bury  singing bach  since choir  1932
bury                                 singing bach                                 since  choir                                 1932

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15.06.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Bury Bach Choir is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram To find out about joining the choir or coming to our concerts visit burybachchoir.co.uk
12.06.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Australian mezzo-soprano sings Purcell with Bury Bach Choir Bury Bach Choir is looking forward to welcoming Bronwen Stephens to Bury St Edmunds, to sing the roles of Second Witch and Second Woman in our concert performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on Saturday 15 June at The Apex. Bronwen began her vocal studies at Pembroke School, in Australia, and was a member of its acclaimed Girls’ Choir and the Adelaide Youth Choir.  Following a career in the corporate world, she returned to intensive vocal studies in 2014, completing a Diploma in Opera and Performing Arts at Associated Studios in London.  For several years she was a member of the London Philharmonic Choir and Voce Chamber Choir, performing in London and on tour in Europe and Australasia. In 2015, Bronwen made her operatic title role debut as Carmen in London with Secret Opera and also premièred as Madre Germont in the company’s all female production of Verdi’s La Traviata – ‘The Trousered Traviata’ - with performances in London and on tour in the south east of England, including at the Brighton Fringe.  Other roles include Mercedes in Carmen for the New London Opera Players, Bianca in La Rondine, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana for Opera Passione and Mistress of the Novices in Suor Angelica for Skull of Yorick Productions in Thessaloniki, Greece.  In 2017,  Bronwen returned to Greece to sing Amore and Valetto in L’incoronazione di Poppea and  Suzuki in Madame Butterfly.  In 2018, Bronwen established Rogue Opera, which provides intimate fully-staged productions of classic operas for new audiences and spaces.  With Rogue Opera, Bronwen returned to the title role in Carmen in 2018 at the Wandsworth Arts Fringe and continues to tour the production to unique venues around the UK.  She will sing Donna Elvira in the company’s 2019 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Tickets for the concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
12.06.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Bury Bach Choir sings Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas The only known performance of Dido and Aeneas during Purcell’s lifetime was at Chelsea, in a boarding school run by Josias Priest, a famous dancer and choreographer, sometime before December 1689.  It may have been written for a court performance and later arranged for schoolgirls. This would explain several discrepancies between the libretto printed for the Chelsea amateur production (‘perform’d by young gentlewomen’) and the earliest surviving score, which  includes a baritone Aeneas as well as tenor and bass chorus parts which could hardly have been performed by Priest’s young pupils. The libretto was written by Nahum Tate, based on his five-act tragedy Brutus of Alba, or The Enchanted Lovers (1678), which he had originally called ‘Dido and Aeneas’, and various translations of the fourth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. The libretto is highly condensed and elliptical; certain key events, such as the manner of Dido’s death, are unspecified, or discreetly glossed over – for example, the lovers’ night in the cave. Allusions in the libretto offer hints of the occasion for which Dido and Aeneas may have been composed.  The prologue (for which the music is lost) seems to refer to the new political order after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the Act I chorus ‘When monarchs unite, how happy their state, They triumph at once oe’r their foes and their fate’ also appears to compliment the new king and queen.  On the other hand, the opera itself, in which the prince deserts his queen with tragic consequences, would have been offensive during any part of the reign of William and Mary!  In one of his poems, Tate alluded to James II as Aeneas, who is misled by the evil machinations of the Sorceress and her acolytes (representing Roman Catholicism, a common metaphor at the time) into abandoning Dido, who symbolises the British people. Clare Presland While Tate’s libretto has been criticised for extreme compression of the story and under-development of the character of Aeneas, the pace and concision of the drama, in which the chorus plays several different roles (courtiers, huntsmen, cupids, witches, sailors), together with the irregular lines (advocated by Dryden, no less, as ideal for opera) appealed to Purcell, whose flexible phrasing always captures the meaning of the words.  What distinguishes his opera is the quality of the music and the human scale of the tragedy it conveys, exemplified most famously by the wonderful ‘Dido’s lament’, which stands as one of the greatest operatic arias of any age.  It will be sung in this concert by Suffolk-born opera star Clare Presland. The concert is at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday 15 June 2019, starting at 7.30pm.  Tickets, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
10.06.2019
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Welcome back Austin Gunn! Bury Bach Choir is delighted that one of the UK’s leading tenors, Austin Gunn, will return to sing with the choir on Saturday 15 June to sing the part of the sailor in our concert performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Austin made his professional operatic debut as Vorsinger in Zaide with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras in the Edinburgh International Festival.   His Scottish Opera debut was covering Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, directed by Sir Thomas Allen and conducted by Speranza Scapucci. He has worked with English National Opera every season since his debut as Guest in John Cage Dinner Party for ENO MusiCircus.  He is core tenor for ENO Baylis Know the Show events as Tamino in Magic Flute and Alfredo in La Traviata, a member of ENO Opera Squad 2015, 2016 and 2017 singing Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro in schools performances.  He has appeared as guest soloist with the ENO Community Choir.   Austin made his Portuguese debut in 2017 as Martin in the premiere staging of Hummus by Zad Moultaka and Manager in The Waiter's Revenge by Stephen Oliver at the Musica Na Fabrica Festival, Lisbon directed by Max Hoehn.  His Swiss debut last year was as the Spectre in Dvorak's The Spectre's Bride in Zürich, conducted by Philipp Mestrinel.  He performs extensively in opera galas for Black Cat Opera, Impromptu Opera, InterOpera, and Rocket Opera throughout the UK.   Future roles include cover Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Longborough Festival Opera), Alfredo La Traviata, Kornelis La Princesse Jaune, Don JoseCarmen, Canio Pagliacci, Erik The Flying Dutchman, Frederick The Pirates of Penzance (Berwick Festival Opera) and Ruttekin Robin Hood (William Shield Festival). Austin appears regularly throughout the UK and in France, Sweden and Italy in concert in repertoire ranging from Orff Carmina Burana and Rossini Stabat Mater to Bach St John Passion and Handel Judas Maccabeus.  As a recitalist in 2014-2015 he performed 'Tennyson's Lyricism and the Composer's Response' at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle, and 'Languorous Ecstasy', a selection of works by Libertine poets, at Hull University, as well as a selection of Victorian and Edwardian medicinal songs for the VIP relaunch of The Wellcome Collection in London.  He is currently preparing a recital of American art songs and a recital of 21st century music. Recording and film credits to date include Montague John Cage Dinner Party, Maxwell Davies Solstice of Light, 1st Tenor Soloist Curlew River, Zweite Lehrbube Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, all for BBC Radio 3, a recital of song for American television network PBS, and as the singing voice of a German soldier in the television series 'Band of Brothers' directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Tickets for the concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000. 
10.06.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Henry Purcell and his Anthems Bury Bach Choir is delighted to feature the work of Henry Purcell (correctly pronounced with equal emphasis on both syllables!) in our final concert this season, on Saturday 15 June at The Apex. Purcell (1659–1695) is acknowledged as one of England’s greatest composers and has been a source of inspiration for British composers ever since:  Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett and Peter Maxwell Davies are among those who have expressed their indebtedness to him.  Little is known about Purcell’s life beyond his official appointments and duties, but as a musician he excelled as a servant of the Court, the Church and the theatre, writing odes, welcome songs, sonatas, anthems, music for the liturgy and incidental music, and a series of operatic extravaganzas – including King Arthur and The Fairy Queen – which fascinated the London public during the 1690s. Born into a musical family, Purcell became a boy chorister at the Chapel Royal, where he was trained by Henry Cooke and Pelham Humfrey, and later, after his voice had broken, by John Blow at Westminster Abbey.  When Blow retired (or possibly was dismissed) from the Abbey in 1679, Purcell was appointed in his place, composing, directing and playing music at the services. The first half of the concert will feature three of Purcell’s most moving and beautiful Anthems, scored for five voice-parts including two soprano parts. ‘I was glad when they said unto me’ is a setting of words from Psalm 122, a text more likely to be familiar to audiences through Parry’s celebrated version.  Purcell’s anthem was composed in 1685 for the coronation of James II at Westminster Abbey on 23 April, when it was sung at the start of the service as the King and Queen made their entrance.  ‘I was glad’ is sectional in form, with a striking use of pictorialisms, including - for example - the dotted, trumpet-like flourish on ‘glad’ and the steady climbing motif on ‘We will go’.  Purcell’s setting of the words ‘world without end’ is especially impressive, with much imitation between the five voice-parts as well as against an augmented presentation in the basses.   ‘Remember not, Lord, our offences’ of 1680 sets words from the Litany in the Book of Common Prayer.  It opens and closes homophonically; by way of contrast, the central section uses double counterpoint to draw a precise emotional curve in which dissonances raise the tension to a climax. Our third Anthem, ‘Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei’ (words from Psalm 3) is one of the supreme examples of Purcell’s art.  It is not known why he should have set Latin Psalm texts - in his day these could never have been sung in Anglican services and it is unlikely that he would have been called on to compose for the Catholic chapels of the queens of Charles II and James II.  They may have arisen from a personal impulse in response to Italian music which had come his way.  ‘Jehova’ is a powerful masterpiece quite independent of the English anthem in plan, with some solo passages reminiscent of the Italian composer Carissimi.  It is striking both for the individuality of its harmonies (Elgar, when orchestrating it, enquired whether indeed some of these were right) and for its range of tonality. Tickets for the concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
03.06.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Charlotte makes her solo debut with the Bury Bach Choir The Bury Bach Choir is delighted that one of our own singers, soprano Charlotte Leeder, will make her major solo debut with the choir at our performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at The Apex on 15 June. Charlotte was born and raised in Bury St Edmunds and began singing in local choirs aged eleven, including the St Cecilia Chorale at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. She studied voice, achieving ABRSM Singing Grade 8 at sixteen, and continued to study voice and sing in the University Chamber Choir while reading for her mechanical engineering degree at the University of Bath. On returning to Bury St Edmunds, Charlotte focused on establishing a career in engineering while singing in local choirs, including the St Edmundsbury Singers at St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Bury Bach Choir, enjoying small solo roles in Schubert’s Mass in G, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Charlotte says ‘I sang Dido and Aeneas with the St Cecilia Chorale at St Edmundsbury Cathedral as a teenager and I loved it; to this day it’s still one of my favourite works. As the Spirit, I tell Aeneas that he has to leave Dido after she’s finally relinquished her heart to him, which is a pivotal moment in the plot. I get to be the harbinger of doom, which is great, it’s a lot of fun playing the bad guy!’ Eighteen months ago, Charlotte returned to vocal training, studying with mezzo-soprano Katharina Megli. Since then, she has performed in concert pieces including Cherubino’s aria ‘Non so più cosa son’ from The Magic Flute, ‘Oh had I Jubal’s lyre’ from Handel’s Joshua and The Letter Duet from Nikolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. ‘When our Music Director Philip Reed asked me to sing the role, naturally I was thrilled’, says Charlotte. ‘It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to sing it under his excellent direction, this time on a much larger scale with a professional orchestra and soloists’. We’re all looking forward to hearing Charlotte and wish her well with what could be an important early step in her professional singing career! Tickets for the concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
03.06.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Coloratura soprano sings Belinda with the Bury Bach Choir Lyric coloratura soprano Tali Ketzef will make her first appearance with the Bury Bach Choir on 15 June at The Apex, singing the major role of Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which we are performing in concert format. Tali was born and lives in Israel and has been singing since she was a child. She studied vocal performance at the Buchmann-Mehta Academy in Tel-Aviv and was a member of the Israeli Opera Studio. Tali won first prize at the International Vocal Arts Institute's Competition in 2015, the Bucholz prize (2016), the Besser award (2017) and the Berkovich award (2019). Her operatic repertoire includes Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos, Gilda in Rigoletto, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Violetta in La Traviata and Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Tali debuted at the Israeli Opera in 2016 with the roles of Clorinda (La Cenerentola) and Contessa Ceprano (Rigoletto). ‘Dido and Aeneas is a very special opera for me’, says Tali. ‘Singing Belinda was my first operatic experience and I am always so happy to return to this beautiful and beloved opera which is a milestone in opera history.’ Later in 2019-20 Tali will sing the roles of Sister Rose in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Berta in Barbiere di Siviglia and Zecha in Rechter’s Shitz. She will also perform the title role in Handel’s Alcina with the Israeli Barrocade Ensemble. Tali has been working with and mentored by the Choir’s Co-President, Graeme Danby, and says she is ‘thrilled and honoured to be singing Belinda in England for the first time, for me the most important role in this magnificent piece - the narrator of this heartbreaking story’. She also says she ‘can’t wait to share the stage with such a group of talented artists and I’m especially excited to hear the Bury Bach Choir’. The feeling is entirely mutual, we can’t wait to meet and hear Tali in what is shaping up to be a wonderful finale to our concert season. Tickets for the concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
28.05.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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A welcome return for Tom Asher The Bury Bach Choir is delighted that Tom Asher will be back to sing with us on 15 June at The Apex, taking the co-title role of Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which we are performing in concert format. Yorkshire baritone Tom makes regular appearances with the Bury Bach Choir - a recent alumnus of ENO’s Opera Works, he studies with our Co-President, Graeme Danby, who also sings regularly with us. Tom is a graduate of the University of Durham and the Royal Northern College of Music and won several awards and competitions, including the John Cameron Prize for Lieder. Looking forward to the June concert, Tom says ‘I’m delighted to be back in Bury St Edmunds, singing with the Bury Bach Choir who have tremendous energy and spirit, both on and off stage; it’s always a treat to perform with them!’ During the 2017/18 season, Tom toured the role of Count Robinson in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto for Pop-up Opera with the final performances in Corfu and was Hildebrand/North Wind in Hampstead Garden Opera’s production of Jonathan Dove’s The Enchanted Pig. He also toured Tuscany as the concert soloist with Dore Male Voice Choir and recorded two albums with the Wessex Consort Choir. On the concert platform Tom performs regularly as a soloist throughout the UK and internationally. Recent performances include Dvorak’s The Spectre’s Bride in Newcastle and Zurich with the New Tyneside Orchestra and Ars Cantata; Puccini’s Messa di Gloria in Blackburn Cathedral and a special gala concert with Lesley Garret in Doncaster. Tom is looking forward to performing roles in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Stephen Oliver’s The Waiter’s Revenge along with concert performances of works by Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Duruflé over the coming few months. About the forthcoming concert, he says ‘I am hugely excited to perform my first Aeneas. Purcell’s only opera has some of the best music in the repertoire, and it’s a privilege to sing it’. It’s a privilege for the Choir to work with Tom, too, and we are really looking forward to the concert! Tickets for this concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
23.05.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Suffolk singer returns to sing Dido with the Bury Bach Choir Clare Presland, born and brought up in Bury St Edmunds, is coming home to sing the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, with the Bury Bach Choir, on Saturday 15 June at The Apex. Described by the Times as ‘mesmerising with an intensity that almost sears the flesh’, Clare is a former winner of the Chilcott Award and has firmly established herself on the international operatic and concert platforms. Dido and Aeneas, an opera which the choir will perform in concert format, recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her, having been tricked and lured away by the evil Sorceress and her attendant witches. ‘When I am laid in earth’, Dido’s lament, expresses her grief before she kills herself and is one of the most plangent and moving operatic arias of all time. Clare trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and ENO’s Opera Works. She says ‘I started singing because I wanted to act! So, when I discovered the world of opera and that the most incredible music was married with theatre it excited me beyond belief’. Clare’s recent and future engagements include Page in Salome for English National Opera, her debut at Théatre des Champs Elysées as Annina in La Traviata, her main-stage debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a return to Opera Holland Park in a title role. For Dido and Aeneas, the Bury Bach Choir will be joined by five other excellent soloists and the Suffolk Baroque orchestra. Clare is very much looking forward to the concert and the Choir is delighted to welcome her home. ‘I feel so blessed to have been brought up in Bury St Edmunds and I have some glorious memories. It’s a very special place. I’m still as close as ever to my school friends and the continued support I have had from so many Suffolk folk from the moment I started singing is something I will continue to cherish - thank you!’ Tickets for the concert, priced from £15, can be purchased through the choir's website www.burybachchoir.co.uk, by visiting the Apex Box Office, or by calling the Apex on 01284 758000.
01.04.2019
Bury Bach Choir
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Robert Murray sings The Evangelist in St Matthew Passion The Bury Bach Choir is delighted that distinguished tenor Robert Murray will be joining us to sing the role of The Evangelist at our performance of Bach’s masterpiece, the St Matthew Passion, at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Saturday 6 April. Robert Murray studied at the Royal College of Music and National Opera Studio.  He won second prize in the Kathleen Ferrier awards in 2003 and was a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  For the Royal Opera, he sang Tamino Die Zauberflote, Borsa Rigoletto, Gastone La Traviata, Harry La Fanciulla del West, Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jaquino Fidelio and Don Ottavio Don Giovanni.  For English National Opera he sang Simpleton Boris Godunov, Tamino, Toni Reischmann in Henze’s Elegy For Young Lovers, Idamante Idomeneo, Don  Ottavio, Steuerman Der fliegende Holländer and Frederic Pirates of Penzance.  He has also performed for Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Garsington Opera, Hamburg Opera, Norwegian Opera and Glyndebourne on Tour. He has performed in concert and recital at the Wigmore Hall, the Newbury, Two Moors, Brighton, Aldeburgh and Edinburgh festivals, and with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra (Gustavo Dudamel), Le Concert D’Astrée (Emmanuelle Haïm), City of  Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Sir Charles Mackerras), Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (Yannick Nezet-Seguin), Philharmonia Orchestra (Esk-Pekka Salonen) and with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the BBC Proms.  In recording, he appears on Malcolm Martineau’s Complete Poulenc Songs series for Signum, excerpts from Britten’s Gloriana with Ed Gardner for Chandos, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts with the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Giacomo Carissimi's Jephte with La Nuova Musica and David Bates, and Stanford's Stabat Mater with The Bach Choir conducted by David Hill. Recent highlights include Dream of Gerontius with the Seattle Symphony (Gardner) and Boston Philharmonic (Zander), and a staging of the St John Passion by Calixto Bieito, in Bilbao.  Engagements for 2018/19 and beyond include Katie Mitchell’s staging of Written on Skin in Beijing and Shanghai, The Merry Widow with the English National Opera and a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; also concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony  Orchestra (Kazuki Yamada), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Gardner) and London Symphony Orchestra (Sir Simon Rattle).  Tickets at £16 and £21 are available from www.burybachchoir.co.uk or by phoning the Box Office on 01284 758000.

Concerts

2019/20 Season

Saturday 16 November 2019

7.30pm

The Apex, Charter Square

Brahms Requiem and The Armed Man

Tickets on sale 2 September

Saturday 14 December 2019

7.30pm

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, Lavenham

A Christmas Celebration

Tickets on sale 2 September

Saturday 7 March 2020

7.30pm

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Verdi Requiem

Tickets on sale 2 September

Saturday 16 May 2020

7.00pm

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Handel Messiah

Tickets on sale 17 February

Future Concerts

Details here

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The Choir’s purpose is “to prepare and give public performances primarily of the core choral repertoire, using professional soloists and instrumentalists, to the highest possible standard”. 

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Bury St Edmunds Bach Society, registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation in England and Wales, no. 1181842.