Feathers fly as Palmer gives classical recital

Baritone Matthew Palmer, soloist at Escafeld Chorale concert, St Mark's Church, Broomhill, April 9, 2011
Baritone Matthew Palmer, soloist at Escafeld Chorale concert, St Mark's Church, Broomhill, April 9, 2011

MATTHEW Palmer shakes off Papageno’s bird feathers from Sheffield City Opera’ Magic Flute as the city’s classical music scene begins to stir back into life.

The vocally gifted young baritone will be giving a recital of songs by Handel, Debussy, Schubert, Brahms, Butterworth, Quilter and Michael Head with George Nicholson, wearing his pianist’s cap, at a Sheffield Music Club members-only event at Shirley House on Psalter Lane next Friday (September 23).

Simon Lindley, wearing his best-known cap (as an organist), gives his joint recital with Opera North orchestra leader, noted violinist David Greed, on Monday at Hallam Methodist Church, or The Beacon, Nether Green as it is now known.

Why are Methodist churches becoming uniformly known as ‘The Beacon’?

A new series of Sheffield Cathedral Lunchtime Recitals get underway on Tuesday when Ian Ball travels from Three Choirs Festival land to give a nicely integrated concert of organ music

It takes in four Liszt works, Excelsior, At Wagner’s Grave, his transcription of the Pilgrim’s Chorus from Wagner’s Tannhäuser and the first version of the Prelude and Fugue on the motif B-A-C-H, Jean Guillou’s transcription of the Ricercare à 6 from Bach’s Musical Offering and Edwin Lemare’s transcription of the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.

Called to the bar in 2006, Ian, born in Lancashire in 1967, earns his living as a lawyer specialising in unemployment law. Previously, he had a successful career as musician, which he still pursues but not to the same extent.

Between 1998 and 2002 he was assistant and then acting director of music at Gloucester Cathedral before becoming director of music of Gloucester City Benefice until 2007. He now lives in Worcester and plays regularly at St George’s Church, Barbourne.

He has performed at five Three Choirs Festivals, gaining praise for a “dazzling technique and colouristic imagination,” which should stand him good stead for his Sheffield Cathedral programme, while other recital venues this season include Bath Abbey, Malvern Priory and the cathedrals of Blackburn, Truro, Hereford and Worcester.

Nick Fletcher is also in action next week when he presents another guitar recital at Holy Trinity Church, Millhouses, on Friday and 24 hours later (September 24), Hallam Sinfonia launch their new season at St Mark’s Church, Broomhill with Bruckner’s Fourth and Schubert’s Eighth (‘Unfinished’) symphonies

lOpera North opens its new season in at the Grand Theatre in Leeds this Saturday with Puccini’s Madam Butterfly in a revival of Tim Albery’s 2007 production.

French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels returns to sing the title role having gained widespread acclaim for her performance last time round, but most interest is likely to centre on her Pinkerton, tenor Noah Stewart, appropriately an American and making his UK opera debut.

At the age of 12, his teacher at the Harlem School of Arts encouraged him to pursue a music career and he began doing voice-overs for such things as Sesame Street and, while studying, provided backing vocals for the likes of Mariah Carey.

By this time he had developed a passion things classical and having immersed himself in pursuing an operatic career found a mentor in the great soprano Leontyne Price, no less, who recommended him to the Julliard School where he was awarded a full scholarship.

In the early stages of his career, so far he has such roles as Rodolfo (Boheme), José (Carmen), Manrico (Trovatore) and Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana) under his belt suggesting quite a powerful voice, which is described has having a uniquely baritonal timbe and a ringing and sweet tenor tone.