A “new” opera for Dulwich Picture Gallery

Imagine the most loved arias from the Italian opera repertoire sung by the best young singers around, accompanied by an award winning pianist in a space surrounded by Old Masters.

William Vann

That is what is going to happen at Dulwich Picture Gallery on 17 June. But not only that, the audience will also be treated to a completely new storyline that binds all these beautiful arias together.

“This is not just a song recital, “explains William Vann, the clever young accompanist, who is returning for a third time to the Gallery. “There will be a tale, straight out of the Italian opera tradition. It’s all there, conspiracy and confusion, love and lechery and, of course, torment and treachery.” The story is entirely William’s work and he has even arranged an overture, which binds together the music by the finest Italian opera composers Verdi- a special favourite of William’s – Puccini, Donizetti and Rossini.

Ilona Domnich

“Well, that will be a first” he says to Dulwich OnView.

William is establishing himself as one of the leading young accompanists of today. He has a shelf full of awards since he left the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with the world famous accompanist Malcolm Martineau before he graduated with distinction. “My passion is working with other musicians, I find it especially rewarding. In the last fifteen years the profession has really taken off since the Royal Academy of Music started offering special courses for accompanists. It does take some special skills,” he adds.

William has managed to lure four of the best young singers around. He has worked with the soprano Ilona Domnich and the baritone Robert Davies before in Rigoletto. Ilona was discovered in St Petersburg and was plucked by the legendary diva Vera Rosza to study at the Royal College of Music. The magazine Opera Now refers to her voice as silk, but William says she has more than a beautiful voice, “she really connects with the emotional content of the arias.” Rachael Lloyd takes on the mezzo roles in William’s “new” opera.


Ilona in Rigoletto (Italian Opera)

She has recently performed as Mrs Andersen in Sondheim’s ‘A Little Night Music‘ in Paris where she shared the stage with Leslie Caron. Her CV also includes more serious works as Dido and Aeneas and Handel’s Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne. Later this year she will make her debut at the Royal Opera House in Madame Butterfly.

Paul Hopwood taught at Eton but could not stay away from singing and after finishing  his studies at London Guildhall he joined Glyndebourne Opera, where he performed several roles. He has also sung as a soloist in Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall and has recorded Mozart’s Requiem for the Hyperion label. He will be joined in Dulwich by Robert Davies, a meltingly dark bass-baritone. Robert has also had a stint at Glyndebourne but has now embarked on a solo career both on the opera stage and concert platform.

“We have had some rehearsals already and we are thrilled at performing in the Gallery. With all those wonderful paintings surrounding us there will be no need for any special staging.”

An Evening of Italian Opera

Friday 17 June 2011

6.30pm – Champagne reception in the garden, included in the ticket price

7.15pm – Performance in the Gallery with a long interval for picnics – Glyndebourne style

Tickets – £40, £35 for Friends

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