JBM artists triumph in The Grange Festival’s ‘Albert Herring’
Tenor Richard Pinkstone made his professional opera debut in the title role of Britten's Albert Herring at the inaugural season of The Grange Festival. The Arts Desk writes:
"In perfect synch with their instrumental colleagues throughout, the singers are both magnificent soloists and - again as becomes especially apparent in Act 3 - team players. Richard Pinkstone gives us a different, and utterly credible, take on shop-boy Albert, the good boy voted May King since all the village girls are, in the words of the chief moralist, "not virgins but trollops". Tied to his widowed mum's apron strings but clearly strong enough to break loose from the first, this Albert has the operatic-tenor heft for the will to freedom in the voice from his very first scene, rather than the usual softer grain of the lyric-character choral scholar. The emancipation sees him very much in control; again, it's completely believable."
There will be further performances on 29 June, 1, 7 and 9 July. Full details here.
Richard Pinkstone as Albert and Kathleen Wilkinson as Mrs. Herring. Photographer: Alastair Muir.
Alessandro Fisher becomes Associate Artist for Classical Opera
We are thrilled to announce that tenor Alessandro Fisher has been announced as Associate Artist for the 2017/2018 Classical Opera season, alongside mezzo soprano Emily Edmonds and tenor Thomas Elwin.
The scheme was launched in 2006 by Classical Opera’s founder and artistic director Ian Page to consolidate the company’s work in assisting the development of young singers in the early stages of their career. Previous participants of the scheme include Louise Alder, Allen Clayton and Sophie Bevan.
Alessandro appeared as Christian in the company’s recent production of Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes. The new Associate Artists will all feature in a new semi-staging of Mozart’s La finta semplice at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 6 & 8 June 2018, and will also appear in a concert performance of the same opera at Birmingham Town Hall on 2 June 2018.
New releases for June
Anush Hovhannisyan sings Three Songs by Glinka with Malcolm Martineau, piano, on Decades: A Century of Song, Volume 2, now available on Vivat CD. Anita Watson sings Second Flowermaiden on Parsifal with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, now available on the Hallé’s own label.
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competitors announced
We are thrilled to anounce that Anush Hovhannisyan will represent Armenia at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 which will take place from 11th to the 18th June. The jury with be chaired by director David Pountney and include the competitions's patron Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Recent recordings roundup
Recent recordings featuring James Black artists include Anita Watson singing Fata Morgana: The Songs of Pavel Haas, available on Resonus CD; and The Complete Songs of Granados, featuring Carol Garcia, now available on IBS Classical CD.
Also recently released are Elgar’s Une voix dans le desert, featuring Jennifer France with the Hallé conducted by Sir Mark Elder (now available on the Hallé’s own label); and Wozzeck with the Houston Symphony conducted by Hans Graf (available on Naxos CD) featuring Marc Molomot alongside Anne Schwanewilms and Roman Trekel.
Jennifer France nominated for multiple awards for 2016 season roles
Jennifer France has been nominated for the 2016 Schaunard Award by the Dutch online opera magazine Place de l’Opera for her debut performance as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos at Nederlandse Reisopera in September 2016. The production, directed by Laurence Dale, has also been nominated for Outstanding Opera Production.
Of her performance, Peter Franken wrote in Opera Magazine of The Netherlands: "Jennifer France's coloratura "Großmächtige Prinzessin" proved an absolute showstopper. France could match up to Gruberova in her best years."
She has also been nominated for the Outstanding Achievement in Operatic Performance award for her performance as Adele in Die Fledermaus at Opera Holland Park in the What's On Stage Opera Poll 2017.
Hugh Canning wrote in the October 2016 issue of Opera: "Rising almost unobtrusively over this fine ensemble was Jennifer France's Adele, an obvious star turn ill-suited to life as a chambermaid - and singing both her Laughing Song and Audition piece with an easy, show-stopping bravura. I haven't seen an Adele to match her since Watson at Covent Garden back in 1989."
Jennifer France as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos. Photo: Marco Borggreve.
Award winning Anush Hovhannisyan
Congratulations to Anush Hovhannisyan who has been awarded one of the three prizes at the 2016 Concours international de Bel Canto Vincenzo Bellini held at the Opéra de Marseille. She will perform a recital as part of the Gstaad New Year Music Festival. Judges included the esteemed coloratura soprano Mady Mesplé and new singing talent Pretty Yende.
James Black artists feature in the inaugural season of new opera festival at the Grange
The inaugural Grange Festival opens in June 2017 under the Artistic Directorship of Michael Chance. Fiona Kimm sings Ericlea in the opening production of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, to be directed by Tim Supple and conducted by Michael Chance. In Albert Herring, to be conducted by Steuart Bedford and directed by John Copley, Richard Pinkstone sings Albert, Kathleen Wilkinson sings Mrs Herring, Alexander Robin Baker sings The Vicar and Timothy Nelson sings Sid.
JBM artists enjoy major success at Opera Holland Park 2016
La bohème (Christine Collins Young Artists Performance):
“Julien Van Mellaerts sang a very stylish and lively Schaunard.” Mark Ronan - Reviews
“…in a stand out performance, Jennifer France's dispatch of her two soubrette showpiece arias was spot-on and dazzling." Rupert Christiansen - The Telegraph
“Samantha Price makes a lively, luscious-sounding Prince Orlofsky.” Warwick Thompson - BLOUIN ARTINFO
“…exceptionally well conducted by John Rigby.” David Mellor - Daily Mail
The Queen of Spades:
"Star quality comes from Rosalind Plowright, whose Countess still boasts plenty of voice and a formidable stage presence." Richard Fairman - The Financial Times
These are just a selection of the reviews received by JBM artists during the 2016 Opera Holland Park season. A full roundup of Festival reviews will be posted in September.