City of Sheffield Teachers’ Choir, attractive programme of It’s a Grand Night for Singing from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair; America from Bernstein’s West Side Story; John Farmer’s Fair Phyllis I Saw; Dowland’s Fine Knacks for Ladies, a couple of arrangements by the choir’s founder David Clover: Go Down Moses and Joshua at de Battle ob Jericho; Howard Goodall’s setting of The Lord is My Shepherd; Ward Swingle’s of How Do I Love Thee; arrangements of Goin’ Home and Danube So Blue from Waltzes from Vienna, a Johann Strauss film musical directed by Alfred Hitchcock! and Jay Althouse/ Sally Albrecht’s I Am a Small Part of the World. Vocal chords get a rest when Matthew Pitts, the choir’s accompanist, plays Gottschalk’s La Scintilla Op 20 and the conductor is Ralph Green at the last Sheffield Cathedral Lunchtime Recital in the present series, Thursday (July 9), 1.15pm – free, donations welcome.
Abbeydale Singers, the choir’s ‘summer concert’ with a couple of Monteverdi masterpieces occupying the first part of it, Lamento d’Arianna – the only part that survives with music from his second opera, L’Arianna (Ariadne), and his setting of Beatus Vir; plus two pieces by Samuel Barber: Reincarnations – three pieces to texts by James Stephens based on poems by the 19th century Gaelic poet Anthony Raftery, and his setting of the Agnus Dei, which will sound extremely familiar should you not know it – he ‘borrowed’ the music of the Adagio for strings! Post interval, after complimentary refreshments, there is Schubert, Gershwin, John Rutter and Ward Swingle. Kevin Haighton, as always, is the conductor, Ian Roberts the piano/ organ accompanist, and there are contributions from young trumpet player Jo Beach at St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Saturday, 7.30pm – £12, £10 concessions, £6 students.
BUXTON FESTIVAL 10 July to 26 July
Box Office: 0845 12 72190
NB: All ticket prices are inclusive of booking fees.
•Only opera performances and music events listed – there is also a free, ten-minute Song at Six at 6pm every day, except Friday and Saturday, from the Pavilion Gardens Bandstand with members of the Festival Chorus.
•For details of a comprehensive, often star-studded Literary Series, see the Festival website - www.buxtonfestival.co.uk
•Each opera performance is preceded by a 30-minute Pre-Opera Talk at the Opera House, 6.15pm (£2) unless otherwise indicated.
•Festival for a Fiver – ticket offer of £5 on all available seats for under-30s.
English Chamber Orchestra, get this year’s celebration of music and literature off to a mainly Mozart start conducted by festival artistic director Stephen Barlow, except the Violin Concerto No 4 which is directed by the ECO’s distinguished leader Stephanie Gonley. Elsewhere are the Symphony No 40, a concert aria: Ah se in ciel, benigne stele K538 and Dove sono from The Marriage of Figaro sung by Madeleine Pierard, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings – not such an oddity, its first movement was intended to imitate Mozart! Opera House, Friday, 7.30pm-9.30pm – £15 –£45.
Soraya Mafi with Ian Tindale, gifted young soprano beginning to make a name for herself offers a recital of Mozart: Aer tranquillo di sereni; Deh vieni non tardar; R Strauss: Schlagende herzen; Du meines herzens kronelein; Morgen; Poulenc: Deux poems de Louis Aragon; Walton: Three Poems by Edith Sitwell; Sullivan: Orpheus with his lute; Julius Harrison: Philomel; Parry: My heart is like a singing bird; Gershwin: Someone to watch over me; By Strauss; and, actually by him, J Strauss: Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring) Waltz. Nice programme at St John’s Church, Saturday, 12-noon-1pm – £15 reserved, £12.50 unreserved. NB: Saturday is Buxton Carnival Day so allow time to get there.
Giovanna d’Arco, first two performances of five for Verdi’s Joan of Arc opera with many features that bear no relation to historical fact, first performed at La Scala, Milan in 1845, which enjoyed steady success for two or three decades before performances of it began to wane and it has only been sporadically revived since. Ideal fodder for the Buxton Festival then and, what’s more, Elijah Moshinsky is the stage director and has a potentially strong cast on paper performing it which it needs as it’s a ‘big sing’, Kate Ladner: Giovanna (Joan); Ben Johnson: Carlo (Charles VII); and Devid Cecconi: Giacomo, her father. Stuart Stratford is the conductor and the opera is sung Italian with English side-titles, Opera House, Saturday, Tuesday, 7.15pm-9.45pm – £20 –£65.
Alex Yellowlees Band, a hit last year and back this: Alex Yellowlees: violin; Ged Brockie, Mike Nisbet: guitars; Kenny Ellis: bass, with more Hot Club de France inspiration – ala, Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Pavilion Café, Saturday, 9pm-10.30pm – £20.
Festival Mass, Schubert’s Mass No 4 in C features from the Buxton Musical Society and Orchestra with four soloists from the Festival Chorus this year, many of whom cover roles in the three operas. St John’s Church, Sunday, 10.45am – free.
Roderick Williams with Susie Allan, the charismatic baritone is back and with something of a novelty, which presumably works as he has done it before, Elgar’s Sea Pictures, indelibly associated, of course, with contraltos or mezzo-sopranos. Before it are Vaughan Williams: Four Last Songs (words Ursula VW); Howells: There was a maiden; St Bride’s Song; Girl’s Song; and Tim Torry: The Face of Grief. Pavilion Arts Centre, Sunday, 12.15pm-1.15pm – £18.
Schubert Ensemble, top rank group of musicians and highly rated since its foundation 30 years ago (performances in 40-plus countries says it all, really) sandwich Fauré: Piano Quintet No 1, between two opus numbers by Schumann: Canonic Studies Op 56 No’s 3, 4, 5, and his Piano Quintet. Pavilion Arts Centre, Sunday, 4pm-5.30pm – £20.
Lucia di Lammermoor, not your usual Buxton Festival operatic material as Donizetti’s opera hardly falls remotely into the category of neglect but artistic director Stephen Barlow, who conducts it, reckons he has found a Lucia for taxing role, Welsh soprano Elin Pritchard. Edgardo is Welsh too, despite his name, Adriano Graziani, and other principal roles are taken by Stephen Gadd: Enrico, and Andrew Greenan: Raimondo, who may be recalled from last year’s Jacobin production, as perhaps will be Bonaventura Bottone who plays the ill-fated Arturo; and the stage director is the same, Stephen Unwin. First two performances of five sung in Italian with English side-titles, Opera House, Sunday, Wednesday (July 15), 7.15pm-9.45pm – £20 –£65.
Eudald Buch, brilliant young Barcelona-born pianist by all accounts plays Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor from Book 2 of The Well-Tempered Clavier; Beethoven: Sonata No 12 Op 26, Schumann: Novellette No 8 Op 21; Granados: Quejas a la naja y el ruiseñor from Goyescas; and Scriabin: Sonata No 4 Op 30. Pavilion Arts Centre, Monday, 12-noon-1pm – £15.
Maria Camahort Quintet, following a Spanish pianist, a Spanish guitarist, plus a soprano, violinist, cellist and percussionist with distinctly Iberian names and around 20 pieces of music by Spanish composers with Piazzolla adopted for one: Fuga y Mistero. Elsewhere, Mompou is in there with three pieces; Feliu Gasull with a couple, including Lullaby; six of de Falla’s Seven Spanish Popular Songs, the missing one is Seguidilla!; and two of Garcia Lorca’s ‘rediscovered’ folk songs. St John’s Church, Monday, 3.30pm-4.30pm – £15 reserved, £12.50 unreserved.
Dido and Aeneas, first of two outings for a co-production between the world famous English Concert, harpsichord/ director Robert Howarth, and Bristol Old Vic of Purcell’s opera preceded by a dramatised prologue based on Virgil’s Aeneid recounting Aeneas’s Trojan adventures before arriving in Carthage accompanied by instrumental music by Purcell. When the candle-lit staging, directed by Tom Morris and John Retallack, arrives at the opera super South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is Dido with David Stout: Aeneas; Mary Bevan: Belinda; Susan Bickley: Sorceress; and Erebus Ensemble, a fast-rising in fame chamber choir. Opera House, Monday, 7.15pm-9.15pm – £15 –£50.
The English Concert, four members, Adrian Butterfield: violin, Joseph Crouch: cello, Hannah McLaughlin: oboe, Robert Howarth: harpsichord, are joined by the previous evening’s Belinda, emergent young soprano Mary Bevan for a programme of Bach: Trio from Mein glaübiges Herze BWV 1040 – a little confusing this; the title is a soprano aria in Cantata No 68 which Bach cobbled from the short Canonic Trio Sonata of oboe, violin and continuo BWV 1040! With that out the way, following is Telemann: a cantata, Wer zweifelt, dass man unser Herze verzagt; further Bach: Trio Sonata BWV 1039; Handel: recit and aria Languia di bocca lusinghiera; and more Telemann: another cantata, Züme nur, du alte Schlange. St John’s Church, Tuesday, 12-noon-1pm – £15 reserved, £12.50 unreserved.
Fitzwilliam String Quartet, another world famous body of musicians three years short of its 50th birthday and a founding member is still there, Alan George: viola, the original quartet making its public debut in Sheffield (how many people know that?!) soon after been founded. Other current members are Lucy Russell, Marcus Barcham-Stevens: violins, and Heather Tuach: cello, and Shostakovich had to be on programme, his Quartet No 3 – the original foursome were close friends with, and champions of the composer, should you need reminding; plus, Beethoven: Quartet No 12; and Purcell: Fantasia No 11. St John’s Church, Tuesday, 3.30pm-5pm – £20 reserved, £17.50 unreserved.
Samson Tsoy/ Pavel Kolesnikov, two young pianists form a formidable duo to play Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; and Rachmaninov: Six Morceaux Op 11. Pavilion Arts Centre, Wednesday (July 15), 12.15pm-1.15pm – £15.
Sarah-Jane Lewis, Gareth Brynmor John with Simon Lepper, a concert of Lieder and Russian song from two recent Kathleen Ferrier Award winners, a soprano and a baritone, and the top notch pianist. Seven pieces by Mendelssohn, including Venetianisches Gondolied, Nachtlied and four duets; and seven by Brahms: An den Mond, Geheimnis, Minnelied, Von ewiger Liebe and two lesser-known duets. There are no (or should not be) duets in the two badly undervalued Russian song corpora of Tchaikovsky – three pieces, and Rachmaninov – nine, the best known item by the former being Don Juan’s Serenade, but the other two are splendid; while In the silence of the night is one of the most often heard songs from the latter’s impressive output – the full programme can be viewed of the festival website! St John’s Church, Wednesday (July 15), 3.15pm-4.45pm – £20 reserved, £17.50 unreserved.
Winterreise, Schubert’s great song cycle performed by the chief revelation in last year’s production of Dvořák’s Jacobin, baritone James McOran Campbell with pianist James Southall. Pavilion Arts Centre, Thursday (July 16), 12-noon-1.10pm – £15.
Organ Recital, Douglas Tang from Cambridge University gives the first of this year’s two recitals by Oxbridge organ scholars, at St John’s Church, Thursday (July 16), 5pm-6pm – £10 unreserved.
Louise, ever wondered about the rest of the Charpentier opera that gave us the soprano aria Depuis le jour? Well, here it is in all its complete, neglected glory, including the superb third act that follows the aria, albeit in concert performance, not staged, but it is a rare opportunity to encounter the tale of Louise, a Parisian seamstress who lives rather stiflingly with her parents, after she falls for a penniless artist, Julien. Charpentier’s music can be described as French verismo and he populates the scenario with a vast array of walk-on parts – a factor, perhaps, in its scarcity of stagings. Madeleine Pierard: Louise; Adrian Dwyer: Julien; Susan Bickley: her mother; Michael Druiett: her father, are the main protagonists and Stephen Barlow the conductor at the first of three performances sung in French with English side-titles. Opera House, Thursday (July 16), 7.15pm-10.15pm – £15 –£50.
James Pearson Trio and Lizzie Ball, the resident group at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is again joined by the now internationally noted Sheffield/ Hope Valley born and bred violinist who has since added singing to her bow to explore the music Gershwin, Porter, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. Pavilion Café, Thursday (July 16), 9pm-10.30pm – £20.
Lunchtime Singing, monthly, 45-minute workshops on the City Hall stage (though not always) led by Val Regan and Andrea Small, Thursday, September 3, 1pm – £6. Also, October 1; November 5; December 3.
For details of Choral Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral and St John’s Church, Ranmoor, and music at daytime services, please see the respective websites of both in the ‘Who’s Doing It’ section of Classical Sheffield.