Tuesday 28 June 2022

Voices of Power: Luke Styles' new oratorio at Three Choirs Festival

Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir (Photo: Michael Whitefoot)
Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir (Photo: Michael Whitefoot)

Having had his saxophone concerto Tracks in the Orbit premiered by BBC National Orchestra of Wales at Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff in April of this year, composer Luke Styles is back with another large-scale premiere at this year's Three Choirs Festival. On 28 July 2022 at Hereford Cathedral, Samuel Hudson conducts the premiere of Luke Styles' Voices of Power with contralto Hilary Summers, the Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir and the Philharmonia Orchestra at a concert which also includes music by Judith Weir, Sarah Kirkland Snider and the 17th century Italian nun Peruchona.

Styles' new work is an oratorio setting text by poet and author Jessica Walker which contemplates the nature of power across the centuries. The protagonists of the piece are seven powerful women stretching over two millennia, from Roman times to the present day: Boudica, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Margaret Thatcher, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton and Jacinda Ardern. The work was written specifically for Hilary Summers and the young voices of the Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir, whose members are aged 14 to 25.

In July 2021, I chatted to Luke about his new opera at the Cheltenham Music Festival, see my interview 'Exploring big themes'.

Full details from the festival website.

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