Almost 30 years after her recital debut, Irish mezzo-soprano Ann Murray is preparing to give her last full recital programme at London’s Wigmore Hall. Born in Dublin she came to Manchester to study with Frederick Cox, and went on to perform extensively with both English National Opera and the Royal Opera House, as well as singing the great Handel, Strauss and Mozart operatic roles internationally. She has also been much sought after as a recitalist and in 2002 was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to music.Ann Murray performs her farewell recital programme at the Wigmore Hall on 19th June
Tom Service talks to Ann at home about her early experiences as a singer in the 60s and 70s, and about some of the key mentors in her life, including conductors Riccardo Muti and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Swiss director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.
Photo: Ann Murray © Sian Trenberth
Ifield Community College Choir
When the population of Diego Garcia was forcibly removed by the British from their island in the Chagossian archipelago to make way for an American naval base in the 1960s and 70s and relocated to Mauritius, it was the start of a long and complex legal battle for human and habitation rights that's still going in the courts today. The result is that in recent years 2000 Chagossians have moved from Mauritius to Crawley, West Sussex, and the population is having a big creative and social impact on the community. At Ifield Community College, the school’s award winning choir, which has 14 nationalities represented and sings music from all over the world, has recently had its numbers swelled by a group of Chagossian pupils who have brought their native drumming and singing traditions to the school.Ifield Community College Choir perform at the BBC Maida Vale Studios on Saturday 18th at 2pm
Head of Music Patrick Allen talks to Tom about the chance encounter that led him to discover the rich musical heritage of the Chagossian pupils, and he and the musicians themselves explain how the drums have enriched the life of the choir.
Photo: Ifield Community College Choir © Ifield Community College Choir, Crawley
Schoenberg’s New World
As a refugee from Nazi Europe, Arnold Schoenberg spent a significant part of his creative life in the United States, from 1933-1951, where he produced a rich variety of works and distinguished himself as an influential teacher. A new book by musicologist Sabine Feisst seeks to illuminate the legacy of Schoenberg's New World sojourn. Looking at the first American performances of his works and the dissemination of his ideas among American composers in the 1910s, 1920s and early 1930s it explores the ways in which the composer came to terms with his various national identities in his life and work.Schoenberg’s New World by Sabine Feisst is available from Oxford University Press
Tom talks to Sabine Feisst about the significance of this period, and to the composer’s daughter Nuria, about family life in Los Angeles where she was raised. With an archive contribution from the composer himself, recorded in the late 40s during his time in the US.
Photo: Arnold Schoenberg c.1945 © Arnold Schoenberg Centre.
This week sees the opening of a new opera by the virtuosic young American composer Nico Muhly. Loosely inspired by actual events that happened in an English industrial city, Two Boys explores the dark side of online interaction. Taking the case of a teenage stabbing initiated by an online meeting as a starting point, the opera is part detective thriller, part psychological exploration, and part tale of multiple identities. Muhly has described the piece as 'what would happen if the children from Britten's Turn of the Screw had the internet'…English National Opera’s production of Two Boys runs from the 24th June – 8th July at the Coliseum
Tom visits rehearsals and talks to Nico Muhly about the challenges of his operatic debut, and his collaborators director Bartlett Sher and librettist Craig Lucas discuss the creation of a multi-dimensional opera.
Photo: Two Boys © Samantha West
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