Roderick Williams baritone
Rowan Pierce soprano
Katie Bray mezzo-soprano
Nicky Spence tenor
James Newby baritone
Christopher Glynn piano
Jeremy Sams and Louise Shephard directors
For his final masterpiece, Hugo Wolf looked south – to Italy – and produced a collection of tiny jewel-like songs that paint a kaleidoscopic portrait of village life. The men and women of his Italian Songbook fall in and out of love, with squabbles and petty jealousies heard alongside serenades and love songs of great beauty. Darker undercurrents also occasionally emerge in a songbook that Wolf filled with humour and charm, sarcasm and tenderness, delight and despair. Like Mozart, Wolf creates characters that are astonishingly precise, vivid and detailed, but also somehow universal. And his tiny scenes of village life paint a bigger picture too: a whole world of human frailty, passion and pain. Roderick Williams heads a hand-picked cast of top British singers in a new staged English version of his Italian Songbook, created by Jeremy Sams and Christopher Glynn.
‘We don’t tend to perform art-song in translation, which is strange because it’s much more personal and direct than opera, and most composers would think it bizarre to see audience members turning pages rather than simply listening to the singers… An utterly and unexpectedly disarming performance. The deft, simple staging was very touching and very credible… Williams is a superb communicator.’ – The Times *****
‘a moving and entertaining (laugh-out-loud) presentation of the forty-six songs of Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch …We were in rich vocal company.’ – Classical Source *****
Pre- and post-concert bar. No interval.