Friday 22 March 2013

London Song Festival develops

Nigel Foster's London Song Festival has some interesting new developments this year. First off, there is a smart new festival website. Then the festival itself has expanded and in addition to the autumn concert series, there are four events in a new spring/summer segment of the festival; these events provide the opportunity to hear the complete songs of Verdi and of Wagner. Finally, Foster has published Three Songs for Madame Vasnier, a group of hitherto unpublished Debussy songs.

Soprano Elisabeth Meister and bass-baritone Matthew Hargreaves will be performing all of Wagner's completed songs, not only the Wesendonck Lieder, but his French songs (written when he was in his 20's and trying to earn money in Paris) and his songs from Goethe's Faust. (May 23) Soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and tenor Nicholas Ransley will be performing all of Verdi's songs (June 5) Perhaps even less well-known than Wagner's songs, Verdi's bring something of the sweep of the opera house into the drawing room.

And on May 29 there is a concert celebrating the centenary of the Association of English Singers and Speakers, with soprano Sarah Leonard and baritone Stephen Varcoe, and celebrates the final three volumes of 'A Century of English Song' with the promise of some unknown jewels from the English song repertoire.

Also in this segment of the festival Sarah Walker will be giving a masterclass (June 11), with two classes, one for singers at music college level and above and one for singers under the age of 19.

All the concerts are accompanied by Nigel Foster. Foster also has edited Three Songs for Madame Vasnier which contains three hitherto unpublished songs by Debussy, Caprice, Rondel Chinois and La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin which were performed by Anna Devin, Gillian Keith and Nigel Foster at the London Song Festival in November 2012 as part of the complete Vasnier Songs. The publication contains translations, an introduction and notes on the songs. 

Further information on all the concerts and the Debussy songs from the London Song Festival website.  

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