Those of you who were fortunate enough to see Falstaff, the runaway success of the 2019 Festival, will, I am sure, be delighted to hear that Christopher Luscombe is bringing his new production of Pagliacci to The Grange on 13 December. Peter Auty leads the starry cast in the role of Canio, the travelling showman. He is joined by Robert Hayward, Elin Pritchard and Nicholas Lester, who were all part of that marvellous Falstaff, and Aled Hall. The conductor is John Andrews, music director of our recent Precipice production. Music is provided by pianist Berrak Dyer, with violinist Fenella Humphries and cellist Sophie Gledhill.
Elin Pritchard’s vision, after six months without performance, was simple – and complex: just put on a show. And in Pagliacci she has chosen a piece of verismo – real-life – opera, that has been thrilling audiences ever since its sensational première in 1892.
Thrilling from its very opening bars, it is opera at its most visceral. It is set in the heat of Calabria in the south of Italy. Listen out for Canio’s heartbreaking aria, ‘Vesti la giubba’.
Elin says: ‘By coming together to perform Pagliacci, we will keep our passion for opera alive whilst promoting this wonderful art form. Between us there’s a wealth of experience, dedication and creativity topped off with friendship and huge respect. ‘Let’s hope this is a recipe for a great evening out.’
Peter Auty is established as one of Britain’s leading tenors. Following his professional debut at Opera North, Peter went on to become a company principal at the Royal Opera House, where he has since returned as guest singing the roles of Malcolm Macbeth and Arturo Lucia di Lammermoor.
Elsewhere in the UK Peter Auty has sung Cavaradossi Tosca for Grange Park Opera, Des Grieux Manon Lescaut, Count Vaudémont Iolanta, Alvaro La Forza del Destino, Radames Aida, Turiddu Cavalleria Rusticana, Canio I Pagliacci, Maurizio Adriana Lecouvreur and Lensky Eugene Onegin for Opera Holland Park, Macduff Macbeth, Nemorino L’elisir d’amore for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Don José Carmen and Rodolfo La Bohéme for Glyndebourne on Tour, Italian Tenor Der Rosenkavalier, Duke Rigoletto, Rodolfo La Bohéme, Dick Johnson The Girl of the Golden West, Pollione Norma, Turiddu and Gabriele Simon Boccanegra for English National Opera, Fritz Kobus Amico Fritz, Alfredo La Traviata, Don José, title role in Faust for Opera North, Rodolfo and Don José for Scottish Opera, and Canio and Turiddu for Welsh National Opera.
On the concert platform Peter Auty has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra (Sir Colin Davis), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Sir Mark Elder), and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Neeme Järvi, Vladimir Jurowsky). Appearances abroad have included concerts with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Edward Gardner, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic under Edo de Waart, and the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo.
Recent highlights include a return to Welsh National Opera as Don José, Johnson for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and the title role in Puccini’s Edgar for Scottish Opera and at Konzerthaus Berlin.
Welsh Soprano Elin Pritchard is a graduate of the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she was awarded a Master of Opera with distinction and a Master of Music, and of London’s National Opera Studio. She is also a Samling Artist.
Her operatic roles have included Micaëla Carmen (Mid Wales Opera), Female Chorus The Rape of Lucretia (British Youth Opera, Miss Jessel The Turn of the Screw, Nella Gianni Schicchi, Giorgetta Il tabarro, Stella I Gioielli della Madonna and Musetta La bohème (Opera Holland Park), Lucia Lucia di Lammermoor (Buxton Festival Opera), Fiordiligi Così fan tutte (Den Jyske Opera), and Donna Elvira Don Giovanni (Finnish National Opera). For Scottish Opera, she has sung Donna Elvira, Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress and Violetta La traviata.
Elin is equally in demand on the concert platform with repertoire including Bruckner Mass in F Minor, Brahms Requiem, Dvorak Te Deum, Fauré Requiem, Mendelssohn Elijah, Mozart Coronation Mass, Mass in C Minor and Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle and Stabat Mater, Rutter Requiem and Verdi Requiem.
Recent and future engagements include Kupava The Snow Maiden and Nedda I Pagliacci (Opera North), Violetta and Tatyana Eugene Onegin (Den Jyske Opera), Tosca (English Touring Opera), Miss Jessel (ENO at the Regent’s Park Theatre), Adalgisa in a concert performance of Norma (Chelsea Opera Group), Marie /Daughter of the Regiment for Opera della Luna (Buxton Festival), Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra), Poulenc Gloria (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), Haydn St Nicholas (English Chamber Orchestra), Mahler Symphony No. 4 (Northern Chords Festival), Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony (Brighton Philharmonic), Hathaway – Eight Arias for a Bardic Life (Buxton Festival), Brahms Requiem (Ulster Orchestra) and at St John’s Smith Square and Opera Galas (Clonter Opera and the Samling Foundation at the Wigmore Hall).
Robert Hayward made his professional opera debut singing the title role in Don Giovanni for Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 1986.
He has performed at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Frankfurt Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera in a wide repertoire including Wotan The Ring, Amfortas Parsifal, Jokanaan Salome, the title roles in Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni, Mazeppa, Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff and Macbeth; Iago Otello, Scarpia Tosca, Marcello La bohème, Escamillo Carmen, Tomsky The Queen of Spades, Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress, Mandryka Arabella, Golaud Pelleas et Melisande, Kurwenal Tristan, Prince Ivan Khovansky Khovanshchina, Simone in Zemlinsky’s Florentine Tragedy and Telramund Lohengrin.
Recent and forthcoming operatic engagements include Fidelio, Moses und Aaron, Khovanschina (WNO), The Makropulous Case, Tosca, Peter Grimes, Die Walküre, Andréa Chenier, Jokannen and Scarpia (Opera North), Lady Macbeth and the Chief of Police Jack the Ripper (ENO), Jokannen (Northern Ireland Opera), title role in Bluebeard’s Castle and Telramund (Frankfurt Opera), Damnation of Faust (Staatstheater Stuttgart), the title role in Mazeppa and Moses, Moses und Aron (Komische Oper Berlin), Bluebeard’s Castle (Scottish Opera, Los Angeles Opera and in concert with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).
Nicholas Lester studied at the Adelaide Conservatorium of Music and the National Opera Studio, London (where he lives as a dual Australian/British Citizen)‚ sponsored by Glyndebourne. He was a State Opera of South Australia Young Artist.
Recent and future plans include title role Eugene Onegin and Figaro Il barbiere di Siviglia (Welsh National Opera)‚ Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte‚ Dandini La Cenerentola, Figaro Il barbiere di Siviglia (voted “Best Male in a Leading Role” by the audience) and Frédéric Lakmé (Opera Holland Park)‚ Marcello, Valentin Faust (Dorset Opera Festival)‚ Josef K in Philip Glass’s The Trial‚ Germano La Scala di Seta‚ Dr Malatesta Don Pasquale and Ping Turandot (Scottish Opera)‚ Marcello (English National Opera)‚ Guglielmo (Danish National Opera)‚ Daddy Bear Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs (The Opera Story)‚ Escamillo Carmen (Mid Wales Opera) and Gianni Schicchi (Amsterdam).
Notable concerts include Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen for Maurice Béjart’s ballet Song of a Wayfarer (English National Ballet)‚ Brahms Requiem (Beijing)‚ Vaughan-Williams Five Mystical Songs (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra)‚ Fauré Requiem (St Martin-in-the-Fields) and Messiah under Laurence Cummings.
Nicholas was a recipient of an Independent Opera/NOS Postgraduate Voice Fellowship‚ awards from the Simon Fletcher and Tait Memorial Trusts, Glyndebourne’s Anne Woods/Johanna Peters award and is grateful for support from Chris Ball and Serena Fenwick.
Hall’s recent and future engagements include Normanno in Katie Mitchell’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Abbé in Sir David McVicar’s Andrea Chénier for the Royal Opera House; his return to Scottish Opera as Spoletta in Tosca, and a concert performance of Mascagni’s Iris both under the baton of music director Stuart Stratford; and the role of Charles James Fox in the world premiere of Georgiana at Buxton international Festival.
Previous seasons highlights both in the UK and abroad have included Valzacchi Der Rosenkavalier (Royal Swedish Opera); Pang Turandot, Spoletta Tosca, the Dancing Master Manon Lescaut (Royal Opera House); Don Curzio Le nozze di Figaro (Aix-en-Provence, Tokyo, Baden Baden); Mr. Upfold Albert Herring (Salzburger Landestheater); Valzacchi Der Rosenkavalier, Maintop Billy Budd and Gherardo Gianni Schicchi (Opera North); Don Basilio/Don Curzio, Beadle Bamford, Monostatos, Scaramuccio, and Remendado (Welsh National Opera); Don Basilio, Bardolpho and Frisellino Le Pescatrici (Garsington Opera); Tinca and Gherardo Il Trittico, Flaminio L’amore dei tre Re, Chekalinsky The Queen of Spades, Isèpo La Gioconda, Almeric Iolanta, Lord Cecil Roberto Devereux, Trabuco La Forza del destino, Ser Toldo Berardengo Francesca da Rimini, Arturo Lucia di Lammermoor, Borsa, and Don Basilio/Don Curzio (Opera Holland Park); Gastone (English National Opera); Matteo Borsa Rigoletto and Almeric Iolanta (Scottish Opera); Spoletta, and The Duke of Dunstable Patience (English Touring Opera); Messenger Aida (Bergen National Opera); and Lo Zio Vezinet Il cappello di paglia di Firenze, and Ippia Saffo, Danilowitz L’Etoile du Nord (Wexford Festival Opera/both recorded on the Marco Polo label).
On the concert platform Hall’s highlights include Carmina Burana with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall; Facio in Offenbach’s Fantasio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Ebbone in Mercadante’s I Normanni a Parigi with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Osburgo in Bellini’s La Straniera with London Philharmonic Orchestra all for Opera Rara at the Royal Festival Hall, London; Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall conducted by Sir David Willcocks; a British Tour of Messiah by Candlelight for Raymond Gubbay Limited; Mozart Requiem with the London Mozart Players at the Fishguard International Festival; tenor soloist in the first London performance of Daniel Jones’ oratorio St. Peter; Spoletta Tosca in the Welsh Proms at St. David’s Hall, Cardiff; and Janácek’s Diary of the one who Disappeared and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at Wexford International Festival.