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Issue 4 – Winter 2018 www.askonasholt.co.uk

Dame Flott Preparing for the NT's Follies COLLABORATION FOCUS

Handel's Messiah Frederic Wake-Walker introduces his production for DSO Berlin

Iain Burnside Exploring his Russian song series

Nuno Coelho Collaborating in Lisbon & LA

PLUS

Kristina Mkhitaryan · il pomo d’oro · Jennifer Davis · Daniel Lebhardt


The Green Room

Contact us

Guest editor Nathan Morrison

thegreenroom@askonasholt.co.uk

Contributors Iain Burnside, Helen Cocks, Charlotte Gardner, Sarah Lambie & Andrew Mellor Design & editing Frances Innes-Hopkins Printed by Hill & Garwood Printing Limited Moor Park Industrial Centre Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 9ET

The Green Room Askonas Holt 15 Fetter Lane London EC4A 1BW

Read online The Green Room is available as a free digital publication at www.askonasholt.co.uk/magazine. Should you wish to receive a printed copy, please email us at the address above.

Cover photograph Dame Felicity Lott © Trevor Leighton

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EDITOR’S WELCOME

Welcome From the staging of grand opera and the organisation of international orchestra tours, to intimate chamber concerts and song recitals, the essence of artistic endeavour is centred around the idea of collaboration.

NATHAN MORRISON assistant artist manager

From Belfast, Nathan studied Music at Queen’s University and subsequently trained as an opera singer in Dublin and London. As a singer, Nathan was a member of various Young Artist Programmes, before moving to a career in artist management and joining Askonas Holt in 2017.

Collaboration is a creative process which brings together people of differing perspectives and areas of expertise, in turn transcending the romantic idea of the ‘lone artist’ to produce something which is more than the sum of its parts: the magic of live performance. Collaboration can not only be used as a means to preserve tradition but can be the driving force behind experimentation and innovation, harnessed in a way to challenge and inspire audiences to think anew. In this issue, British director Frederic Wake-Walker tells us about the vision for his staging of Handel's Messiah with the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, creating drama from the dynamic between the performers rather than through a narrative (p. 23). Moving from the large concert hall to the more intimate, the thread of collaboration continues as Iain Burnside writes about his Russian song series at Wigmore Hall; telling us how it came about, what attracts him to the repertoire, and even what Russian song and Ferraris have in common! (p. 14) This issue's cover artist Dame Felicity Lott will make her first foray into musical theatre next year, joining the revival of the National Theatre’s Olivier Awardwinning production of Follies. Flott tells us how she’s feeling about working with the theatre (p. 16). We speak with several young artists with bright futures ahead: the soprano Jennifer Davis (p. 27), pianist Daniel Lebhardt (p.20) and conductor Nuno Coelho (p. 10). Plus, we shine a light on Kristina Mkhitaryan, the young Russian soprano who has had a whirlwind year and a half (p. 9). It is always a great pleasure to begin a new management relationship with an artist; getting to know them and working with them, helping them to achieve their goals. In recent months, we have welcomed sopranos Jennifer Davis and Gabriella Reyes, and pianists Daniel Lebhardt and Eric Lu, as well as strengthening our relationship with celebrated tenor Marcelo Álvarez. Read more about each in our latest news (p. 6). Finally, we couldn't complete our collaboration focus without a nod to our touring partner il pomo d'oro, "a model of sensitive collaboration" (p. 13).

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CONTENTS

IN THIS ISSUE 3 EDITOR’S WELCOME 6 NEWS Karina Canellakis, Joyce DiDonato, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jennifer Davis, Daniel Lebhardt, Eric Lu & Gabriella Reyes 8 SPOTLIGHT ON... Kristina Mkhitaryan: the young Russian soprano making debut after debut 10 FOCUS INTERVIEW Conductor Nuno Coelho talks about working with the Gulbenkian Orchestra & the LA Phil 13 FOCUS SPOTLIGHT ON... il pomo d'oro: "a model of sensitive collaboration" 14 FOCUS ARTIST'S VIEW Iain Burnside offers insight into his Russian Songs series for Wigmore Hall 16 FOCUS COVER STORY Dame Felicity Lott swaps opera for musical theatre, starring in the National Theatre's Follies 20 MEET THE ARTIST Q&A Pianist Daniel Lebhardt on friends, heroes, and how his love for music began 22 MEET THE TEAM Rachel Bertaut, Artist Manager 23 FOCUS INTERVIEW Explore DSO Berlin's upcoming performance of Handel's Messiah, directed by Frederic Wake-Walker 27 INTERVIEW Irish soprano Jennifer Davis 30 ON TOUR Upcoming projects in Europe, Asia & Australasia

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CONTENTS

Photos, clockwise from top left: Nuno Coelho © Elmer de Haas, Iain Burnside © Gerard Collett, Dame Felicity Lott © Christina Raphaelle, Daniel Lebhardt © Kaupo Kikkas, Kristina Mkhitaryan © Diana Guledani, il pomo d'oro © Julien Mignot, Joyce DiDonato © Chris Singer / Erato-Warner Classics, Sketch from Frederic Wake-Walker's Messiah © Frederic Wake-Walker, Jennifer Davis © Marshall Light Studio, Gabriella Reyes © Dario Acosta

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NEWS HEADLINES

News Joyce DiDonato © Simon Pauly Yannick Nézet-Séguin © Hans van der Woerd

Read all news stories at askonasholt.co.uk/news

© Matthias Bothor

Joyce DiDonato & Yannick Nézet-Séguin collaborate for very special duo recitals in Kansas City & Ann Arbor

Karina Canellakis conducts the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm The annual concert honours the year’s Nobel Laureates, and is attended by members of the Swedish Royal family, Nobel Laureates and guests. Karina – the first woman ever to conduct the concert – will lead the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme of Ann-Sofi Söderqvist's Movements, Dvořák Violin Concerto with soloist Lisa Batiashvili, and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4. Karina debuted with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in 2016, and has since returned twice; in December 2017 with Janine Jansen, and in October 2018 with Nicola Benedetti. nobelprize.org

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Yannick trades in his baton for a piano, accompanying Joyce in what will be her first performances of Schubert’s epic song cycle Winterreise, originally written for tenor voice. The exceptional duo perform in Joyce’s home town of Kansas City, as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series on 13 December, and at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium on 16 December. In her programme notes for UMS, Joyce says: “… as much as I have always loved the great recital repertoire, it never once occurred to me to personally tackle this mammoth undertaking until, just over a year ago, when Yannick Nézet-Séguin approached me with the bold idea of performing Schubert’s masterful journey together. Naturally, I was compelled to give it great consideration: “But it must really speak to you”, he warned. “You must feel deeply called to enter into this world and live there for some time.” And so naturally I dove in. Completely. And yet, diligent as I was, I couldn’t quite find my way into the protagonist’s world, despite the utterly compelling journey in front of me. It wasn’t a question of gender – I’m used to donning pants on the stage. No. Instead, a persistent question took hold of me and simply wouldn’t let go: “But what about her?” my heart kept asking.” joycedidonato.com / yannicknezetseguin.com

Management update: Marcelo Álvarez Having welcomed the celebrated tenor to our roster in 2017 for concert and recitals management, we're very happy to have strengthened our relationship by taking on Marcelo's world-wide general management. Represented by Mark Hildrew & Nathan Morrison


NEWS HEADLINES

New signings We are delighted to welcome four exceptionally talented young artists to our roster. Read more about each artist at askonasholt.co.uk

© Marshall Light Studio

© Kaupo Kikkas

© Janice Carissa

Jennifer Davis

Daniel Lebhardt Eric Lu

© Dario Acosta

Gabriella Reyes

PIANO

PIANO

Following her sensational role debut as Elsa in a new production of Lohengrin at the Royal Opera House in June, Jennifer has been propelled to international attention, winning praise for her gleaming, silvery tone, and dramatic characterisation of remarkable immediacy.

Daniel won First Prize at the Young Concert Artists International auditions in Paris and New York in 2014. A year later he was invited to record music by Bartók for Decca and in 2016 won the Most Promising Pianist prize at the Sydney International Competition.

She is an alumna of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, and has appeared at Covent Garden as Adina, L’elisir d’amore; Erste Dame, Die Zauberflöte; Ifigenia, Oreste; Arbate, Mitridate, re di Ponto; and Ines, Il trovatore, among others.

This season he gives debut recitals at the Lucerne, Heidelberger-Frühling and Tallinn International Festivals, and returns to Wigmore Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, New York. Other highlights include a return to Paris for Week-end à l’Est Festival, and Mozart Concerto No. 21 at the Royal Festival Hall.

Eric won First Prize at the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition, performing Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in the final with The Hallé and Edward Gardner. He began this season with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and looks forward to concerts with The Hallé and Oslo Philharmonic, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Elbphilharmonie and BOZAR.

SOPRANO

This December, Jennifer will return to the ROH as Gretel in a new production of Hänsel und Gretel. Future engagements include a series of exciting house and role debuts across Europe and America, including at the Wiener Staatsoper and San Francisco Opera.  Read our interview with Jennifer on p. 27 Represented by Joel Thomas & Nathan Morrison

Born in Hungary, Daniel was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2015 and is currently based in Birmingham, where he is enrolled on an Advanced Diploma in Performance at the Royal Conservatoire. Represented by Etta Morgan & Gaetan Le Divelec

SOPRANO

Eric first came to the world’s attention as one of the youngest ever prizewinners of the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition, in Warsaw at the age of 17. He is also the receipient of the 2017 International German Piano Award in Frankfurt. Eric is currently studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jonathan Biss and Robert McDonald. He is also a pupil of Dang Thai Son.

A member of the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Programme, Gabriella recently made her critically acclaimed house debut as the High Priestess in Aida. To complete a triumphant debut season at the Met, Gabriella will return for Nella in Gianni Schicchi (Il trittico) and the First Lady in The Magic Flute. Highlights of last season include excerpts of The Magic Flute in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel, and a solo debut with the New York Choral Society for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

 Watch our video interview with Eric at askonasholt.co.uk

Gabriella was also chosen as a finalist in the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and honoured earlier this year by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation with a Sara Tucker Study Grant.

Represented by Antonio Orlando & Niall Houlihan

Represented by Joel Thomas & Callan Coughlan

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SPOTLIGHT ON...

Kristina Mkhitaryan The Russian soprano making her mark on the international opera world Since winning second prize at the 2017 Operalia Competition just over fourteen months ago, soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan’s profile has skyrocketed. The past year has seen her make numerous important house and role debuts, with more still to come in the remainder of this season. In addition, she looks forward to re-invitations to Glyndebourne as Armida in Rinaldo (where her debut last summer prompted one bachtrack reviewer to proclaim that “Glyndebourne may well have had a preview of a singer who will go on to be one of Verdi’s finest interpreters”), the Grand Théâtre de Genève, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as Micaëla Carmen.

A graduate of the Galina Visnecskaya Theatre Studio in Moscow, Kristina went on to join the Young Artist Programme at the Bolshoi Theatre in 2012. There, her roles included Gilda Rigoletto, Kseniya Boris Godunov, Amina La sonnambula, La Chouette L’enfant et les sortileges, and Marfa Sobakina The Tsar's Bride. After winning several prizes, including first prize at the Queen Sonja competition in Norway in 2013, she made her first international opera appearances as Violetta at Den Norske Opera in 2015. Perhaps best known for her portrayal of Verdi’s Violetta, Kristina also possesses great vocal skill in the baroque repertoire, with roles including Armida Rinaldo, title role

Kristina Mkhitaryan as Violetta La traviata © Erik Berg

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Alcina, Cleopatra Giulio Cesare, Poppea L’incoronazione di Poppea and Euridice Orfeo ed Euridice. We caught up with Kristina to find out how she's getting on... You’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind journey since Operalia; how have the last 14 months been for you? It has been very exciting! I have had amazing opportunities to perform and travel around the world, and have gotten to sing some incredible roles, like Violetta La traviata, Medora Il Corsaro, Gilda Rigoletto, with some of the greatest conductors including Renato Palumbo, Fabio Biondi, Leonardo García Alarcón.


SPOTLIGHT ON... © Diana Guledani

Timeline

“if her Violetta is anything to go by, there is no doubt this sensational soprano from Novorossiysk has a dazzling future.” OperaWire How different does a house debut feel to a return? Does it require different preparation? A house debut is a fresh start, it’s a chance to explore a different understanding of a role you have performed perhaps many times before in a new space with new perspective. Each director interprets a story in a different way and can rejuvenate a role. I have been very lucky to debut at many different houses in the past year, like Royal Opera House London, The Sydney Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, and now at the Metropolitan Opera. You sing a wide repertoire; do you

have a favourite opera and role? I have many favourite roles, but if I had to narrow it down, I would choose Maria Stuarda, Massenet’s Manon (both roles I have yet to sing), Gilda, Alcina, and Violetta. These are the roles I feel emotionally connected with, often long after the last performance. What are you most looking forward to as your career continues to develop? I am most looking forward to expanding my repertoire, to working in new houses, and to continuing lasting relationships with great conductors, directors, and colleagues. 

Competition

Debut

Return

Winter 2018 The Green Room 9


INTERVIEW: NUNO COELHO

Nuno Coelho The 2017 Cadaqués winner talks to Charlotte Gardner about collaborating with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and LA Phil, his repertoire loves, and how he fell for conducting There can't be a better way to begin than by talking about the huge life change that winning the Cadaqués Conducting Competition in December 2017 has been, with its prize of engagements with 40 orchestras. What an opportunity! Yes! My teacher at the Zurich University of the Arts, Johannes Schaefli, always used to say that winning a competition doesn't make you a better conductor, but it does

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give you the opportunities to become better. These opportunities began in August with Pierrot Lunaire at the Stresa Festival, and continue this month with the BBC Philharmonic. In fact, the diary is pretty much full for the next two seasons, and includes debuts with Orchestre National de Lille, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Beethoven Orchestra Bonn. So a lot of concerts, a lot of thinking about the music I feel strongly about, and which orchestras I want to do certain

repertoire with. Also, what I want to do now, what do I want to do in five years, and how to get there – a year ago I wasn't thinking about these things! So what are your repertoire loves? I studied violin in Austria, and conducting in Switzerland, so I feel very close to the Austro-German classical period, which of course doesn't need too much strategising when it comes to programming.

All photos © Elmer de Haas


INTERVIEW: NUNO COELHO

However, I also really love Janáček, Bartók, Sibelius and Stravinsky, even though they're perhaps not the most obvious choices for a Portuguese conductor. I also like that they require learning new languages and cultures, and of course through doing that you realise that all cultures are different but also fundamentally all the same. Different legends, myths, stories… at their inner core they are all connected and reflect the basic human nature, regardless of geography and time. This past summer you've had two significant appointments. Firstly, Guest Conductor with the Gulbenkian Orchestra. How did this come about? The Gulbenkian Orchestra is very special. When I began my conducting studies the Foundation gave me a scholarship. Then a couple of months later they invited me for a small concert, and the relationship has been growing ever since. It's very easy to work with them. We understand what we want from each other without having to spend too much time talking, and they're a good combination of being serious at work, quick at reacting, but on the other hand still proper Southern European. Able to relax and crack a joke here and there. Then there's your Fellowship with the LA Philharmonic. Yes. Returning to the subject of reaching an orchestra, when you're assisting it's not only a great way of learning the repertoire, but for watching how other conductors go about connecting. Gustavo Dudamel for instance is incredibly efficient but also relaxed, with good energy, and I am looking forward to working with Susanna Mälkki. There's always the sense that it's good to be here now, doing whatever music is on the stand. Then beyond the actual conducting, the LA are doing a really good job of going out of the concert hall to reach different communities across the city, which is something I feel strongly about myself. I'm trying to get involved in the organisational side

of this, to get a sense of exactly how they think and work. Who have been the other notable figures in your training to date? Bernard Haitink has been important. I participated in two of his masterclasses in Lucerne, but also because he comes to Zurich each year, meaning he's been watching me develop for three or four years now. And each time I see him I think I understand a little more about what makes him so special. So, to put you on the spot, what is it?! I wish I knew for sure! He's humble to the people in front of him and to the score. There's no ego. Also, one has the impression that his mental focus is so strong that he seems to be completely in the moment and at the same time so far ahead in the musical process. And then everything appears to just happen naturally. He’s a master at knowing exactly what needs to be done and when. And of course you took part in the Concertgebouw masterclasses… Yes, I was very lucky to do a fourday masterclass with the RCO and Daniele Gatti, which was public and had a good learning atmosphere. It included sessions where Gatti would tell us how he learns a score, which was particularly interesting to me. He's very intellectual and analytical in his approach, and he talked about how he works his way towards an interpretation. He was also very keen

"The Gulbenkian is very special ... It's very easy to work with them. We understand what we want from each other without having to spend too much time talking..." on rehearsal technique, listening to the orchestra carefully and improving their level of playing, which was a challenge when you’re standing in front of such a top orchestra. That ties into my next question, which is how do you approach a new score? You always have to make the effort not to get too influenced by concerts and recordings, because it's so easy, and if you're young you may feel more obliged to go with the tradition. Beyond that, I try to just be with the score as much as possible without trying to impose my vision too soon. I also try to read about the context of the music: everything from playing styles to what was influencing the

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INTERVIEW: NUNO COELHO

composers. If you have reached your decisions in an intellectual way, then people may disagree, but you know in yourself why you are doing what you're doing. Thinking about working with all these luminaries of the conducting world, are there things which you feel young conductors are dealing with now that previous generations didn't have to? Well actually I have the impression that orchestras and management today are more supportive of young conductors. There's an understanding that not all conductors are old. Of course they can get old, but they have to start somewhere! Let's talk a bit about your musical background now. Are you from a musical family?

"If you have reached your decisions in an intellectual way, then people may disagree, but you know in yourself why you are doing what you're doing." really interesting, and of course when you can physically change the sound that's a great feeling. So I did masterclasses, and then I went to Zurich. Are you playing the violin now? No, sadly not, although I played some chamber music with friends during the summer. That was wonderful. Red wine and playing late into the night.

No, not at all. My parents are a teacher and a journalist, and I didn't start the violin until I was ten. It wasn't until university applications that I got serious and decided that playing the violin was what I wanted to do.

So what do you do in your spare time?

How did the conducting start?

What are you reading at the moment?

Well this isn't such an inspiring story, because it was simply that I had to! My Masters in Brussels involved picking another module, and given that I was playing in orchestras I thought it would be fascinating to learn what a conductor does. Only then it was

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Well there's little of it for the moment. But I'm happy when I'm learning, which you have to be with this lifestyle or you will be unhappy. I also like sport, politics and podcasts, and to read.

A book about the beginning of the First World War which takes each country in turn, plotting the sequence of events that led them to war, which is scary because you can see it happening again. So once again, it's

cultures and histories essentially being all the same. Last question. What are you especially looking forward to over the coming months? My debut with LA Phil at Walt Disney Hall in January in an allAmerican concert as part of their youth project. I'm also really looking forward to assisting Haitink with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Beethoven’s Ninth. Then of course there’s further concerts with the Gulbenkian. I always look forward to returning to orchestras – it's really nice when you can just say, “Let's continue where we left off”.  Charlotte Gardner is a freelance writer, critic and journalist. She reviews baroque and strings for Gramophone, contributes to The Strad, writes programme notes for various UK orchestras, and is a playlist curator for Grammofy


il pomo d’oro Characterised by authentic and vivid interpretations of baroque and classical works, il pomo d’oro are leaders in the field of historical performance practice.

bring a fresh approach to old music, and their playfulness, curiosity, and complete understanding of the nature of collaborative music-making is what makes them so exciting."

The ensemble are perhaps most wellknown for their award-winning opera recordings, which include Handel’s Tamerlano, Partenope, Serse and Ottone, and Vinci’s Catone in Utica, and for collaborations with singers including Joyce DiDonato, Franco Fagioli, Ann Hallenberg and Max Emanuel Cencic. With Joyce, the ensemble was a partner from the very beginning for In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music; a project that has been toured to nearly 30 cities since its premiere in 2016, and heads back on the road in November 2018 and January 2019.

When interviewing Joyce DiDonato during the recording of In War & Peace, Gramophone's James Jolly commented, "It’s also one of those recording sessions where the entire orchestra piles into the control room to listen to playbacks. Each member is comfortable about chipping in, and it really does feel like a case of

© Julien Mignot

SPOTLIGHT ON...

DiDonato being first among equals." Or maybe it is as they themselves say on their own Facebook page: "We have the guts!"? One look at the ensemble’s social media pages will tell you that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Perhaps it is this relaxed character, combined with their musical talents, that makes them such an engaging ensemble to watch.   Find out more about In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music on tour on p. 31

© il pomo d'oro via Instagram

Founded in 2012 by Gesine Lübben and Giulio d’Alessio, the ensemble has been described as "a model of sensitive collaboration" by OperaWire. "The orchestra is just so dynamic and flexible. Nothing is ever a problem." says Askonas Holt Project Manager Eoin Quirke, who has worked with the ensemble since 2016. "They

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IAIN BURNSIDE: RUSSIAN SONG

© Gerard Collett

The art of Russian song

Pianist Iain Burnside introduces his Russian Songs series at Wigmore Hall, which began in September 2018

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Where does your interest in Russian songs come from? A few years back I was lucky enough to play for the soprano Galina Gorchakova. We did recitals all over – in Europe, America, Japan. That gave me both a wonderful grounding in the central Russian Romance repertoire and a delight in engaging with the fiery Slav temperament. Galina liked minimal rehearsal, which kept me on my toes and made every concert an adventure. Although I can’t speak Russian, I do know Polish – I studied for two years in Warsaw – and that’s made a huge difference in understanding. Just as in German Lieder the same words

and concepts keep reappearing, so in Russian song, once your ear is attuned, the vocabulary of star gazing, breast beating and soul searching quickly becomes familiar. How did your Wigmore Hall series come about? In the 2014 season I curated a number of afternoon recitals at Wigmore Hall, responding to the success of the complete Rachmaninov songs CDs on the Delphian label. The Hall’s Director, John Gilhooly, then extended a wonderful invitation to collaborate on a wider survey of Romantic Russian repertoire, keeping


Andrey Zhilikhovsky

Wigmore Hall © Ungry Young Man via flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

Dmytro Popov © Anton Ovcharov

IAIN BURNSIDE: RUSSIAN SONG

"I’m driving a Ferrari on an open road, and I can put my foot down. Who could resist?" Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov at the centre, but also exploring less familiar terrain. In the meantime Delphian brought out another boxed set, this time of Nikolai Medtner songs. That project led to new discoveries, which we’re showcasing here. Part of our programming is thematic, exploring particular poets – Pushkin, Burns – or shared passions, like Russian composers’ obsession with Spain. I guess if you lived in 19th century St Petersburg, come February, the thought of Seville must have held many charms. We also go off the beaten track in our choice of composers: Gretchaninov, Cui, Glazunov and Glière aren’t names you meet in song recitals every day of the week. Among the singers joining you for the series are Olena Tokar, Dmytro Popov, Pavel Kolgatin and Nikolay Didenko. How many singers are there in total, and how does each collaboration work? There are ten singers in all. John was keen to mix artists familiar

to Wigmore audiences with some fresh faces, so there will be a few house debuts, like the brilliant young Georgian soprano Sofia Mchedlishvili. Similarly, I have happy working relationships with most of our singers but I’m making new friends as well. I’ve performed before with both baritones, Rodion Pogossov and Andrey Zhilikhovsky, and love working with them – not just marvellous singers but great characters too, with big performing personalities. I went out to Berlin recently to rehearse with Dmytro Popov, whom I’d never met. He has the most glorious tenor voice, that he can also rein in to a pianissimo that should be magical in the famous Wigmore acoustic. How does it feel playing Russian song, compared with, say, German Lieder or French Mélodies? The pianism is certainly different. Rachmaninov flows under the fingers in a way that’s quite unique. Part of his genius is to make music sound harder than it actually is. Medtner is the exact opposite: a dazzling pianist

whose idiosyncrasies make even the simplest sounding romance torture to learn. But the feel at the piano of this Russian repertoire is one of its great joys. For the most part it’s just so much fun to play. And when you’re sharing the stage with big, opulent voices, as is my privilege here, it’s a feeling you can’t beat. I’m driving a Ferrari on an open road, and I can put my foot down. Who could resist?  THE SERIES Saturday 22 September with Olena Tokar, Pavel Kolgatin & Nikolay Didenko Thursday 29 November with Justina Gringytė & Dmytro Popov Monday 28 January with Sofia Fomina, Oleksiy Palchykov & Rodion Pogossov Friday 1 March with Sofia Mchedlishvili & Andrey Zhilikhovsky

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COVER STORY: FELICITY LOTT

© Nobby Clark

Swapping stages

Dame Felicity Lott’s career has spanned more than four decades, and yet her next project will be the first time she has worked in musical theatre. She tells Sarah Lambie about her expectations and fears

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Congratulations on your forthcoming role in the National Theatre’s revival of their production of Follies: am I right in thinking that this will be your first foray into ‘theatre’ as distinct from opera? Yes! I got close with operetta in Paris: we did Offenbach’s La belle Hélène and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, ages ago now – and I did quite a bit of Viennese operetta: The Merry Widow and Fledermaus, but this will be very different.


Follies at the National Theatre © Johan Persson

COVER STORY: FELICITY LOTT

Which role will you be playing? I’m playing Heidi, the elderly Viennese singer, and I just have one wonderful song to sing: One More Kiss, which is beautiful. Did you see this production the first time round, last year? Yes but unfortunately I saw it in our local cinema, which doesn’t really exist! It’s just a little theatre where they put on films occasionally, and we didn’t realise how popular it was going to be, so my husband and I were the last in and had to sit in the front row. We saw it practically horizontal, and a bit close! But I thought it was a brilliant production and Jo [Josephine Barstow, as Heidi] was amazing. Obviously there are all sorts of aspects of this kind of work that differ from what you’ve done before: how are you feeling about the process? …Curious. I’ve always been very much in awe of actors, I think we have such a lot of the work done for

us with the composer having set the words to music. If you get just the text, it’s up to you how you do it, and that is more challenge than I can quite cope with, so I’m very glad that Mr Sondheim set his brilliant words to beautiful music! I had to use my speaking voice in performance in September: I was the narrator in Le martyre de Saint Sébastien. It was in French, and I tripped over my dress and fell flat on my face just before I went on the stage, which didn’t help. And then I had to do the first bit of the introduction – just telling everybody to shut up and listen to this story, basically – from way up at the back behind the orchestra, and then walk all the way down in full view of everyone. It was in the Philharmonie in Berlin, which is a fantastic concert hall, but huge, and I was just trying not to fall down again. I think I wasn’t so nervous about the actual performance after I’d managed to negotiate the stairs!

Follies is seven shows a week, so this is a completely new thing for me: though of course I’m sure I can sing every day the amount I’ve got to. I think it will be very good for me: it will get me into some kind of a routine, which I’ve never had really as a freelance singer. It will be great to do something again and again for a bit, rather than desperately trying to learn something new for the day after tomorrow, which is what seems to have happened all my life. It should be – not restful – but quite a nice experience just to be able to find a new way of doing it. Everybody’s performances will be different every night, I’m sure, and I can work on my backstory – I’ll get to know where this lady came from! Heidi sings alongside a younger version of herself, have you met your younger you? No, I haven’t met anybody yet – I still can’t really believe it’s happening, but since I have now been measured for a costume and for a wig it must be real!

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Follies at the National Theatre © Johan Persson

COVER STORY: FELICITY LOTT

In a way, the show isn’t fully focused on narrative, it’s more a series of moments in which a collection of once-young and beautiful people contemplate their autumn years, and face the realities of their lives. As a performer, like Heidi, with a long career behind you already, how much does your philosophy coincide with hers? “Never look back”, that’s what she says – and no, I don’t look back very much. I published a book, with a French journalist, about my life a couple of years ago – and that does make you look back, of course, but most of the time I’m just thinking about what I’m doing next. I think it would be jolly difficult if I didn’t have something to do next, I can’t imagine just sitting around, or planting things and waiting for them to grow… That’s a very scary prospect in any freelance career! Yes! At the moment I’m doing a bit more in the way of teaching

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and coaching, which I was very scared of originally, because I felt I never knew anything well enough. I still feel the same, but I’ve realised that doesn’t really matter – that isn’t quite the point. One can communicate something, and contribute something to help similarly-unsure but younger people. I remember when I was just beginning as a singer, it was the first time I’d sung in the Festival Hall, in an Ernest Read concert – way, way back in the ‘70s. It was the Serenade to Music by Vaughan Williams, and the violinist who led the orchestra was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music where I was a student. He was so nervous, because he had this lovely big solo to play, and I found it quite comforting to see this man, who was a teacher, who was still nervous. I’ve always been a quaking heap before everything, and I still am! But then one had, in a way, less to prove as a beginner – nobody knows who you are. Once they do know who you are, then it gets a bit

scary, because you have to try not to let them down – or yourself! Expectation is a terrifying thing. Yes, exactly, and it’s going to be difficult following Jo Barstow in this piece because she was wonderful. But I shall do my best, as long as I don’t fall down the stairs! Once you’ve broken in to musical theatre with Follies, are there other musicals, by Sondheim or otherwise, that you’ve a hankering to perform in? Oh gosh, I mean, I love them: a few years ago we did a staged recital, mise-en-scène by Laurent Pelly – it was an 80 minute recital with a dancer and a string quartet and various different kinds of music. I sang Losing My Mind [also from Follies] which I’d always wanted to sing, I think it’s the most glorious song. I also used to do quite a lot of recitals with Sir Thomas Allen and we did bits and pieces from Carousel. He used to do the monologue that Gerald Finlay did at the Last Night


COVER STORY: FELICITY LOTT

© Trevor Leighton

"Richard Strauss has been a huge part of my life. I would have retired years ago probably, if it hadn’t been for Strauss and all his wonderful music, and his amazing opera ladies who I’ve been lucky enough to perform." of the Proms this year – which is so beautiful – about ‘My Boy Bill’, and we used to do duets from that and from Brigadoon. But I don’t know about actually being in a show, I think I might have left that a bit late: unless there are any antique characters… There’s Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, perhaps! But what have you in fact got lined up for after Follies? Well I’m on a couple of juries: I’m going to Lyon to be on a chamber

music jury, and I’m on the Wigmore Song Prize jury. At the end of October 2018 I’m in the South of France for a week to do masterclasses on Mozart, on Da Ponte operas, working with some super young singers down there, so that’ll be lovely. It’s very rejuvenating to work with young singers. And, I’m going to GarmishPartenkirchen next June which is where Strauss lived. Richard Strauss has been a huge part of my life. I would have retired years

ago probably, if it hadn’t been for Strauss and all his amazing music, and opera ladies who I’ve been lucky enough to perform. I’m going to do a masterclass there on Strauss singing, which is a bit cheeky really for a Brit, but very nice to be asked, I must say: I’m really excited actually!  Sarah Lambie is an actress, singer, teacher, editor and writer. She is editor of Teaching Drama, Head of Content for drama at the Music & Drama Education Expo, and cofounder of Golem Theatre

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Q&A: DANIEL LEBHARDT

Daniel Lebhardt "I love the fact that my job is to never stop learning from composers through their music ... being in a constant intellectual and spiritual connection with them is the biggest gift in my life."

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Q&A: DANIEL LEBHARDT

My mum took me out to concerts when I was a kid and my dad enjoyed listening to lots of rock, so there was never really silence in the house or in the car. I remember being totally moved as a 4/5 year old hearing a symphony orchestra, then we would go home and I would be jumping on the couch to some Metallica. My grandparents had an upright piano in their apartment and I must have been six when I asked my parents to find me a piano teacher. It took some nagging before they gave in as they thought I didn’t have much musical talent; I could not sing at all! They thought I had very bad ears, and was too hyper for practicing. I kept nagging though and bless them, they supported me so much through my childhood and teenage years, sacrificing lots so I could enjoy playing music. Was there a big ‘lightbulb’ moment? There probably was, although it never felt like one. I tried writing a few short pieces when I was seven and had to ask my mum to help me notate it. Very simple kids’ stuff, probably worthless, but it was fun for me at the time. Then I remember being nine years old spending hours figuring out Rachmaninov C sharp minor prelude. There are plenty of memories with some pieces when time would fly by and I would just forget about everything else. What do you love most about your career? I would never have dreamt growing up in Hungary that I would get to perform on most continents. Besides the experience of travelling, through music I have met my closest friends in one way or another, and these people mean the world to me. I also love the fact that my job is to never stop learning from composers through their music. They were some of the most incredible geniuses who walked the planet and being in a constant intellectual and spiritual

connection with them is the biggest gift in my life. Best musical advice received? Be yourself, and forget about yourself. Never force anything. Most memorable live music experience as a performer? Mahler Second Symphony. I was singing in the choir (with some other pianist volunteer friends) and some of my friends were in the Royal Academy of Music student orchestra, conducted by Paul Braugh. It was a most powerful and deeply emotional, joyous experience.

All photos © Kaupo Kikkas

Where did it all begin? Why music?

Last thing you listened to? Poulenc Stabat Mater, some Pink Floyd, Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Darkthrone. Most underrated classical work? Not sure whether its underrated or not but it surely is rarely performed outside Hungary – Cantata Profana by Bartòk. I really love this piece and wish more people knew it.

flavours it could be anything. I love a good stew and I am quite fond of fish and chips. I'd say the simpler the better, although I had an astonishing Thai peanut butter noodle soup once at Heathrow airport in one of the lounges. I tried to cook it at home, but it turned out to be quite a nasty disaster. I’ll skip the details…

Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party, living or dead?

What about venue?

My friends... I’m perfectly happy with them and it would be most ideal!

Which other talent would you most like to have?

Who are your musical heroes?

Better business skills maybe. Also, I have a horrible facial memory and it's so awkward that I forget I already met a person before, and can't remember their name.

It’s hard not to give a long list! I would say Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Bartók from the composers, performers Zoltán Kocsis, Iván Fischer, Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Sofronitsky, Alfred Cortot, Wilhelm Kempff, Christian Ferras, Ginette Neveu... the list could go on. Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison should be on this list too. Your favourite book? George Orwell 1984. And favourite city? I visited Tallinn for the first time this year, and it made a beautiful impression on me. I try to feel good everywhere I go but it's hard for me to have a real strong connection with any city. I prefer nature. Favourite food? As long as there is a good balance of

Wigmore Hall.

Three things you couldn’t live without? Beer, friends, and the ability to listen. Career plan B? I would try to do something for NASA; working in space would be awesome. And finally, how do you relax when not working? Usually just catching up with friends, watching a football game, playing some snooker... it’s the one thing that I still find enjoyable despite being far from good at it. I love going on long walks at night also. And sometimes it’s nice to just eat pizza and watch TV. Nothing fancy. 

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MEET THE TEAM

Meet the team Artist Manager Rachel Bertaut Tell us a little about your day-today role at Askonas Holt? The good thing about working in this industry is that no two days are the same, so I could be talking to the boss of an orchestra one day and travelling to meet them the next. Regular communication with the artists is key to the role of an Artist Manager, as is keeping on top of emails and making sure you have enough creative headspace left for future planning! What do you like most about your job? Building relationships and often having the best seat in the house at concerts. Favourite live music experience/ musical memory? It’s hard to narrow down but one of the most memorable was hearing Stockhausen’s Gruppen at the Festival Hall in 2000. Most of my fellow University students were horrified. I was totally captivated. I also feel very privileged to have seen Bernard Haitink many times in concert since joining Askonas Holt, creating lots of lasting musical memories. Achievement (professional or personal) you’re most proud of? Other than bringing a new little person into the world it would have

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to be mastering the London cycle commute! Best professional advice received? To listen... and not to assume anything. Most underrated composer? Stockhausen. Not to everyone’s taste but his work as an early electronic music pioneer was ground-breaking. Favourite quote or saying? You can do anything if you put your mind to it. And when you’re not at work? I’m running around after my daughter Kitty and catching up on sleep. Instruments played/voice? Piano, violin, voice but my main interest at University was composition.

Favourite food? Pasta and cheese sauce. A family staple. Mastermind specialist subject? Before my daughter was born: new restaurant openings in London. After: nursery rhymes and all associated actions. Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party, living or dead? Captain James Cook, Ella Fitzgerald, Michelle Obama, Eddie Izzard, and Raymond Blanc in the kitchen serving some French classics. An odd mix but should be fine after a few glasses of red. What change would you most like to see take place in classical music? For classical music to be a part of every child’s education. 


INTERVIEW:FREDERIC WAKE-WALKER

Staging a classic

Director Frederic Wake-Walker talks to Andrew Mellor about his staging of Handel's Messiah, coming to Berlin this December

Staging Handel’s iconic oratorio Messiah invariably induces debate. It was ever thus. “An oratorio is either an act of religion or it is not,” bristled a commentator in the Universal Spectator way back in 1743, the year Handel revealed his plans to have his work performed on stage in Covent Garden; “if it is, I ask if a company of players are fit ministers of God’s word.” These days, questions of theatrical feasibility have replaced those of offensive blasphemy. “There’s no direct speech, there’s nobody embodying a character and it’s mostly just a description of events,” says Frederic Wake-Walker of the work itself as he prepares to stage it in Berlin later this month. “I’ve staged Jephtha before and of course

I’ve seen stage productions of the other narrative oratorios, but this is completely different.” The director’s initial solution, in contrast to other ‘productions’ of Messiah that have been seen in London, Berlin and elsewhere in the last decade, is to avoid the theatrical altogether. “It doesn’t make any sense to theatricalise it,” he says. “So the approach I’ve taken is to think more about the dynamics between the orchestra, chorus and soloists and to think about how to place the piece in this incredible space.” That space is the Philharmonie in Berlin, home – in addition to the Berliner Philharmoniker – to Robin Ticciati’s Deutsche SymphonieOrchester Berlin (DSO). “Robin and

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Robin Ticciati © Giorgia Bertazzi

INTERVIEW: FREDERIC WAKE-WALKER

I had such a wonderful time working together on [Mozart’s] La finta giardiniera at Glyndebourne that we had been looking for something to do together for some time. He came up with the idea of doing Messiah.” As much as anything, it represents a perfect opportunity for Ticciati to bring his fondness for pre-Mozart repertoire to his new German symphony orchestra, schooled generally on music from later on. Hans Scharoun’s building in Tiergarten – the world’s first vineyard-style concert hall, in which audience members are almost always in faceto-face view of one another – presents unique opportunities for such a reimagining of Messiah in an age when concert performances outside church are the norm. “I love the space; I love the feeling that wherever you’re sitting, you’re very close,” says WakeWalker of the Philharmonie. “We spent a long time thinking about how to use it; exploring all the different places people could be. But in the end

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we condensed it down. So there will be an awareness of the whole space but not much moving around. We have condensed it down to something meditative.” That’s might be easier in Handel’s own instances of distillation – the three, entwined musical lines of ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’, for example – than in his often rampant and mobile choruses. “That’s something else we talked about a lot: should we have the chorus singing without scores, moving around? But again it didn’t really feel appropriate. Some of the choruses come very quickly after one another and contrast markedly. The danger is that it all gets very busy and tokenistic which, again, is something the spaces of the Philharmonie can lure you into. We’ve tried to do the opposite, to take it right down to something essential.” ‘Essential’ and ‘distilled’ don’t have to mean sterile or emasculated. “I think there is drama in the piece,” says


INTERVIEW: FREDERIC WAKE-WALKER

Wake-Walker, “but that it’s more an inherent drama – it’s there in the dynamics between the performers; it’s about finding the tension in the actual act of performing rather than trying to enact a story. The way everyone is standing on the stage will be unconventional, so it will be very interesting, I hope, both visually and musically and in how those elements relate to each other.” The list of Wake-Walker’s collaborators for his project is impressive. In addition to Ticciati, his orchestra and the RIAS Kammerchor, his soloists are Louise Alder, Magdalena Kožená, Tim Mead, Allan Clayton and Florian Boesch (“I could not imagine a better cast for Messiah,” he says). But there are non-musical accomplices too: lighting designer Ben Zamora and – taking the form of the messiah itself – dancer Ahmed Soura. The latter have afforded WakeWalker the opportunity to engage

“I think there is drama in the piece, but that it’s more an inherent drama – it’s there in the dynamics between the performers; it’s about finding the tension in the actual act of performing rather than trying to enact a story." afresh with the Christian message, and the principle of faith, that lies at the heart of Messiah. “Ben and I decided that we didn’t want this feeling of divine light – light coming from above,” he says. “We wanted to emphasize this work’s humanity; the idea that the story and its spirituality are coming from the ground up – from humans. I haven’t tried to distance myself from the Christian message of the piece and I hope that Christians won’t feel alienated. But

I have definitely tried to see it in a more humanist light and to give it a more natural angle.” Soura, whom Wake-Walker collaborated with in 2013 on the dance piece Sacrificed, has helped put some of Messiah’s orthodoxies in perspective too. “Ahmed is from Burkina Faso, so he grew up with both Christianity and Islam,” WakeWalker explains. “That provides a very different context but it’s also

Sketch of Frederic Wake-Walker's vision for Messiah in Berlin

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INTERVIEW: FREDERIC WAKE-WALKER

From day one, however, the director has been in discussion with his conductor. “To begin with we worked together on how the singers and the orchestra would be positioned, and since then we have been going through the piece in very fine detail and bouncing off each other.” As conductors go, is Ticciati a broadminded one? “Robin is not only a broadminded conductor; he’s a musician with an unbelievable sense of drama and theatricality and of the dynamics that exist between performers. It’s incredible, this sense he has.” Ticciati’s talents have the high-level outlets they need these days, and

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Magdalena Kozena © Rostovtsev Photography

Though the performance’s concept and logistics are planned and relatively fixed, Wake-Walker has yet to rehearse with his performers before the performance on 15 December. “We only have a week,” he says. “That is a limitation, but of course limitations and restrictions are very creative things. The vocal soloists will have sung Messiah so many times and have so much experience of the piece. It’s not like preparing for an opera, where you are trying to hone everyone into a single theatrical or dramaturgical concept. It’s more about setting up a simple but dynamic physical framework with some very clear lines of direction, and letting them fill that with all their talent and experience.”

Louise Alder © Gerard Collett

interesting having a dancer from Burkina Faso representing the messiah in a work that was performed in front of the King of one of history’s biggest colonizing powers.” Add to that, of course, the persistent presumption from many that Jesus was born a white Anglo-Saxon male. “I’m not trying to ram anything down anyone’s throat,” Wake-Walker says, “but there’s a certain branch of theology that suggests Jesus was representative of oppressed peoples everywhere – those who are not in power. That’s an interesting dynamic to be exploring.”

so have Wake-Walker’s. He will return to La Scala next season to direct Ariadne auf Naxos, his third production for the leading Italian opera house. On the day we speak, he is gearing up for the general rehearsal of his first Peter Grimes, at Cologne Opera (the run opened on 25 November). “I am looking forward to the purity of Messiah after the madness of Peter Grimes,” he says with a chuckle. “I guess we’ll see how they go down.”  Andrew Mellor is a freelance journalist who writes for Seismograf, Klassisk, FMQ, Gramophone, BBC, Elephant, ICON, and The Strad among others. He is Nordic correspondent for Opera, Opera Now and Opera News


INTERVIEW: JENNIFER DAVIS

Jennifer Davis The Irish soprano speaks to Helen Cocks about how she became a singer, the ROH's Jette Parker Programme, and how her voice is developing How did you start singing? I hear you come from a musical family! Yes, everyone in my family is musical, my Mam in particular as she is a singer and teacher and so I grew up hearing her giving singing lessons; singing was always in the house. My siblings and I were encouraged to sing and learn instruments as children and we went to music school at the weekends and were involved in musicals. I also joined a church choir when I was quite young and did my chorister awards, but I guess I always thought in a way that singing was

really Mam’s thing. I studied English literature at UCD in Dublin, and so I was in my 20s before I really took singing seriously. I completed my Masters at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin and then went on to the National Opera Studio, London, in 2013. It took me a little while to find my way. And then the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme – a huge opportunity for anyone but one you seem particularly to have got a lot out of.

Oh for sure, the Jette Parker has changed my trajectory completely. Without it I may not have had quite the same training and exposure I have been lucky to enjoy. It has given me so many performing and learning opportunities. Towards the end of my time on the programme I got to jump in and sing Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore a few times [while covering the role for the Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak]. It was so exciting, getting to sing a lead role in that house. I had been on that stage a lot during

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INTERVIEW: JENNIFER DAVIS

my time there but up til that point nothing of that size or importance. It was a little tricky because I was rehearsing another show, Mitridate, during the day then singing Adina at night, which was quite the learning curve. Although it was a bit tiring, it was an incredible experience. An opportunity like that really lets you discover what you can do and whether or not you can handle stressful situations. Having said that, there are a vast number of routes for people to take. The Jette Parker is not the only one, but it was definitely the right one for me. And have you kept in touch with your fellow young artists since you left? Absolutely, you’re often bumping into ex-young artists who trained there, whether it’s in other houses or back at the ROH. I’m still friendly with everyone who was in the programme during my time there and it’s so lovely to see them all singing well and having wonderful careers. You were back at the Royal Opera last summer to sing Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin. It’s a big, demanding role and one in which

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you were confirmed quite close to the performances. Did it feel like a sudden step up? Lohengrin is the biggest thing I’ve ever done, no doubt about it, and I am eternally grateful that the Royal Opera gave me that opportunity and trusted me with it. Agreeing to cover something and actually doing all the rehearsals and performances are two very different things. I think it probably appeared like a very last minute choice in terms of me taking over the role, but I personally had been living with Elsa for a long time and the decision for me to step in wasn’t made quickly or lightly by anyone, especially me. I was still a young artist when Peter Katona [the Royal Opera’s Director of Casting] first approached me about it. My initial reaction was “God no! I’m far too young, I should wait,” but Peter has such a wealth of experience that I felt if he thought I had it in me I should at least look at the score and really think about it. I was still singing Adina and preparing various things, the young artists programme is quite intense and you’re extraordinarily

busy, so altogether it took me nearly four months to decide whether I should cover it or not, and Peter and the ROH gave me that space. So by the time the production began rehearsing I’d been looking at the score and singing it in slowly for about a year and a half. Although Elsa is very much a lyric soprano role it is Wagner. Do you see Wagnerian singing as something you might grow into vocally, or do you think Elsa’s as far as you’ll go? Wagner is thrilling to sing and I love singing Elsa, but other than that role, and possibly Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, everything else is too heavy for me vocally at the moment. I’m only 32 so I’m not thinking about many other Wagner roles just yet, but maybe Elisabeth in Tannhäuser might one day be a possibility. It’s really hard to tell because you can’t predict how your voice will develop. This might be it! If my voice doesn’t get any bigger I’d be ok with that; I’m a lyric soprano, there’s so much for me to sing, and so many exciting roles I haven’t performed yet. I adore Wagner, so if my voice eventually takes that turn I’d


INTERVIEW: JENNIFER DAVIS

be delighted, but I I’m happy to take my time and enjoy what I’m capable of now. And lots of new places to sing in! Where have you travelled to recently? I recently did a couple of jump-ins for Elsa in Lohengrin, going to Theater Stuttgart and to Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp, both very last minute. They were so wonderful. Even though both situations had a certain stress attached (jumping into a role that long is quite an experience), I was treated with so much care. It’s so lovely going to different houses and meeting everyone there, I had a wonderful time in both places even though my time there was so brief! I adore travelling, and am very much looking forward to spending extended periods of time in some of the world’s most beautiful cities. How do you maintain your training, do you still go for lessons, still get coaching? I do, it’s really vital to keep up your

All photos © Marshall Light Studio

"Initially I thought “God no! I’m far too young, I can wait!” but Peter has such a wealth of experience that I felt if he thought I had it in me I should at least look at the score and really think about it." work with trusted coaches and your teacher. The human voice has always fascinated me and I love to play around and explore new sensations and sounds and see what’s possible. As an ex-young artist I’m very lucky that I still get training at the opera house which is a godsend as I can go back to the coaches I‘ve worked with for the past few years. I feel incredibly fortunate that performing in Lohengrin has launched me into a new sphere and lots of doors have opened to me. For me, this means I have to knuckle down and work harder than I’ve ever done before, to continue to raise my standard further still, because the opportunities that are coming my way are in glorious houses with exalted histories and reputations, and I get to work alongside the best of the best in my field. It’s especially important for me to see a singing teacher regularly and make sure that everything’s ticking over. My voice has grown in the past year so I’m examining that,

making sure nothing crazy starts happening vocally. What can you tell us about what you’ve got coming up? I know a lot is still under wraps…. I’m into rehearsals for my first Gretel in a new production of Hänsel und Gretel (at the Royal Opera House) – it’s such a beautiful role and has its tricky moments so I’ve been studying that intensively for the past few months. I’m also singing Pamina for the first time back home in Ireland next summer which I’m looking forward to, and making my company debut with Welsh National Opera as First Lady in The Magic Flute. Other than that I’m afraid I don’t know how much I can say because things haven’t been announced – I can only say that some exciting things are coming my way and I feel very lucky!  Helen Cocks is a freelance arts writer who has contributed to Classical Music, TES, The Quietus and Choir & Organ among others.

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ON TOUR: JANUARY, FEBRUARY & MARCH 2019

On Tour

© Roger Mastroianni

Chicago Symphony © Todd Rosenberg Ian Bostridge © Sim Canetty-Clarke

Upcoming projects organised by our Tours & Projects department, including our first collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & RICCARDO MUTI ASIA 19 & 20 Jan · NTCH, Taipei 22 & 23 Jan · SHOAC, Shanghai 25 & 26 Jan · NCPA, Beijing ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC BOGOTÁ 7 Feb · Teatro Mayor, Bogotá MAHLER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA & DANIEL HARDING ASIA & AUSTRALIA 8, 9 & 10 Mar · Adelaide Town Hall 13 Mar · Sumida Triphony Hall, Tokyo 14 Mar · Tokyo Opera City, Tokyo 15 Mar · Shanghai Symphony Hall

EUROPA GALANTE & IAN BOSTRIDGE EUROPE & MOSCOW

THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA & FRANZ WELSER-MÖST ASIA

14 Mar · Zaryadye Hall, Moscow 16 Mar · Konzerthaus, Vienna 18 Mar · Auditorio Príncipe Felipe, Oviedo 20 Mar · Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid 22 Mar · Boulez Saal, Berlin

28 & 29 Mar · NTCH, Taipei 31 Mar · Macau Cultural Centre 2 & 3 Apr · Shenzhen Concert Hall 6 & 7 Apr · Shanghai Symphony Hall 8 Apr · Nanjing Poly Grand Theatre 10 Apr · Qintai Concert Hall, Wuhan 12 & 13 Apr · NCPA, Beijing

LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC & GUSTAVO DUDAMEL ASIA 15 & 16 Mar · Seoul Arts Centre 17 Mar · Olympic Gymnastics Arena

BERGEN PHILHARMONIC & EDWARD GARDNER PARIS 31 Mar · La Seine Musicale, Paris

ORCHESTRA OF THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT The orchestra embark on two tours of Europe; with Magdalena Kožená in February, and with Sir András Schiff in March. The OAE will be back on tour in April, with Sir Simon Rattle.

© Harald Hoffmann

6 Feb · Zaryadye Hall, Moscow 9 Feb · İş Sanat Concert Hall, Istanbul 11 Feb · Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens 13 Feb · Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris 15 Feb · Grand Théâtre de Provence, Aix-en-Provence 16 Mar · Lisinski Hall, Zagreb 17 Mar · National Concert Hall, Dublin

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View all projects at www.askonasholt.co.uk/tours


ON TOUR: JANUARY, FEBRUARY & MARCH 2019

IN WAR & PEACE: HARMONY THROUGH MUSIC Joyce DiDonato’s programme of Baroque arias in response to the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 – which has been performed in nearly 30 cities since its premiere in 2016 – heads back on tour for its first performances in Asia and the Middle East. With il pomo d’oro and Maxim Emelyanychev 9 Jan · Shanghai Symphony Hall 11 Jan · NCPA, Beijing 13 Jan · Macau Cultural Centre 16 Jan · Hong Kong City Concert Hall 18 Jan · National Performing Arts Center, Taiwan 21 Jan · Lotte Hall, Seoul 24 Jan · Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

SONGPLAY Joyce DiDonato tours her new album, Songplay, uniting an extraordinary handpicked band from the varied worlds of opera, jazz and tango led by pianist and arranger Craig Terry. Worldwide release 2 February 2019. With Craig Terry (keys), Chuck Israels (double bass), Jimmy Madison (drums), Lautaro Greco (bandoneon), Charlie Porter (trumpet) 18 Feb · Taper Auditorium, Seattle 20 Feb · Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley 25 Feb · Ordway Music Theatre, St Paul 27 Feb · Finney Chapel, Oberlin Conservatory 1 Mar · NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston 4 Mar · Lincoln Center, New York 10 Mar · Richardson Auditorium, Princeton

© Chris Singer / Erato-Warner Classics

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© Askonas Holt 2018 15 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BW +44 (0)20 7400 1700 info@askonasholt.co.uk 32 The Green Room Winter 2018 www.askonasholt.co.uk

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The Green Room Issue 4 Winter 2018: Collaboration focus