Lucy Crowe, Danielle de Niese & Elin Manahan Thomas Headline Cheltenham Music Festival 2019

By Nicole Kuchta

Cheltenham Music Festival has announced its 2019 slate of performances. For the purposes of this article, we will highlight mainly vocal and opera-related performances in the lineup.

Cheltenham Music Festival will celebrate its 75th Anniversary this year with an ambitious program featuring 20 world premieres and a community opera, with a focus on women composers and performers. The Festival, under the direction of new Artistic Director Alison Balsom, will take place from July 5-14, 2019.

Opening weekend of the Festival, in partnership with Classic FM, will feature a variety of free concerts and family activities. The full weekend lineup of concerts, pop-up performances, and showcases at Imperial Square will be announced in June. The London Symphony Orchestra, led by Elim Chan, will present the first evening concert of the Festival and will feature the world premiere of a new work by Dani Howard.

Performance Dates: July 5-7, 2019

Classical Mixtapes, an informal evening of performances by some of the UK’s finest classical artists, will be held in Tewkesbury Abbey. The event will include the UK and world premieres of works by Einojuhani Rautavaara and Betsy Jolas, alongside the classics of Handel, Chopin, Bach, and Mozart.

Performance Date: July 8, 2019

Musica Clandestina will take place in the Pittville Pump Room, and will feature Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and harpsichordist Alastair Ross. The program will feature works by Barbara Strozzi in celebration of her 400th birthday, as well as works by her contemporaries, Monteverdi and Carissimi.

Performance Date: July 9, 2019

The inaugural Composium, to be held in celebration of the Festival’s foundation as a place for composers and new music, will consist of a full day of events for music lovers. Included will be talks, panel sessions, performances and premieres of contemporary works, and opportunities to network with industry leaders. Thea Musgrave CBE will appear as keynote speaker. The event will be held in the Pittville Pump Room.

Performance Date: July 10, 2019

Soprano Danielle de Niese will appear in recital. The program is set to include Gounod’s “The Jewel Song;” Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga;” Bizet’s “Chanson d’Avril” and “Adieu de l’hotesse arabe;” Mozart’s “Ah Fuggi il Traditor” and “Mi tradi;” Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro;” Gershwin’s “Summertime” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off;” Whiting’s “Too marvelous for words;” Porter’s “I get a kick out of you” and “I hate men;” Gershwin’s “I got rythm;” Herbert’s “Art is calling for me;” Lehar’s “Meine Lippen Sie Kussen so Heiss;” and Lara’s “Granada.”

Performance Date: July 10, 2019

Director Suzi Digby will present Music of Rome featuring the a cappella vocal group ORA Singers, winners of Best Ensemble of the Year 2018 at the Opus Klassik awards. The program is inspired by Rome’s rich catalog of Renaissance composers, the highlights being two choral classics: Allegri’s “Miserere” and James MacMillan’s modern setting of the same text. Freya Waley-Cohen will conduct the performance, which will be held in Cheltenham College Chapel.

Performance Date: July 10, 2019

The ORA Singers will return to present M29 Elizabeth, Our Queen, featuring a program that celebrates the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Enjoy enchanting madrigals sung alongside works by modern composers set to Shakespearean and Elizabethan texts. The event will be held in the Pittville Pump Room.

Performance Date: July 11, 2019

Female Portraits, to be held in the Pittville Pump Room, will feature soprano Lucy Crowe in recital with pianist Anna Tilbrook. Crowe’s selection of songs touches upon the themes of betrayed women, eroticism, and chastity. The program will open with the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s “Youth Gone,” written for the Festival’s 75th anniversary, and will also include works by Purcell, Schubert, Mendelssohn, R. Schumann, Wolf, R. Strauss, Hahn, Fauré, Debussy, Duparc, Paladilhe, Walton, Britten, H. Carmichael, and C. Porter.

Performance Date: July 12, 2019

Director Bryn Holding will present two performances of composer Michael Betteridge and librettist Miranda Walker’s new community opera “Across the Sky,” the culmination of a four-year project run in West Cheltenham. Glyn Oxley will conduct. Performers will include pupils from Hesters Way and St. Thomas More Primary School, along with students from All Saints’ Academy. Soloists are TBA. During these performances, locals of all ages are able to take center stage alongside professional musicians.

Performance Date: July 14, 2019

Music and the Moving Image will be held at the Town Hall’s Main Stage and will feature Oscar-winning film and stage director Sam Mendes and author and WQXR’s Creative Director Clemency Burton-Hill. The two will discuss the central role that music plays in works of the stage and screen, and the relationship between music and the moving image.

Performance Date: July 14, 2019