Tag Archives: Bel Canto

St George and the Dragon

This Saturday is St George’s Day and Bel Canto will be celebrating the day in style.

There are two main items in the concert: Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and my new Dramatic Cantata – St George and the Dragon.

cover 2The Messa di Gloria was written when Puccini (1858-1924) was still very young, this piece shows the exuberance of youth, with a fair amount of skill, and is just plain fun. Puccini composed the Mass as his graduation exercise from the Istituto Musicale Pacini and It had its first performance in Lucca on July 12, 1880. Apparently it is not a true “Messa di Gloria” as these only had Kyrie and Gloria, but Puccini had already written a Credo (performed in 1878) and so perhaps, having written a new Kyrie and Gloria, decided to use the existing Credo, add a quick Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei (and these movements are really quite short) to complete the mass. The music is unashamedly operatic in nature, and those who know Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle will immediately recognise some of the styles. It is a great piece to perform and even better to listen to.

Alongside this work, you’ll be able to hear the first outing of my new dramatic cantata St George and the Dragon, written specially for the occasion. This witty telling of the story of our Patron Saint’s encounter with a Dragon features the choir as the concerned villagers, a heroic tenor (David Watkin-Holmes) as St George, a baritone solo (Peter Taylor) as the King of the town plagued by the Dragon, and a soprano soloist (Clare Wheat) as his slightly ditzy daughter, destined to be fed to the Dragon.

The words have been written by my ever-supportive parents, and the Cantata is accompanied by piano (the marvellous Jonathan Gooing) and percussion. The choir and soloists have enjoyed learning it, and the performance promises to be a great success.



As Summer Fades – the Proms Loom

As memories of the summer holiday and its highlights (York Minster, St Jean de Cole in the South of France, an outing to Chester Zoo) fade, my attention turns to forthcoming concerts, or which there are two right at the beginning of term.

On Saturday 30th August I will be accompanying an extraordinary young lad as he raises money for a new cello. Talented eleven-year old Callum Hilton will be performing on piano and cello at 7.00pm at the Upper Chapel, Surrey Street. For more details see this article in Classical Sheffield.


Then, there is the exciting Proms in the Peaks on Sunday 7th September in Losehill Hall YHA, Castleton raising money for Weston Park Cancer Charity – a cause for which the word “worthwhile” seems somewhat inadequate. This concert, for which I am Artistic Director, features Bel Canto, international Soprano Deborah Norman, international tenor John Hudson, Junction33 Dance Band, and Dancedaze – an amazing group of young Street Dancers, many of whom have just become champions in the United Dance Organisation World Street Dance Championships which took place in Glasgow during August.

The concert features music as wide ranging as Hallelujah Chorus and Carmina Burana, Les Miserables and La Boheme, Glen Miller and Street Dance, so there really is something for everyone.

The concert starts at 2.30pm, with the ground open for picnic lunches from 1.00pm.

Tickets are available here. Numbers are limited, so get yours now to avoid disappointment!



Carmina Burana this weekend


27-DSC_5867Bel Canto’s concert on Saturday promises to be a great evening out. The marvelous choir from St John’s School Mexborough, some amazing percussionists, and the superb Bel Canto joining together for Carmina Burana, and as an added bonus, Flanders and Horovitz’s entertaining Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo. Pianists Jonathan Gooing and Nigel Gyte, with Soprano Clare Wheat and Baritone Peter Taylor complete the musical line-up.
7.15 at St Margaret’s Church, Swinton. Not one to miss!