13 January 2023

Spring 2023 Newsletter

Newsletter 65 Cover Image: Samling Artists Jonathan Ware, Kunal Lahiry, Angharad Lyddon, Madison Nonoa, Julien Van Mellaerts and Nick Pritchard in the Green Room of Wigmore Hall following our Samling Showcase ‘Sea Pictures’ concert. Photo: Roger Way

Samling Futures

The future of song and opera depends on new generations of performers and audiences being inspired by the magical power of classical music. We’re beginning 2023 by creating opportunities for just that through our Samling Futures workshops in schools across our region.

In a project that brings together our two core programmes, we will be sharing the joy of classical singing with students at state schools in Newcastle, Hexham, Berwickshire, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham. Samling Artists mezzo-soprano Katherine Aitken, bass-baritone Neil Balfour and pianist Ella O’Neill will lead Samling Academy Singers and students from the host schools in masterclasses and group singing activities.

Samling Futures will give a lively introduction to opera and an insight into the skills that are needed to give a compelling performance. It also highlights the opportunities that we offer to young singers at schools and universities from the Tweed to the Tees. We hope that some of those who hear Neil, Katherine, Ella and our Academy Singers will be inspired to apply for our next round of Academy auditions which we’ll be holding in March.

Our current Academy enjoyed six days of intensive coaching and performance in October. In February, they’ll be extending their skills further in a new project, ‘Scenes from Opera’. Over three days, they will work with Music Director Caroline Dowdle, actor James Garnon and Samling Artists Jo Ramadan and Miranda Wright to stage scenes from Eugene Onegin, Le nozze di Figaro and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For the majority, this will be their first experience of performing opera and we hope to include some of the work in the Academy’s summer concert tour in July.

The virtuous circle of success linking Samling Academy and the Samling Artist Programme was further strengthened in November when former Academy Singer bass Jamie Woollard returned to us as a Samling Artist. We now look forward to our next Artist Programme week in March when we’re delighted to welcome back conductor Sir Mark Elder to lead the week alongside bass-baritone Brindley Sherratt, who joins us for the first time and Samling Artist pianist Jonathan Ware. The week ends with a public masterclass on Saturday 11 March.

Tickets for our last public masterclass at Marchmont House sold out almost immediately, so please make sure you book early or join our Friends scheme for priority booking.

We return to Sage Gateshead on 3 February when six Samling Artists join Royal Northern Sinfonia and conductor Nicholas McGegan for a concert of baroque favourites and Caroline Shaw’s exquisite Is a Rose.