Winter’s Tale opens on Monday 72 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 5 performances – 27 February, 3, 8, 10, 14 March at 7.30pm.

500 tickets for £20 or less are available for each performance. Tickets start from £12. www.eno.org

Pre-performance talk:  Wednesday 8 March 2017  5.15-6pm, £5/£2.50 concs.


Marcio da Silva

A new, fully professional, orchestra? In Hastings? The idea might seem insane in this time of austerity but that would be to ignore the enthusiasm and expertise which Marcio da Silva has brought to Hastings over the last few years. Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra will be the first professional orchestra resident in Hastings for over half a century and his belief in the viability of the project was very evident when we met up just before Christmas.

marcio da silva

‘It’s the next step for the choir’, he said. ‘Over the last few years, since I was invited to become Music Director for Hastings Philharmonic Choir, we have been working hard to improve the quality of the choir and the professionalism of the music-making. Now I feel we are right to expand upon this. I felt drawn to Hastings as it has so many people involved in the arts, and particularly in music – there are so many choirs! – and yet there is no regular music programme here – nothing is co-ordinated. So that is what we are planning to do. Our first full season will have ten concerts ranging from chamber music to full orchestral and choral evenings.  I’m pleased that we have been offered a residency at St Mary in the Castle which will give us a permanent base and we can look to ensuring the right conditions are regularly available so that we don’t have to move staging every-time we hold an event.’

Hastings Philharmonic was launched last November with a concert in the White Rock Theatre. The venue – as the White Rock Pavilion – had been the home of Hastings Municipal Orchestra before the second World War, and so it seemed fitting to launch the new venture where the original had been so successful. Marcio da Silva is certainly not averse to taking risks and the opening concert for the first full season included a new work by Philip O’Meara and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. The evening easily demonstrated the quality of the musicians he has gathered to form the basis of the ensemble. Many come from outside of Hastings but Marcio is keen to involve professional players who live closer to the town. In particular the number of strings will need to increase as large romantic works are contemplated.

‘I don’t want to chase musicians. I’d be happy to have players who live close to us but I want to ensure they are of the same professional standard as the rest of the players. We need to ensure we are providing high quality playing all the time. We need to ensure people know that they will get the best when they attend any of our published events. Happily those involved so far have a real sense of the adventure we are undertaking and are really committed. As part of our publicity we did a flash-mob performance of part of the Beethoven, and are looking for similar ways to promote ourselves in Hastings. Some events will be streamed to attract a wider audience, and there will be a new inter-active web-site to keep supporters in regular touch with him and plans as they evolve.

Alongside the choir and orchestra, Marcio runs Opera Academies which have been the basis of many of his staged performances. Here he works with young professional singers and brings them to a wider international audience.


Born in Brazil, Marcio da Silva studied singing and graduated from the Conservatoire de Toulouse, and received his Bachelor of Music Degree in orchestral conducting from the Musikhochschule Freiburg, followed by a master’s degree in conducting from the Royal College of Music. He has conducted the Pforzheimkammerorchester in Germany, Orchestra Sinfonica della Magna Grecia in Italy, Horizon Ensemble Bydgoszcz in Poland, Württembergische Philharmonie, Südwestdeutschephilharmonie Konstanz, and Stuttgartkammerorchester in Germany, Nord Tchechische Philarmonie in the Czech Republic,Orquestra Sinfonica de Minas Gerais in Brazil, Eski?ehir Metropolitan Orchestra and Çukurova Symphony Orchestra in Turkey, Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra during a Masterclass with Sir Colin Davis. He was one of the three finalists at the Princess Astrid Conducting Competition in Norway with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director of the Grange Choral Society, and Ensemble OrQuesta. As Music Director of Woodhouse Opera since 2012 Marcio has conducted and directed over 20 productions of operas ranging from less often performed works like Lully’s Armide to very popular works like Carmen, Magic Flute and La Boheme. His oratorio repertoire is large having conducted most of the main stream romantic and baroque oratorios. He is also a composer, with works including choral a capella pieces, art songs and a Te Deum for soloists, chorus and orchestra. He also sings extensively in chamber music and opera.


As his training and professional work indicates, he is a truly international musician who could easily work full-time anywhere in the world, but has chosen to focus on the South-East of England, intending to make Hastings a hub for a new and exciting approach to musical life.

‘Our first season, which started last November,  is very wide ranging. We opened with the Beethoven, but also with the new choral piece by Philip as I wanted to ensure we are supporting new music and new music-making.

As a total change, and following the traditional Christmas Concert, we have a Bossa Nova evening at The Tabernacle on 13 January. Then two weeks later we have an evening of Bach, Handel and Monteverdi at St Clements. So much variety within such a short time! In March we have a chamber recital, followed in April by Mozart’s Requiem in St Mary in the Castle. The really big challenge of the season comes in May when will perform Brahms’ Second Symphony, followed by a fully staged Don Giovanni at the start of June. But that’s not the end – there is a French chamber music recital and the Durufle Requiem in July before we break for the summer. Just a short break before the 2017-18 season begins – and we’ve big plans for that already, building on this first season.’

We finished our coffee and I left Marcio before he headed off for another rehearsal. If professionalism and enthusiasm are any indicators, Hastings is in for a renaissance and the ghosts of the Municipal Orchestra will be smiling.






BPO New Year’s Eve Gala Concert –


The festive season is upon us and thoughts inevitably turn to the rapidly approaching New Year – so what better way to see out the old and celebrate the new than in the company of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra at Brighton Dome with a traditional New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala.

Guest conductor Stephen Bell says: “What better way to end 2016 than with some suitably uplifting and joyous Viennese music? I am delighted to be joined by star soprano Rebecca Bottone – she and I have performed this repertoire many times – and she brings a clarity and delightful lightness of touch to these glorious melodies.”

There will be plenty of foot-tapping marches, polkas and waltzes by the Strauss family and their contemporaries. Stephen is particularly looking forward to “rarely heard gems like the vocal version of Sphärenklänge and the wonderful sound world Franz Lehár creates in his overture to The Land of Smiles.”

Soprano Rebecca Bottone has promised us lots of “sparkly top notes” on New Year’s Eve. She is a rising star in the opera world who has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras‚ and has appeared in TV documentaries The Genius of Beethoven and David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy as well as in Stephen Poliakoff’s acclaimed film Capturing Mary. Her ability to bring to life roles across the widest repertoire has met with considerable acclaim, and her baroque — and particularly Handelian — performances have received especial praise.

The Brighton Phil’s annual pilgrimage around the salons of 19th century Vienna, now in its 20th year, has become a well-established part of the festive season in the city and is generously supported by the John Carewe Brighton Orchestra Trust. You can view the full concert programme at: www.brightonphil.org.uk/concerts

Tickets are available from Brighton Dome Ticket Office starting from £12, with a 50% discount for students/Under 18s and £1 child tickets when accompanied by a full-price adult ticket holder. Call in to book over the counter, telephone (01273) 709709 or book online at: www.brightondome.org

Ticket-holders can park for just £6 (between 1-6pm) at NCP Church Street Car Park.

The Brighton Phil are offering a limited number of discounted season tickets for their four concerts at Brighton Dome in the New Year – see www.brightonphil.org.uk for details.

Jonathan Miller’s iconic ‘Mafia’ production of Rigoletto returns to ENO

Opens Thursday 2 February at 7.30pm at London Coliseum (13 performances)

Jonathan Miller’s highly acclaimed and enduringly popular production of Rigoletto returns to the London Coliseum for its 13th revival. First seen in 1982, this celebrated retelling of Verdi’s timeless story of jealousy, love and betrayal is played out against the backdrop of New York’s Little Italy in the 1950’s.


Based on Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse (The King has fun), Rigoletto is one of Verdi’s best-loved operatic masterpieces. Verdi’s score contains some of the most famous and memorable melodies in all opera with ‘La donna è mobile’ (‘Women Abandon Us’) being particularly well known. Its tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto’s beautiful daughter Gilda. The opera’s original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to the curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke with Rigoletto’s encouragement. The curse comes to fruition when Gilda likewise falls in love with the Duke with catastrophic consequences.

Over the last four decades Jonathan Miller’s much-loved productions have been at the heart of ENO’s work with over 1044 performances of his productions to date. The original creative team for Rigoletto comprises designers Patrick Robertson and Rosemary Vercoe, lighting designer Robert Bryan and choreographer Tommy Shaw. Richard Armstrong returns to ENO to conduct, following his performances of Madam Butterfly for the Company in May 2016.

Leading the cast in the title role is baritone Nicholas Pallesen. He last sung for the Company in David Alden’s production of The Queen of Spadesin 2015 where he was seen as a ‘dashing presence, both vocally and physically as Prince Yeletsky’ (Whatsonstage.com).   He also performed the role of Fieramosca in Terry Gilliam’s five star production of Benvenuto Cellini in 2014.

American tenor Joshua Guerrero makes his UK and ENO debut as the Duke of Mantua. A member of LA Opera’s Young Artist programme and an Operalia prize winner, he has performed numerous roles at LA Opera and with the LA Philharmonic as well as at Ravinia Festival, Chicago andTeatro de la Maestranza, Seville.

Sydney Mancasola makes her ENO debut as Gilda. A current member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt, she has also performed with Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Theatre of St Louis and Palm Beach Opera.

British mezzo soprano Madeleine Shaw returns to the role of Maddalena after acclaimed performances in 2009. A former ENO young singer, she last performed with ENO as Magdalene in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. She has recently performed as Wellgunde and Rossweisse in Opera North’s Ring Cycle.

Former ENO Harewood Artist Barnaby Rea makes his role debut as Sparafucile. He last appeared with the Company as Don Basilio in Jonathan Miller’s production of The Barber of Seville in 2015 and recently joined the solo ensemble at Oper Frankfurt. Other roles for ENO include Colline in La bohème, Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers and Lodovico in Otello.

Current ENO Harewood Artists Matthew Durkan and Andri Björn Róbertsson are Marullo and Ceprano respectively.  Completing the cast are Nicholas Folwell as Monterone and Anthony Flaum as Borsa.

Rigoletto opens on Thursday 2 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 9 performances – 2, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 28 February at 7.30pm and 4, 25 February at 6.30pm

500 tickets for £20 or less are available for each performance. Tickets start from £12. www.eno.org

Pre-performance talk:  Wednesday 15 February 2017  5.15-6pm, £5/£2.50 concs.

Opera Undressed performances of Rigoletto will take place on 8 and 15 February.

See www.eno.org/undressed for more information.

Aldeburgh Festival 2017: 9 – 25 June

The 70th Aldeburgh Festival takes place from 9 – 25 June 2017. One of the strands of programming will be a celebration of Snape Maltings and its 50th anniversary of the Concert Hall which opened in 1967.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The 2017 festival opens on Friday 9 June with a new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed and designed by Netia Jones. In 1967 seven years after its premiere, Britten chose his new opera to open the Snape Maltings Concert Hall which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017. Conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth the cast features internationally renowned singers including Iestyn Davies (Oberon), Sophie Bevan (Tytania), Clive Bayley (Theseus), Matthew Rose (Bottom) and Andrew Shore (Quince). Netia Jones returns to Aldeburgh to bring to life this captivating tale of lovers, rustics and fairies with four performances on 9, 11, 12 and 14 June.

Featured Composers

Olga Neuwirth and Jörg Widmann are two of the featured composers in the 2017 festival. Despite being born only five years apart in 1968 in Austria and 1973 in Germany respectively, they have chosen contrasting compositional directions. Neuwirth’s output remains influenced by the composer Luigi Nono’s radical politics and includes film and stage work, as well as much music which requires electro-acoustic treatment. Widmann has chosen to work more regularly with standard classical ensembles and instruments, although they both share an extraordinary imagination which produces music of great colour and playfulness. Highlights at the festival include Olga Neuwirth’s Maudite soit la guerre – A Film Music War Requiem. One of the first anti-war films in history, Maudite soit la Guerre, was made in 1914 shortly before the First World War. In 2013 Neuwirth wrote a score to the silent movie which will receive its UK premiere by the London Sinfonietta under the baton of Gerry Cornelius on 10 June. Widmann’s Viola Concerto also receives its UK premiere by the work’s dedicatee Antoine Tamestit with the CBSO and its new Music Director Mirga Gražinyt?-Tyla. Tamestit describes the work as, ‘a unique audience experience’ including inventive playing techniques such as the imitation of a sitar, percussive use of the viola’s body and the soloists having a theatrical role.

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Mirga Gražinyt?-Tyla

The CBSO’s newly appointed Music Director Mirga Gražinyt?-Tyla makes her Aldeburgh debut with two concerts. On 17 June, Gražinyt?-Tyla and the CBSO raise an anniversary toast to Snape Maltings with the overture Britten wrote for the concert hall’s opening night – The Building of the House. This is set alongside two Beethoven masterpieces: his Leonore Overture and Symphony No. 5 and the UK premiere of Widmann’s Viola Concerto. On 18 June Gražinyt?-Tyla and the CBSO perform Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

Snape Maltings – its past, present and future

There are ambitious plans for further development of the site over the next 5-10 years, including redeveloping further derelict maltings buildings in order to expand the creative campus and the organisation’s artist development, learning and inclusion programmes, which run throughout the year. The masterplan for the site development will be unveiled in June 2017 as the Concert Hall’s 50th anniversary is celebrated. The unifying of the site has begun and will now be known by the single name Snape Maltings with a new logo and brand inspired by reedbeds that extend from the site far into the Alde Estuary. The existing Aldeburgh Music and Snape Maltings websites have been replaced by a new, unified Snape Maltings website (www.snapemaltings.co.uk) which showcases all aspects of the site – its music and arts offering alongside its natural environment and shops.


Full programme to be announced on Wednesday 11 January

Priority booking will open from 11 January

General booking will open on 14 February


English National Opera – 2017 Highlights


02 Feb – 28 Feb 2017

A tragic story of jealousy, vengeance and sacrifice, Rigoletto is one of Verdi’s most popular operas. Jonathan Miller’s much-loved ‘Mafia’ production makes a welcome return to the ENO stage, relocating the action to New York’s Little Italy in the 1950s.

Verdi’s thrilling score will be conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong and features some of opera’s most immediately recognisable music, including ‘Women abandon us’ (‘La donna è mobile’). Leading the cast is Nicholas Pallesen in the title role, alongside lyric tenor Joshua Guerrero as The Duke and Sydney Mancasola as Rigoletto’s love-stricken daughter Gilda.

Rigoletto opens on Thursday 2 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 9 performances. Tickets are available at eno.org/020 7845 9300

The Pirates of Penzance 
09 Feb – 25 Mar 2017

A swashbuckling farce of brilliant humour and razor-sharp wit, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance is the perfect night out. The sparkling score is chock-full of memorable melodies, including the famous tongue-twisting Major-General’s Song and the cowardly Police Sergeant’s ‘When a felon’s not engaged in his employment’.

For the first revival of filmmaker Mike Leigh’s smash-hit production, ENO favourite Andrew Shore returns to sing the role of the Major General alongside John Tomlinson as the Sergeant of Police. ENO Harewood Artists David Webb and Soraya Mafi sing the roles of the young lovers, Frederic and Mabel, and Gareth Jones conducts.

The Pirates of Penzance opens on Thursday 9 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 16 performances. Tickets are available at eno.org/020 7845 9300

The Winter’s Tale 
27 Feb – 14 Mar 2017

A world premiere from ENO’s composer-in-residence Ryan Wigglesworth, The Winter‘s Tale is a compelling new interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale of love, loss and reconciliation.

This new work will be directed by Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear, who brings his considerable Shakespearean experience (as the National Theatre’s Hamlet and Iago) to the production in his directorial debut.

The highly acclaimed British cast includes three international singers whose careers were nurtured by ENO: Iain Paterson, Sophie Bevan and Leigh Melrose. They are joined by former ENO Harewood Artist Anthony Gregory and company favourite Susan Bickley. Ryan Wigglesworth conducts this world premiere performance of his first opera.

The Winters Tale opens on Thursday 27 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 5 performances. Tickets are available at eno.org/0207845 9300

15 Mar – 24 Mar 2017

Combining glittering arias and wonderful ensembles, Handel’s comic masterpiece follows the exploits of four rival suitors in pursuit of Partenope’s love.

Christopher Alden’s Olivier Award-winning production – with designs inspired by the Surrealist imagery of Man Ray and 1920s Paris – returns for its first revival.

Baroque-specialist Christian Curnyn conducts a world-class cast, including soprano Sarah Tynan, mezzo soprano Patricia Bardon, and tenor Robert Murray.

Partenope opens on Wednesday 15 March 2017 at 7.00pm for 5 performances. Tickets are available at eno.org/020 7845 9300

Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD – Performed at Hackney Empire 
09 Jun – 17 Jun 2017

Hackney Empire and English National Opera present the European Premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, a jazz-infused chamber ‘be-bopera’ by Daniel Schnyder with libretto by award winning African-American poet Bridgette A. Wimberly.

Lawrence Brownlee stars as the legendary saxophonist—a role crafted around the effortless, improvisational style that makes him one of music’s most sought after tenors.

This project is the first in a series of work planned in partnership with English National Opera, Hackney Empire and Opera Philadelphia, to engage with a diverse range of artists and audience members through opera.

Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD opens on Friday 9 June 2017 at 7.30pm for 5 performances. Tickets are available at eno.org/020 8985 2424