Proms at St Jude’s: Lesley Garrett and Maria Friedman among stars of this year’s programme
17:00 13 May 2014
Keen amateur musician Thomas Radice, a trustee of the Proms at St Jude’s Music & Literary Festival and programme note author, selects his highlights of the 2014 programme:
Fans of the human voice are spoilt for choice in this year’s festival.
Our first evening (Saturday, June 21) sees a full concert performance of Puccini’s operatic masterpiece La Bohème, brought to us by Nevill Holt Opera under its artistic director Nicholas Chalmers. The company, now in its second year, promotes the best of young British talent, showcasing young singers in challenging roles and offering them a stepping-stone to international productions. We are privileged that veteran conductor, BBC producer and writer Bernard Keeffe has written especially for us a note that vividly sets the scene of the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1830s.
The next evening (Sunday, June 22) we welcome back chanteuse Maria Friedman and her musical partner Jason Carr in their show Lenny & Steve – taking us on a tour of Broadway hits by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, of which Maria is an outstanding exponent.
A constellation of rising talent from the Royal College of Music follows on Thursday, June 26: the Elia Ensemble & Choir, under their charismatic young director Theo Bamber, open with Handel’s uplifting coronation anthem Zadok the Priest, followed by the composer’s rarely heard oratorio Esther. Hampstead Garden Suburb resident and the ensemble’s patron Professor Lord Robert Winston will introduce the work and explain the special resonance of the story as the basis of the Jewish festival of Purim.
Finally, those who are lucky enough to get tickets for the Last Night of the Proms (Sunday, June 29) will enjoy listening to celebrity soprano Lesley Garrett in gems from the operatic and concert stage, culminating in the indispensable high jinks and flag-waving.
* For more details or to book tickets, visit promsatstjudes.org.uk or call 020 3322 8123.