A Passion to return

Mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey, from Sheffield, is a rising star in the music world. Picture: Justin Kim
Mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey, from Sheffield, is a rising star in the music world. Picture: Justin Kim

Booking musicians with growing national reputations is difficult and getting them a second time following a postponement is well-nigh impossible – but not when they are committed to singing in their hometown!

Rising stars Anna Harvey and Ella Taylor from Sheffield have moved mountains to sing Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the cathedral on Saturday, April 14, following a snow-enforced postponement of the original concert.

Both live in London but despite busy schedules are adamant about meeting their commitment to sing Bach’s masterpiece.

Sheffield Bach Choir faced a herculean task in bringing together soloists, choristers and orchestra for the re-scheduled concert.

“The Passion obviously has to be performed within the Easter period,” said music director Dr Simon Lindley.

“It is a delight, as well as something of a relief, that Anna and Ella, along with tenor Stephen Liley and bass Thomas Hunt in the roles of Evangelist and Christ, all happen to be free for the rearranged date.

“We are very pleased to have secured Quentin Brown to make up our team of soloists.”

Hailed as “simply wonderful” by the New York Times, mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey was a pupil at Broomhill, Lydgate and Tapton schools and graduated in music from Cambridge University.

The holder of a number of prestigious awards, Anna recently sang in Mozart’s Requiem on a national tour that included Sheffield City Hall, and is thrilled to be back.

She said: “Having grown up in Sheffield, I am very excited to be returning to my home city to sing this wonderful and monumental work by my favourite composer, Bach.”

Anna, who sings with the Welsh National Opera and enjoys a busy concert schedule, counts performing at the 2016 Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall as a particular highlight.

Ella, whose earliest musical memory is being “part of a string group called Fiddle Fingers, where I first picked up a violin!”, cut her teeth as a chorister at the cathedral, winning BBC Chorister of the Year in 2010.

She went on to graduate in mmsic from the University of Sheffield and is currently studying for a Masters in performance at the Royal Academy of Music.

“My passion lies in performing new/contemporary works.” said Ella, “I have been lucky to premiere several pieces by up-and-coming composers, as well as works by Schönberg and George Benjamin, among others.”

The Bach choir will be joined by members of St Peter’s Singers from Leeds in the celebrated choruses for double choir, while the acclaimed young Choristers of St John’s Ranmoor will provide the thrilling chorus of upper voices required by Bach in the first half.

The audience is encouraged to sing the chorale hymns as would have happened in Bach’s day.

However, you’ll need to set out early – it starts at 6.30pm and there is always competition for prime spots in the cathedral’s grand acoustic.

Tickets for the original concert are valid, those without tickets can get them from www.sheffieldbachchoir.org.uk

This performance is given in memory of John Dethick and Dr Geoffrey Walker, both long-standing friends of Sheffield Bach Society.