Aldeburgh Festival announces 2019 artists-in-residence

The 72nd Aldeburgh Festival has announced composer Thomas Larcher, tenor Mark Padmore and soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan as its three artists-in-residence for 2019, with each curating parts of the festival and in some cases conducting and performing one another’s works.

Larcher’s opera The Hunting Gun will receive its UK premiere when it opens the festival on 7 June; Padmore will explore the relationship between poetry and music, while Hannigan will conduct singers from her Equilibrium Young Artist programme in a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

Thomas Larcher © Richard HaughtonLarcher’s first opera The Hunting Gun, based on Yasushi Inoue’s best-selling 1945 Japanese novella, made its world premiere at the 2018 Bregenz Festival. At Aldeburgh, the cast includes tenor Sam Boden as Dichter (Narrator), baritone Peter Schöne (Josuke), soprano Sarah Aristidou (Shoko), soprano Giulia Peri (Midori) and mezzo-soprano Olivia Vermeulen (Saiko), under the baton of Ryan Wigglesworth.

Additionally, Larcher’s four string quartets will be performed by Albion Quartet (Cold Farmer, 11 June), Ardeo Quartet (IXXU,13 June), Heath Quartet (Madhares, 15 June) and Quatuor Diotima (Lucid Dreams, 20 June).

Pianist Paul Lewis will give the world premiere of the composer’s Aldeburgh Festival commission on 8 June; Larcher’s orchestral work Red and Green will be performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra on 15 June; at the closing concert of the festival on 23 June, cellist Alisa Weilerstein joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner for a performance of Ouroboros for cello and orchestra.

Tenor Padmore will take a literary approach at the festival: over four poetry and music events, he joins writer, broadcaster and performer Dr Kate Kennedy and leading poets to discuss the texts set by Britten in his song cycles Winter Words (Thomas Hardy), The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, and Who Are These Children? (William Soutar). The discussions are followed by performances from Padmore, baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Andrew West.

On 9 June the tenor will perform in Larcher’s appropriately named, A Padmore Cycle; while on 13 June, he is joined by Williams, pianist Julius Drake and an actor (tba) for an evening of ‘spoken word, songs and the sea’ as captured by Britten, Coleridge, Elgar, Eliot, Fauré, Shakespeare and Tippett, among others.

On 17 June, Padmore and Williams unite again for a special all-Schubert programme, replicating an event which took place in 1828.

Mark Padmore 2018: Photo © Marco Borggreve
Mark Padmore 2018: Photo © Marco Borggreve

Hannigan’s residency is an interesting collaboration with Ojai Festival, California where she is the 2019 festival music director. At Aldeburgh she will showcase new talent and curate concerts during the final four days. She conducts Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress on 20 June, starring members of her Equilibrium Young Artist programme, joined by Ludwig Orchestra and Chorus of Opera Holland Park. On 21 June she conducts Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) and sings Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. Then on 22 June, she conducts Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Haydn’s Symphony No 49, before directing and singing Gershwin’s Girl Crazy Suite.

The full programme at Snape Maltings will be announced on 20 December, with priority booking open from 15 January and general booking on 19 February.