THE HOUSE OF LIFE – Opera Holland Park

Ahead of the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s birth in 2022, Opera Holland Park is releasing a performance of The House of Life. Leading British tenor David Butt Philip and the acclaimed pianist and accompanist James Baillieu were filmed for Opera Holland Park by Simon Wall at Leighton House Museum.

Contemporaneous with Vaughan Williams’s bracing Robert Louis Stevenson cycle, Songs of Travel, the song cycle The House of Life is an uninhibited and intimate celebration of mutual love. It draws together six of the most delicate, devoted and delirious sonnets by poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Love Sight, Silent Noon, Love’s Minstrels, Heart’s Haven, Death in Love and Love’s Last Gift.

James Clutton, Chief Executive and Director of Opera, says:
“David has graced the stage at Opera Holland Park many times, always with that dazzling voice and that golden talent. We had long been discussing ideas for possible recitals but when David suggested The House of Life, I wanted it to be the first in a new series of OHP recitals. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be there at the filming and hear the soaring music of Vaughan Williams, the alluring words of Rossetti and the partnership between David and James Baillieu, and to enjoy the experience of being transported away from 2021 to another time and place – a perfect place at that.”

The House of Life will be streamed via the company’s YouTube and Facebook channels at 7pm on Tuesday 13 April, with a suggested donation of £5. It will be available to watch on demand until 30 April.

Opera Holland Park would like to thank The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust for making this project possible.


It is good to be able to report this financial support from the Cultural Recovery Fund.
Ian Roberts, Managing Director of Hastings International Piano says “We are delighted that Hastings International Piano has been awarded a significant grant from the Government’s ‘Cultural Recovery Fund’ .

“We are determined to continue to produce our much-needed programme of learning and engagement and our world-class audience experiences in the town and I am grateful to my team, our trustees and our many friends and patrons who have continued to loyally support us during the pandemic. Hasting International Piano is also extremely grateful to Arts Council England, DCMS, Kowitz Family Foundation, MP Sally-Ann Hart and Hastings Borough Council for their ongoing support of our organisation”.

Hastings International Piano will present a new programme of concerts and educational events throughout 2021 and the next edition of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition will take place in 2022. Hastings International Piano Festival will return in 2023.

For further information please visit


London Mozart Players perform the world premiere of Polo Piatti’s multi-faith oratorio Libera Nos

Saturday 13 June 2020, 7pm


  • The very first multi-faith oratorio to be premiered anywhere in the world 
  • Inspired by five major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam 
  • ‘Libera Nos’ is the final concert in the London Mozart Players 2019/20 residency in Hastings 
  • The work took over three years to be researched and completed 
  • Written for five soloists, a mixed choir, a children’s choir and a full symphony orchestra  
  • Performers include London Mozart Players, Hastings Sinfonia, Libera Nos Chorus & Hastings Music Centre Junior Choir.

After a sell-out concert at St Mary in the Castle in February, the London Mozart Players return to Opus Theatre for the final concert of their year-long residency in Hastings to perform the world premiere of Polo Piatti’s long-awaited Libera Nos at 7pm on Saturday 13th June.  

Community, education and outreach lies at the heart of the London Mozart Players’ #LMPbytheSea residency, and this performance is no different. Bringing together an array of local talent and musicians from this world-class orchestra, Libera Nos is an inclusive performance that celebrates the power of music to unite communities across the globe. Scored for five soloists, a mixed choir, a children’s choir and a full symphony orchestra, this is the very first multi-faith oratorio to be premiered anywhere in the world.  

At the helm, Derek Carden will conduct the London Mozart Players, who will be joined by 100 musicians and singers from local orchestra Hastings Sinfonia, Hastings Music Centre Junior Choir, a new specially-formed choir – the ‘Libera Nos Chorus’, and an all-star cast of talented local soloists that include: Sharon Gamble-Tyner, Linda Grace, Matthew Scott Clark and Stephen Holloway. In preparation for the performance, the choirs involved will be coached in a workshop with renowned conductor and choral animateur Dominic Ellis-Peckham. 

Libera Nos, meaning ‘’Deliver us” in Latin, aims to convey and unite the traditional beliefs and spiritual messages of all main world religions using music and narrations inspired by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Written by the award-winning local composer Polo Piatti, Libera Nos was originally commissioned by the Musica Sacra organisation and took over three years to be researched and completed. Polo talks about the story behind this monumental work:  

‘Its message is based upon the observation that the world has become a deeply divisive, unjust and unhappy place because we continue disconnecting from each other. Only by looking for common ground and universal similarities we will find understanding and enjoy a better life for all of us on this fragile planet.’ 

Art Inspired by Science & Nature comes to Brighton Festival

A walk in a magical forest and an immersive installation inspired by the Large Hadron Collider will transport Brighton Festival audiences into other worlds this May.

Fabrica gallery in central Brighton will be transformed into a ‘fairytale installation’ by internationally renowned contemporary artist, Olafur Eliasson from 18 May to 20 June. The Forked Forest Path is one of Fabrica’s most immersive and memorable exhibitions to date, as the gallery celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Visitors will be immersed in a space filled with branches, saplings and thinnings, combined with a strong, earthy smell reminiscent of a forest floor. Each element works together to create the illusion of being lost in a dense wood. The artist is known for creating large-scale exhibitions that connect with the natural world to highlight issues such as climate change, including his epic recreation of the sun in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in 2003. The Forked Forest Path is part of the Towner Collection on loan to Fabrica from Towner Eastbourne.

Set to arrive with a Big Bang, an art installation inspired by scientific research into the fundamental make-up of matter will open at the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts (ACCA) in Falmer. Created by Brighton-based artist duo Semiconductor, HALO is a multisensory experience of matter formation in the early universe generated through projections and sound played out upon hundreds of vertical piano strings. Audiences enter an intricate mechanical structure operated by data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN which recreates the conditions shortly after the Big Bang.

The artwork follows Semiconductor’s residency at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, in Geneva, and was made with the help of physicists from the University of Sussex.

HALO at Brighton Festival is supported by Arts Council England, and co-produced by Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.

HALO is an Audemars Piguet Art Commission, curated by Mónica Bello and first presented in the context of Art Basel in Basel in 2018. In collaboration with CERN.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Festival commented:

“As Brighton Festival returns for 2021, we are delighted to partner with Fabrica and ACCA to bring these outstanding art works for audiences to enjoy for free this May. Both installations tell very different stories and offer us experiences to connect with the natural world, something we have all been craving over the last year of lockdown.”

Both venues are free admission and will be operating social distancing measures for visitors to enjoy the work safely and comfortably.

Brighton Festival begins on 1 May 2021, the programme will launch on 30 March at

Hastings International Piano Announces The Celebration Series

Hastings International Piano Announces

 The Celebration Series
An Exciting New Concert Series Celebrating New Talent in a New Year

Hastings International Piano is delighted to announce an exciting new concert series to celebrate the new-year, performed by prizewinning pianists from around the globe, who are all now rising stars in the classical music world.

As we look forward to the 2021 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition taking place in Hastings in June, we are reminded of the unprecedented times we live in and how music has continued to be a force for good throughout the past year.

The Celebration Concert Series is a monthly online concert featuring a former Hastings prizewinner and will be streamed at 7pm on the second Tuesday of each month, with the performances from the UK and around the world.

Tickets cost £5 and your purchase will help support our charity’s work.

Brighton Dome Trials Artist Support Scheme


Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival (BDBF) has launched a financial support scheme for local artists to help develop their creative work and provide their input into the organisation’s future plans.

Artists In House will initially select three artists to help trial and develop the scheme from the new year. Each artist will receive £10,000 to support their artistic work as well as give their time as freelance artists to bring their voices directly to BDBF’s programming, artistic decision making and strategic direction in an ever-changing environment, as well as mentoring and advising other artists.

The coronavirus crisis has created unprecedented challenges for artists, performers and freelance creatives across the city. Feedback from the sector has revealed that immediate help is needed such as financial support; networking opportunities with peers; sharing resources, as well as long term opportunities to create work for digital audiences. Through engaging in conversations with local networks and participating in the national Freelance Taskforce, BDBF is contributing to the Cultural Recovery Action Plan for Brighton & Hove.

BDBF commissions and supports both emerging and established artists and companies, enabling them to develop, take risks and deliver work of the highest quality across theatre, circus, dance, spoken word, music, digital/media and multi-art forms.

Kyla Booth-Lucking, BDBF Director of Programming and Participation said:

“We want this scheme to support and nurture local artists during these uncertain times, but we also want to gain valuable insights from the artists themselves. Alongside our other support for artists through the Open Venues scheme and Creative Catch-ups, this will help us to grow and to effectively support the community of artists who live and work in the local area. As we look to the future re-opening of our Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre spaces, this collaborative way of working will be vital to producing, encouraging and developing new artistic work here in the city.” 

Applications are invited from artists based within Brighton & Hove and wider BN postcode areas, particularly from diverse candidates who are under-represented in the current workforce and programming. The deadline for the first round of applications is 8 January 2021 and BDBF is hosting online advice sessions for artists who have questions or need more information before applying..

Full details are on Brighton Dome’s website:






Music at Holy Child presents:

A special double-bill featuring a celebration of music by Corelli, Vivaldi, and Bach performed by an ensemble of the finest string players and led by violin virtuoso Max Baillie. This will be followed by St Leonards’ top jazzers playing Gypsy Jazz classics, featuring clarinet legend Ewan Bleach. There’ll be a bar serving mulled wine and mince pies.

Please join us for a festive evening of music to re-open the stunning Church of the Holy Child in St Leonard’s! You’ll find details below– hope to see you there!‘  – Max Baillie violin

*** This is a socially-distanced event with precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy***

Saturday 19th December

Concert 1: 7pm – 8pm Bach and Beyond: Baroque Celebration!

Corelli Christmas Concerto (Max Baille & Jane Gordon, violin solos)
Bach E major violin Concerto (Max Baillie, solo)
Vivaldi concerto for strings in G minor
and a surprise item!

Featuring Max Baillie / Annie Beilby / Naomi Burrell / Rachel Dawson / Dominka Feher / Jane Gordon / Kate Robinson / Gavin Kibble / Ciaran McCabe / Darius Thompson

Concert 2: 8:30pm – 10pm St Leonard’s All Stars Jazz

St Leonard’s All Stars Jazz 8:30pm – 10pm
Gypsy Jazz favourites to make you swing in your socially distanced chairs!
Sweet Georgia Brown, All of Me, Minor Swing… and many more….
Featuring Ewan Bleach / Josephine Davies / Ben Somers / Benoit Viellefon
Ewan Bleach – clarinet / saxophone


Tickets can be purchased for a single part or the whole evening’s music. There will be a bar offering mulled wine and mince pies.

Concert 1: Baroque Celebration £8 / £5 concessions

Concert 2: Jazz All Stars £8 / £5 concessions

Full evening ticket: £15/(£10 concessions)

Facebook Event details with photos and pre-concert news.

Pre-booking strongly recommended. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite commission fees please contact us directly for an alternative way to pre-pay.

contact Max Baillie [email protected] or Jane Gordon [email protected]


Hastings Contemporary Gallery Presents Two Spectacular New Exhibitions

Two hugely anticipated exhibitions

Lakwena Mciver’s Homeplace 

Stephen Chambers’ The Court of Redonda 

will mark the re-opening of Hastings Contemporary after

the UK’s latest national lockdown.

Lakwena Maciver, one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary black artists creates painted prayers and meditations, which respond to and re-appropriate elements of popular culture. Central to her practice are words, used as both images and anchors of meaning.

Exploring the role of the artist as myth-maker, with their use of acid-bright colour and bold typographic text, her paintings act as a means of decolonisation, subtly subverting prevailing mythologies. The approach is instinctive and autodidactic, producing visceral, rhythmic and immersive panel paintings, iconic murals and installations.

Lakwena’s most recent body of work exhibited for the first time at Hastings Contemporary focuses on the interplay between her practices as both artist and mother of two young sons. Responding to feminist author bell hooks’ essay Homeplace (a site of resistance), and in the tradition of African women across the diaspora, Lakwena has been painting the walls of her home to create a space of affirmation, empowerment and resistance upon which will sit her panel paintings.

Challenging both the external and the internalised voice of mass media, Lakwena has created works in the public realm internationally, from installations at Tate Britain, Somerset House, Facebook and the Southbank Centre in London, to a juvenile detention centre in Arkansas, a monastery in Vienna, and the Bowery Wall in New York City.

Lakwena says “What’s this exhibition about? Well it’s about me ‘singing over’ my home, my family, my community. I’m an artist and a mother, and I guess I’m looking at where those two roles cross over. My art is concerned with mythologies; things we hold to be true and I want to tell the truth to my kids. These are words of affirmation, words that will encourage, warn and inspire. I know that they go out into the big wide world and I can’t control what happens out there. They’ll hear things and be influenced by things that I have no control over. But I can ensure that in my home I am sending them clear messages about who they are, their value, their worth, what to do in times of need, where to go to for help, what to set their hearts on, what is important. So that’s what these paintings are about. My intention is to create a safe space for them. As these paintings and images of them travel, literally and virtually, my hope is that they might act as sparks to encourage others to define spaces of safety, and also as signs to point people to places of safety”.

First shown at The Venice Biennale in 2017, Stephen Chambers’ The Court of Redonda depicts a cast of 101 imaginary courtiers inspired by a literary legend that developed around the tiny uninhabited Caribbean island of Redonda. This legend took shape as a fantasy in the mind of Matthew Dowdy Sheill, a merchant trader who claimed the island in 1865 and gave himself the title of King. The title passed down to his son, who decided that it should be given to poets and novelists as a form of literary honour. The celebrated novelist Javier Marías was a recent sovereign and his appointment of courtiers, including film director Pedro Almodóvar and novelists AS Byatt and Ian McEwan, inspired Chambers to create his own imaginary court of Redondans: not just poets, philosophers, artists and writers, but also patients, pharmacists, harlots and “bums”.

Chambers explains: ‘It’s a construct, – an idea that I was intrigued with. I wrote to Javier Marías, and in that correspondence, I suggested that I would paint portraits of the court. The paintings are not portraits from life, and they’re not depictions of real people, -they are invented. I wanted to present a wide range of motley ne’er-do-wells and in a way celebrate their ordinariness. There is that line that I kick around my head which goes ‘the ordinary is more extraordinary than the extraordinary’’.

The Court of Redonda is joined in this exhibition by other series of works by Chambers exploring histories, both real and imagined.

Stephen Chambers RA is one of the UK’s most revered artists, having exhibited widely around the globe, with more than 40 solo presentations including the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2012 and at the Pera Museum, Istanbul in 2014. Chambers contemporary dance collaborations at The Royal Ballet, London with Ashley Page and Orlando Gough include Sleeping with Audrey (1996), Room of Cooks (1997,1999), and This House will Burn (2001)

Chambers work is held in many international collections including Arts Council England, Deutsche Bank, London, Downing College, Cambridge (at which he was the Kettle’s Yard/Downing College Fellow and later elected an Honorary Fellow), UK Government Art Collection, London, Metropolitan Museum, New York and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Liz Gilmore Director of Hastings Contemporary says “Hastings Contemporary Gallery finishes this extraordinary year with two hugely exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions by two internationally significant artists: Lakwena and Stephen Chambers. Responding directly and positively to the challenges of our time Lakwena’s vibrant two-room exhibition will challenge and delight. Chambers’ stunning series of works take the viewer on an imaginative journey where we can reflect and learn on our own world order. Both exhibitions remind us of the vital role artists play as storytellers and mythmakers.

Covid-19 has challenged the resilience of the cultural sector.  The trustees and I are very proud of the prodigious efforts of our small team delivering such meticulous installations at this challenging time. We would like to thank the exhibiting artists Lakwena and Stephen for their incredible openness and agility in responding to the changing brief and for their thoughtful and imaginative use of the gallery spaces. Visitors will be able to enjoy these exhibitions alongside the prophetic exhibition by Sir Quentin Blake ‘We Live in Worrying Times’. None of this would have been possible without the generosity and support of many incredible individuals and organisations who have supported us at this time.”

Hasting Contemporary Team overcame the logistical barriers that the pandemic created for galleries and museums across the world, enhanced by the investment from Hastings Borough Council, ACE and DCMS’ recovery funds. The team presented a series of stunning exhibitions throughout the year, while also trailblazing robotic technology to help combat social isolation and ensure they reached the widest possible audience. The year will culminate with these two dazzling shows opening in December.

Hastings Contemporary is planning a calendar of exciting new projects though out 2021, and will continue to curate world-class exhibitions and shows for all our audiences both on-line via our robot tours and in our much loved gallery, as and when it is allowed to open.

Advent Crown – an upcoming livestream presentation of Christmas music and conversation with overseas guest performers

The Worthing-based International Interview Concerts (IICs) are well-placed to find out and showcase their discoveries in their ‘Advent Crown’ show on Sunday December 6 at 6pm. It will be a livestreaming on their new YouTube channel, linking to the homes of some of their associated professional musicians from other countries.

Relaxed conversations between their own performances of carols or related music will enable us to share what their own Christmases look and sound like, as well as what they enjoy of the universal features and sounds of the season. And learn what they most look forward to. Viewers can ask questions online, on the day.

These featured Advent Crown guests are from 4 overseas nations – one of them, Mexican, living in a fifth. To maintain the element of surprise, their identities are under wraps until the show.

These 7 musicians will bring their own national carols or pieces, and they’ll perform others of universal familiarity, amounting to music from 9 countries. Of the two best-loved English settings of In The Bleak Midwinter, one is by The Planets’ composer, Gustav Holst. Now, Advent Crown, one guest will unfold something else Christmassy by him few Brits know.

Whatever the chats uncover, at least one startling revelation is guaranteed. One carol will tell us how English-speaking nations have been rather sniffy about what they deemed suitable Christmas carol material. No giveaways now, except that it’s about imagery, and it’s been run by at least one celebrity singer past millions of English-speakers who never knew . . .

In non pandemic-tormented times, these IICs guest musicians earn their living on classical instruments or their voice, but they are all-round musical people. Here they will be presenting Christmas music they have jumped at the chance to perform, and are relishing it. So expect some familiar Christmas music in new clothing.

The International Interview Concerts are running a 12-point countdown to Advent Crown on their Facebook page, with engaging text, pictures and music links.

There is a ‘gofundme’ page for voluntary contributing towards the Advent Crown’s performing musicians and the charity’s continued work in schools and public. You will find it at –



Garsington Opera’s 2019 production of Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw has won the Opera and Music Theatre section of the 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.

The jury’s citation read: ‘This spine-tingling, stylish production was a class act. It was perfectly conceived for its setting as twilight fell, and showcased a gratifyingly inclusive cast and crew, all delivering at the very highest level.’

The award was open to all opera activities taking place in the 2019 season in the UK and the winner was chosen by a panel of specialists. The cast reacts to the news of the award in this video here:

Douglas Boyd, Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director, said: “All of us at Garsington Opera are so proud of this production, and we’re over the moon that we’ve won this award. In this year when we must celebrate the performing arts more than ever, we’d like to dedicate this award to everyone who works in the amazing world of opera. We’re all winners.” A highlight of the 2019 Season, this production of Britten’s masterpiece was acclaimed by 5-star reviews in the press and a hugely enthusiastic audience response.

It featured a starry British cast and was enhanced by stand-out debut performances by the children playing Miles and Flora – among the most challenging juvenile roles in the whole operatic canon. Cast and creative team:

Prologue/Quint Ed Lyon,
Governess Sophie Bevan
Flora Adrianna Forbes-Dorant / Elen Willmer,
Miles Leo Jemison
Mrs Grose Kathleen Wilkinson,
Miss Jessel Katherine Broderick
Conductor Richard Farnes,
Director Louisa Muller
Designer Christopher Oram,
Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth
Garsington Opera Orchestra

A filmed version of a live performance was shown on BBC iPlayer in the summer and can be seen on our YouTube channel until 19 December. Click here to watch the opera Garsington Opera is also delighted to announce that Louisa Muller’s award-winning production will be revived in 2022 (cast and full creative team to be announced).