Benjamin Appl & Jennifer Johnston Headline Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2019-20 Season

By Nicole Kuchta

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has announced its 2019-20 season. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on vocal performances.

Soprano Anna Crookes will be joined by flutist Fiona Fulton, cellist Jonathan Aasgaard, and pianist Ian Buckle of Pixels Ensemble to perform works by Hildegard of Bingen, Dani Howard, George Crumb, Luciano Berio, and Maurice Ravel.

Performance Date: Sept. 16, 2019

Neil Innes will host “And In The End: A Celebration of 50 Years of Abbey Road and Let It Be,” featuring The Bootleg Beatles. The ensemble will add a classical twist and perform Ian Stephens’ arranged versions of Beatles classics including “Here Comes the Sun,” “Come Together,” and “The Long and Winding Road.” Richard Balcombe will conduct.

Performance Dates: Sept. 26 & 27, 2019

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston will launch her residency at Liverpool Philharmonic by presenting “A Love Letter to Liverpool,” an homage to her hometown. The program will include Pete McGovern’s (arr. Carmel Smickersgill) “In My Liverpool Home,” Richard Miller’s (McGough) “The Gateway to the Atlantic,” and Stan Kelly’s (arr. Bethan Morgan-Williams) “Liverpool Lullaby.” She will be accompanied by pianist Alisdair Hogarth.

Performance Dates: Sept. 29 & 30, 2019

Richard Farnes will lead the orchestra during “British Classics,” an evening featuring works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, and Britten. Featured vocalists will include soprano Elizabeth Watts, mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds, and tenor Allan Clayton, along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir.

Performance Date: Nov. 9, 2019

Singers from the West End will perform with the orchestra during “Elton John – 50 Years of Your Song.” Richard Balcombe will conduct.

Performance Date: Nov. 23, 2019

Clare Teal will be joined by conductor Guy Barker and the orchestra for “In the Christmas Mood,” featuring classic holiday tunes such as “The Christmas Song,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and “Merry Christmas Baby.”

Performance Date: Dec. 11, 2019

Alfonso Casado Triago will lead the orchestra during “New Year’s Eve: James Bond,” featuring singers from West End International: Jenna Lee-James, Rachel Wooding, Jon Boydon, and Nadim Naaman.

Performance Date: Dec. 31, 2019

Handel’s “Messiah” will feature soprano Jeanine De Bique, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston, tenor Oliver Johnston, and bass William Thomas, along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. Sofi Jeannin will conduct.

Performance Date: Jan. 4, 2020

Baritone Benjamin Appl will perform songs by Schubert during “Petrenko’s Mahler I,” with the orchestra led by Vasily Petrenko. The program will also include Webern’s “Im Sommerwind” and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

Performance Date: Jan. 23, 2020

Appl will return during “Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony” to perform songs by Schubert. The program will also include Rossini’s Overture to “William Tell,” Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral.”

Performance Date: Jan. 26, 2020

Matt Ford and Singers from the West End will perform during “Songs from the Musicals for Valentine’s Day,” with the orchestra led by Anthony Gabriele. Selections by Gershwin, Sondheim, Bernstein, Herman, and Rodgers and Hammerstein will include “Younger Than Springtime,” “Falling In Love With Love,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “If I Loved You,” “I Won’t Send Roses,” “One Hand, One Heart,” among many others.

Performance Date: Feb. 14, 2020

Andrew Manze will conduct Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” featuring soprano Sarah Wegener, mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland, tenor Steve Davislim, and bass Christopher Purves, along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. The program will also include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4.

Performance Date: Feb. 15, 2020

“Petrenko’s Maher II,” including songs by Mahler and his Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” will feature soprano Miah Persson, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir.

Performance Date: Feb. 27, 2020

“Jennifer Johnston: A Journeywoman’s Tale” will feature Johnston alongside pianist Joseph Middleton. She will perform works sharing themes of migration, travel and the concept of ‘home.’ The program will include works by Head, Gurney, Ireland, Ives, Britten, Warlock, Vaughan Williams, Wolf, Schumann, and Mahler.

Performance Date: Mar. 4, 2020

Jennifer Johnston will be featured along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir during “Petrenko’s Mahler III,” with Petrenko leading a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

Performance Date: Mar. 21, 2020

Nathalie Stutzmann will lead the orchestra during “Ode to Joy,” featuring soprano Ekaterina Siurina, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston, tenor Bror Magnus Todenes, and baritone Leon Kosavic, along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. The program will include Brahms’ “Nänie,” Wagner’s Act I Prelude from “Parsifal,” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral.”

Performance Dates: Mar. 26 & 29, 2020

“Petrenko’s Mahler IV” will include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, along with Beethoven’s “Ah! Perfido” and Piano Concerto No. 4. Soprano Susanne Bernhard and pianist Boris Giltburg will be featured.

Performance Date: Apr. 23, 2020

During “The King’s Singers: Finding Harmony,” the King’s Singers will perform Harry Dixon Leos’ (arr. Stacey V. Gibbs) “This Little Light of Mine,” Williams Byrd’s “Ne irascaris, Domine,” Thomas Tallis’ “God grant with grace,” and Ariana Grande’s (arr. Richard Wilberforce) “One Last Time.”

Performance Date: May 19, 2020

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir will be featured during “Petrenko’s Mahler VII.” The program will include Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 and the world premiere of Grace-Evangeline Mason’s “Mahler’s Letters” for a cappella choir. Petrenko and Ellie Slorach will conduct.

Performance Date: Jun. 11, 2020

Anthony Weeden will lead the orchestra during “American Songbook with Gary Williams.” Williams will perform Las Vegas classics and jazz standards – hits by Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, and Nat ‘King’ Cole.

Performance Date: Jul. 4, 2020