Leeds Lieder Festival to turn poetry into song

EVENT: Leeds Lieder's 'Poetry into Song' will run from April 19 to 22. Picture: Robert Piwko.
EVENT: Leeds Lieder's 'Poetry into Song' will run from April 19 to 22. Picture: Robert Piwko.

World-class artists are to turn poetry into song during next month’s Leeds Lieder Festival.

Opera legend Sir Thomas Allen is the four-day festival’s guest of honour. He will also perform at a community Bring & Sing on April 19, give masterclasses and feature ‘In Conversation’ with BBC Radio 3’s Donald Macleod.

HONOURED GUEST: Opera star Sir Thomas Allen

HONOURED GUEST: Opera star Sir Thomas Allen

The April 19 to 22 event will cover the cornerstones of the Lieder repertoire alongside works written especially for this year’s festival.

Artistic director Joseph Middleton said: “A critic last year wrote that we had presented ‘a flourishing...outstanding...relentless sequence of superb recitals’ and this year we have programmed even more. Repertoire will span from the 18th Century to works written specifically for the thriving 2018 Leeds Lieder audience, an audience that has, thanks to our rich and adventurous programming grown significantly in the past few years and is helping to keep this marvellous art form alive.”

Pianist Mr Middleton is to open the festival with his musical partner, Gramophone Award-winning soprano Carolyn Sampson, on April 19. They will be joined by one of the finest young Lieder interpreters, tenor Julian Prégardien, for a performance of Robert Schumann’s Myrthen at The Venue at Leeds College of Music, which will stage all events.

Other highlights include composer Daniel Kidane presenting a brand new song cycle Songs of Illumination on April 22 set to poetry by William Blake. . Louise Alder, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, will also join Mr Middleton on April 20 to perform ‘songs of longing, love and lust’. It will feature works by Strauss, Debussy, Britten, Liszt and Hahn.

Legends of the Lieder world bass-baritone Robert Holl and pianist Graham Johnson will close the festival on April 22 with Schubert’s masterpiece Winterreise set to poems by Wilhelm Müller. See www.leedslieder.org.uk for more.

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