‘Whatever happens to my career, I want to sing these songs,’ was Sarah Connolly’s promise to herself when she discovered Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder as a music student. And look where she is now – a household name who’s defined a generation of mezzo-sopranos. Here she sings the intimate collection of songs that mean so much to her – music that forces you to look at yourself, that’s spiritual but at the same time full of human insecurities and worry.
To celebrate another year of British Youth Opera, we’re also joined by baritone Benedict Nelson, a walking advert for BYO. After taking part repeatedly between 2002 and 2007, Benedict is now a busy international star. He sings the great song cycle, Songs of Travel, with its idyllic rural scenes and tribute to English folk song that marked the beginning of Vaughan Williams’ signature style.
BYO’s resident orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, another powerhouse of future talent, take centre stage for an orchestral favourite – Prokofiev’s bold first symphony that fizzes with wit and humour and delivers catchy tune after catchy tune.
And to top it all off, a mass of BYO alumni – who’ve all built incredible performing careers off the back of BYO – get together for Vaughan Williams’ unique ensemble piece, Serenade to Music.
This concert marks the start of another year for British Youth Opera, just months after a successful season of training at Opera Holland Park. Partly through funds and awareness raised by this event, BYO is planning another busy summer for 2022 – helping young singers, directors, stage managers, conductors and more take their first steps towards full-blown professional careers.
Photo Credit: Christopher Pledger