Lewes Festival of Song 2017 is in bloom this summer from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th July, at our venue in St. Anne’s Church, and tickets can be bought on our website www.lewesfestivalofsong.co.uk or via Lewes Tourist Information Centre, 01273 483448.
The Festival Pass is a snip at £60: all concerts are £15 except for Saturday lunchtime which is £12. Under 16s are half price.
We draw on the wonderful international talents of Lewes in a big way this year, with Lewes artists Sally Matthews, Finnur Bjarnason, Paul Austin Kelly, Carol Kelly and Susannah Waters all taking part. Another highlight is a visit from equally renowned tenor Paul Nilon.
First up is Banalités on Friday 7th evening at 7.30pm, with Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, Duparc and Fauré, performed with gallic charm by James Newby, Sophie Gallagher and Oliver Lallemant.
Among many accolades, James won the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2016 and the Richard Tauber prize for Lieder in 2015. Sophie takes a break from singing Emmie in Albert Herring in Buxton to join us: an award-winning soprano at RCM, she sang the role first for Firenze Maggio Musicale.Oliver is Director of Music at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square and a polymath musician.
The second concert is An English Garland on Saturday 8th at 1pm. Emma Stannard and Keval Shah perform fresh English songs to include Britten, Finzi, Quilter and Bridge, for a summer afternoon.
Emma makes a return visit to LFoS fresh from completing her Royal Academy opera course, where she won two major awards: she is singing Minerva in II ritorno d’Ulisse at the Grange Festival this summer. Keval and Emma won the Audrey Strange award in the 2016 Royal Overseas League competition. Keval won all the major music prizes at Cambridge university, and the Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize at the Royal Academy: he has performed at the Oxford and Leeds Lieder Festivals.
We travel to Scandinavia on Saturday evening at 7.30pm, unable to resist the trend towards Nordic Noir. Husband and wife team Sally Matthews and Finnur Bjarnason sing Scandinavian songs including Sibelius, Grieg, Rautavarra and Nielson.
Sally has sung major roles at all the main opera houses, given recitals at the most prestigious concert venues and sung with the world’s most acclaimed conductors. Icelandic-born tenor Finnur has a string of major roles to his name for Komisches Opera in Berlin, the Châtelet in Paris and the Staatsoper in Munich, to name but a few. He has made many recordings of songs by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Jón Leifs. A Lewes-based husband and wife team, they are accompanied by Nancy Cooley, Artistic Director of this festival: a winner of the Walther Grüner accompanist’s prize, she is an experienced song recitalist and chamber musician and coaches at the Royal College of Music.
The Sunday lunchtime recital at 1pm is Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin. This tender depiction of a young man’s journey artlessly honours the folk-simplicity of Müller’s poems in music of the deepest profundity and humanity. Richard Wigmore will be setting the scene and guiding us into the cycle in his introduction.
Paul Nilon is one of Europe’s leading lyric tenors. This season he sings Monteverdi’s Ulisse for The Grange Festival, Peter Grimes and Winterreise at Dartington, takes the title role in Death in Venice in Berlin and gives a recital with Nancy at the Buxton Festival. Richard is a writer, broadcaster and lecturer specialising in Romantic and Classical chamber music, and in Lieder.
The journeying theme continues, and the festival ends, on Sunday 9th July at 7.30pm, with Two tales, two turning points, featuring a staged performance by Susannah Waters of Janacek’s unique cycle Diary of One Who Disappeared, preceded by Mahler’s Four Songs of a Wayfaring Journeyman and some of Janacek’s piano miniatures, On an Overgrown Path. Paul Austin Kelly and Marcia Bellamy head up the casts, Carol Kelly and Yoko Ono accompany, Nancy Cooley performs the solos.
Since her debut at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin Marcia has sung in opera, oratorios and music theatre in the U.S., Canada and throughout Europe. Locally she sang in The Finnish prisoner by Orlando Gough, directed by Susannah. Yoko is much in demand across the world as a solo pianist and chamber musician, and teaches at the Royal College of Music. Paul has sung leading tenor roles in opera houses including La Scala, Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne. On the concert stage, his repertoire ranges from Britten to Berg. Lewes based, he and his wife Carol gave a recital for the Nicholas Yonge Society last year. Carol is a frequent recitalist and repetiteur with a prestigious background leading training programmes here and abroad. Susannah’s recent work includes Imago for Glyndebourne Opera, and Birtwistle’s Down by the Greenwood Side and Being Both for the Brighton Festival: the latter was also performed at the 2016 proms.