Sunday, April 2, 2023 - 3:00 PM
Making her debut, this celebrated British soprano has a busy international career and appeared in the title role of Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera last fall. She offers a program celebrating a turn-of-the-20th-century British-Black composer and his influences.
Songs by Coleridge-Taylor, Brahms, Villiers Stanford, Puccini, R. Strauss, and Verdi
Sponsored by Margery G. & Michael Whiteman
RUNTIME: 2 HOURS
General Admission seating – doors open 45 minutes before concert.
All kids and college students admitted free at door.
Ticket information and policies
Known for her vivid portrayals of Puccini heroines and for her full, distinctive voice, London-born soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn has quickly risen through the ranks since making her debut as Mimi La bohéme at English National Opera, establishing herself internationally as an artist of distinction. She has been praised for her “rich, opulent voice” (The Times) as well as for her “beautiful depth of expression and emotional intelligence” (Telegraph). Elizabeth studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio, supported by the Peter Moores Foundation.
Elizabeth begins her 21-22 season with a return to the Wigmore Hall for a recital alongside pianist Simon Lepper, with a programme featuring Finzi, Puccini, Verdi and Walton. Operatic highlights include a return to the Metropolitan Opera to sing Bess in James Robinsons’ production of Porgy & Bess, as well as her role and company debut as Jenůfa at Welsh National Opera, and as Desdemona Otello for Grange Park Opera. Continuing her work exploring the songs of Samuel-Coleridge Taylor, Elizabeth will perform recitals at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Sheffield University and Stapleford Granary. Further recitals include Balliol College at Oxford University and as part of the Classical Vauxhall series.
In May 2021, Elizabeth released her debut solo album Heart & Hereafter. Curated and recorded in collaboration with renowned pianist Simon Lepper and Orchid Classics, the album is a collection of songs by British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, many of which have never been recorded before. Prior to the release, Elizabeth performed songs from the disc in recitals at Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh and for her Wigmore Hall debut, broadcast online and on BBC Radio 3 live in-concert. Upon release Heart & Hereafter reached the Top 5 on the iTunes classical album charts and was named “Album of the Week” in the Sunday Times.
In 2018 Elizabeth made her US debut with Seattle Opera as Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a role that she went to sing in her house debut at the Metropolitan Opera last season. In more recent years, Elizabeth has established herself as a notable lyrico spinto soprano, singing the title roles in Verdi’s Luisa Miller for English National Opera, Aida at the Theater Bielefeld, Manon Lescaut with Opera Holland Park, as well as Puccini’s Tosca and the role of Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin, both at the Theater Magdeburg, Germany. Elizabeth was also nominated for “Singer of the Year 2013” in OpernWelt magazine for her portrayal of Amelia Grimaldi in Simon Boccangera; a role she later performed with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra. Elizabeth also sang the title role of Suor Angelica and Giorgetta Il Tabarro for the Royal Danish Opera, and returned there to make her acclaimed debut in the title role of Madama Butterfly.
Elizabeth’s recent notable debuts have included her company debut with Scottish Opera, singing Mimì in a socially distanced outdoor production of La Bohème - one of the first operas to be staged in the UK following the Covid-19 crisis, and later a return to Scottish Opera to make her debut as Alice Ford in a new co-production of Falstaff by Sir David McVicar, both in Glasgow and at the Edinburgh International Festival. On the concert platform recent highlights include performing Mozart Requiem at the London Coliseum for English National Opera’s first public performance since lockdown, which was broadcast live to audiences on BBC 2, reaching 513k viewers that evening alone.
Further roles include Margherita/Elena in Boito’s Mefistofele with Chelsea Opera Group. Magda de Civry La Rondine (Opera Holland Park); Fiordiligi Così fan tutte (Theater Magdeburg; Opera Holland Park), Contessa Le Nozze di Figaro (ENO; Opera Holland Park); Governess The Turn of the Screw (Arcola Theatre); Donna Elvira Don Giovanni (Theater Magdeburg; Bergen National Opera); Bess Porgy and Bess (Royal Danish Opera); title role in The Merry Widow (Cape Town Opera) and the title role in The Iris Murder (Hebrides Ensemble). Elizabeth’s concert appearances have also included Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Richard Farnes, a Rosenblatt Recital, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Verdi Requiem, Britten War Requiem, Tippett A Child of Our Time with Ryan Wigglesworth, a Gala Concert with Joseph Calleja recorded for Classic FM, and a live performance of Strauss Vier Letzte Lieder on BBC Radio 3 with Donald Runnicles/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Elizabeth has also recorded Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony with BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the role of Eigen in Elgar’s Caractacus for Hyperion, both under the baton of Martyn Brabbins.
British pianist Simon Lepper read music at King’s College, Cambridge before studying piano accompaniment with Michael Dussek at the Royal Academy of Music and later with Ruben Lifschitz at the Fondation Royaumont. He is a currently professor of collaborative piano and a vocal repertoire coach at the Royal College of Music, London where he also in charge of the collaborative piano course. Since 2003 he has been an official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Performance highlights have included an invitation from the Wigmore Hall, London to present a three concert project on the songs of Joseph Marx; recital tours with Stéphane Degout which have included the Ravinia and Edinburgh Festivals and the opera houses of Bordeaux, Dijon, La Monnaie, Lausanne and Lyon; recitals at Carnegie Hall, New York with Karen Cargill and Sally Matthews and at the Frick Collection with Christopher Purves; performances of the Schubert song cycles with Gerald Finley as well as Mark Padmore including at the Schubertiade, Hohenhems, recitals with Christiane Karg at Frankfrut Opera and the Rheingau Fesitval and recitals with Angelika Kirchschlager in Verbier and at the Wigmore Hall.
He has presented an all Schubert programme with Ilker Arcayürek in Barcelona, Zürich, New York (Park Armory), San Francisco and at the Wigmore Hall where further appearances have included recitals with Dame Felicity Palmer, Karen Cargill, Sally Matthews and Mark Padmore. With Benjamin Appl he toured to India including recitals in Mumbai and Chennai and gave the opening performance for the highest concert hall in the wolrd in Shenzhen with Aida Garifulina. Future highlights include a European tour with Stéphane Degout,, recitals at the Wigmore Hall and with singers including Ilker Arcayurek, Karen Cargill, Simon Bode,, Elizabeth Llewllyn and Gweneth Ann Rand.
His discography includes 2 volumes of Debussy Songs and a Strauss disc with Gillian Keith, a disc of Mahler songs with Karen Cargill, the complete songs of Jonathan Dove with Kitty Whately and a CD of contemporary violin works with Carolin Widmann which received a Diapason d’or. Recent releases include a song recital disc with Dame Felicity Palmer, a CD of Schubert songs with tenor Ilker Arcayürek a disc of Ballads with Stéphane Degout as well as recital disc “Poèmes d’un jour” which was a Gramophone magazine editor’s choice. Future CD releases include French Song with Karen Cargill, a second Schubert disc with Ilker Arcayürek and the songs of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor with Elizabeth Llewllyn.