31 August 2023

News from Samling Artists – July and August 2023

Congratulations to Michael Pandya, who has been selected for the 2023/25 BBC New Generation Artists programme. Michael is only the second collaborative pianist to have been selected for the scheme, following in the footsteps of fellow Samling Artist Kunal Lahiry in 2021/23 and of course many Samling Artist singers. The BBC says ‘The New Generation Artists come from a wide field and provide a representative cross-section of the most exciting British and international young artists. They are truly the stars of tomorrow.’

Listen out for Michael making appearances on BBC Radio 3 throughout the year. He will also be joining us in November as staff pianist for the Samling Artist Programme.

Wigmore French Song Exchange

Dafydd Jones and Michael Bell have both been selected for the Wigmore French Song Exchange programme. The programme is devised by François Le Roux and Dame Felicity Lott and offers eight singers a year of coaching culminating in showcase performances at Wigmore Hall and Salle Cortot in Paris.

You can see Dafydd and Michael in lunchtime concerts at Wigmore Hall on Wednesday 20 September (Dafydd) and Wednesday 27 September (Michael) and at Salle Cortot on Tuesday 5 September.

Debuts and season announcements

Glyndebourne have announced their productions and some casting for the 2024 Festival, including the news that Louise Alder will appear as Cleopatra in a revival of David McVicar’s production of Giulio Cesare, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Writing on social media, Louise said ‘This was an amazing phone call to receive…..Seeing David McVicar’s production of Cesare and Danielle de Niese’s iconic portrayal of Cleo in 2005 aged 19, are the very reasons I wanted to sing opera for a living. They showed me that opera could have life and movement and reach you in a viscerally vibrant and deeply touching way. Not to mention the glittering costumes, and the dancing. So. I will be playing Cleopatra at Glyndebourne in 2024, and I am bursting with excitement.’

We will share further Glyndebourne castings when they have been announced.

Nicholas Mogg begins his second season at Staatsopera Hamburg with role debuts as Guglielmo Così fan tutte, Silvio Pagliacci and Ned Keene Peter Grimes. Nicholas was also featured in the ‘Rising Stars’ spot in September’s BBC Music Magazine (following Jamie Woollard who appeared last month).

Anush Hovhannisyan makes her Wigmore Hall debut on 28 September stepping in at short notice to give a recital of song by Rachmaninov and his contemporaries, alongside bass Jasurbek Khaydarov and pianist Iain Burnside.

Anush made her house and role debut this summer as Liza in The Queen of Spades for The Grange Festival, in a production which received unanimous 5-star reviews across the national press, including, from Nicholas Kenyon in The Telegraph: “Most eloquent of all, Anush Hovhannisyan as Liza breathes tragedy from the start with her exquisite tone and gently shaped phrases…” She has also launched a new project in her native Armenia, bringing coaches from the Royal Opera House to work with promising young singers in Yerevan, an experience she describes as ‘a major revelation and one of the most fulfilling events in my life!’


Elizabeth Atherton is the soprano soloist in a new recording of Shostakovich Symphony No.14 with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds.

Nicky Spence is one of three soloists on a new recording of Is a Rose by Caroline Shaw with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Oliver Zeffman, and released as part of the first Classical Pride.

Joseph Middleton has recorded a new album of Mahler songs with Dame Sarah Connolly. Reviewing the album for Presto Classical, Katherine Cooper writes ‘Middleton summons such a range of tones and textures that you’ll barely miss the orchestral colours’ and Geoff Brown writing in The Times says ‘You also get beautifully nuanced piano playing from Middleton, a musician seemingly incapable of misjudging the careful balancing act necessary when accompanying lieder’