Tom Service talks to English baritone Thomas Allen about what sustains him through decades of success in his profession.
As a new book about the poet Heinrich Heine is published, Music Matters examines his enduring appeal for composers from Schubert to Berg.
And there is an interview with composer Olga Neuwirth about her opera Lost Highway, based on the film by David Lynch, which opens at the Young Vic in London next month.
In this programme
Sir Thomas Allen
British baritone Sir Thomas Allen has a lifetime of experience on the operatic stage and in the concert hall. He continues to thrill audiences around the world with his singing, but he's also concerned with spearheading the development of some of Britain's brightest young singers. Through the Samling Foundation, of which he is patron, Sir Thomas is able to share the tricks of the trade with the new singing talent and to ensure that the craft is passed on to a new generation.
Tom talks with Sir Thomas about everything from his Northern work ethic to his relatively new interest in directing.
Sir Thomas Allen will be singing with the Halle orchestra in a programme of songs by Eric Coates and Benjamin Britten until April 24th and giving a recital at Peterhouse Theatre, Cambridge, on April 29th.
The poetry of German writer Heinrich Heine has inspired more than 8000 song settings, beginning with Schubert and the six Heine songs included in his collection Schwanengesang. In her new book on Heine, Susan Youens also looks at the cultural history both of the poems and of the composers who set Heine's writing. Tom discusses Heine's influence with Youens, and they are joined by pianist Roger Vignoles and baritone Stephan Loges to reflect on the alchemy of Heine's poetry in lieder.
Susan Youens: Heinrich Heine and the Lied, pub. Cambridge University Press, h/b £55
In a new collaboration between English National Opera and the Young Vic, Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth's opera Lost Highway comes to the London stage next month. Based on David Lynch's film and Barry Gifford's screenplay, the opera explores a disorientating world in which people end up inhabiting completely new identities, yet remain strangely trapped by their former selves. Tom asks Neuwirth about the appeal of this story, and goes along to rehearsals to find out from the production team what it's actually like.
Lost Highway is at London's Young Vic, 4th-11th April 2008
Remembering the life and music of Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott who died on Wednesday 12th March 2008 at the age of 78.
Hoddinott made an invaluable and lasting contribution to music in Wales, not only through his teaching in the music department at Cardiff University, but also in his prolific compositional output which included operas, symphonies, concertos and chamber music. Friends and colleagues, including harpist Osian Ellis, writer Geraint Lewis and former head of BBC Wales and Hoddinott's student, Huw Tregelles Williams, reflect on Hoddinott - the man and his music.