“And we are finally here” says Margaret Johnson in the opening number of The Light in the Piazza. Adam Guettel’s deliciously joyous musical is back in my life after ten years. I sang the European premiere at CURVE in 2009 with Caroline Sheen, and tonight (18 June) Piazza finally gets its London premiere at the Royal Festival Hall starring Renée Fleming and Dove Cameron, and the gloriously talented Rob Houchen. Don’t get me started on the Mensch that is Alex Jennings. Daniel Evans’s production is pure class. Kim Grigsby conducts with such heart. I hope you come.

Tonight my role is the understudy – and it’s been a few years since I’ve done that. Don’t worry, there’s no All About Eve going on here – I truly love the idea that I’m here as Renée’s safety net, in order that she can fly higher in a role that I care for so deeply. So buckets of merde to the whole company!

2019 so far…

I have a hard time remembering…(insert middle-aged singer joke here).

January: Philip Venables’s 4.48 Psychosis (based on the Sarah Kane play) had its USA/New York premiere at PROTOTYPE. We girls had a full page photo illustration by Teresa Eng in The New Yorker – a huge thrill.

In a series of especially effective exchanges, the dialogue between the central, suicidal figure (played by Gweneth-Ann Rand) and her psychiatrist (played by Lucy Schaufer) are not spoken at all…While those moments are often marked by a stillness on the stage, other moments explode with action–from Rand and Schaufer” – Contemporary Performance

“Schaufer, a long-time proponent of contemporary music, plays the psychiatrist with rich-voiced quiescence, a cool, velvety ploy to Rand’s fiery Gwen. Toward the end of the opera, her performance takes a suitably patronizing tone, Schaufer cooing at her patient in taunting, wordless melisma.Parterre

 

February: Onto Niflheim! Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon’s first opera – The Monstrous Child – world premiere at The Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House.

LOOK, MA, NO HANDS! My Modgud was “phlegmatic” and “strong” – but mostly she just wanted to scratch her nose without taking out an eye. Loved it!

credit: Stephen Cummiskey

March and April: Marcellina Le Nozze di Figaro for Arizona Opera! No furniture was left unchewed.

 

Marcellina, Lucy Schaufer captured the attention of the audience with her mellifluous singing and suave manner.” Operawire

 

 

May: Well, June was bustin’ out all over a few weeks early. I was back with my pal Alex Parker for another musical in concert at Cadogan Hall for Carousel. What a brilliant reunion for Janie Dee and Jo Riding. It was a stupendous night. Hadley Fraser blew us away as Billy. Patricia Routledge narrated with such heart I nearly burst several times, especially knowing she was the Nettie at the National, and I had big shoes to fill. New friends made and friends in the audience gave the evening a quality I’ll never forget.

As Nettie Fowler, Lucy Schaufer’s operatic background led to her spine-tingling take on You’ll Never Walk Alone. But back in 1992 it had been Patricia Routledge (not yet then a Dame) who played Nettie. Incredibly, and at the age of 90!, Routledge returned to this production as the narrator. For those in the audience who remembered the 1992 show, to see Dame Patricia singing along in the finale of the show’s totemic anthem was unforgettable.Jonathan Baz

 

Then there’s WILD PLUM ARTS!

Our 2019 Season is ALL ABOUT THE WOMEN, and the premieres will be on July 10 at the Cheltenham Music Festival event Composium.

The new commissions are:

  • Musae – a new commission from Zoë Martlew for mezzo-soprano and piano. See our Composers on film page to hear Zoë talk about the songs.
  • Violated Blossoms – a new commission from Emma-Ruth Richards for soprano and cello. Emma-Ruth talks about the piece on our Composers on film page.
  • Speak Up, a song for mezzo and piano by Lisa Robertson, one of the six composers in our PRS Collaboration, commissioned jointly by the Cheltenham Music Festival and Wild Plum Arts.

The performers will be Lucy Schaufer (mezzo) Huw Watkins (piano) Elizabeth Karani (soprano) and Gabriel Cabezas (cello).

Plus our first artist residency begins August 5!

Wild Plum Arts has been invited by the Britten-Pears Foundation to host an artists residency at The Red House in Aldeburgh from August 5th until September 2nd this year. Wild Plum: Made at the Red House.

If you would like to support our work for the residency (Chris and I will be doing all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry), please visit our dedicated campaign page.

FEED A COMPOSER

Good morning from Chicago.

Huw Watkins and I are off to Ravinia for WILD PLUM ARTS’ American debut, presenting The Class of 1938 which includes a new song written for us by John Corigliano and three new arrangements by Michele Brourman of songs from the 1960s folk revivalist movement. Plus there’s Joan Tower, John Harbison, Charles Wuorinen, William Bolcom and Frederic Rzewski. The world premiere on 29 June at Wigmore Hall was electric because of the audience’s energy and was called “song in performance.”  

I’m rather proud of that.

Aldeburgh Festival 2018

The 2017-2018 season may be coming to a close, and boy, was it full: performing new works, launching artistic led organisations including WILD PLUM ARTS and SWAP’RA, and I started curating programs. My first for the Aldeburgh Festival in June was a corker – I’m the first person to ever sing Randy Newman at the Snape Maltings. Oh, I’ll fill you in.

For now, I’m heading up the lakeshore with my music and a cup of tea.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Commissioned by Wild Plum Arts – thank you, John!

This year 2017 has gotten off to a tremendous start with two wins at The Grammy Awards for our Los Angeles Opera recording of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles:  Best Classical Recording and Best Engineered Classical Recording.  Brava to Team Ghosts!  I squeezed in a quick 38 hour trip to LA for the ceremony in between performances of Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance at English National Opera – it was nutsy but worth every moment.  (LA Times 12 February 2017)

red carpet Grammys

When I returned to England, the news kept coming thick and fast.  When the Grammy nominations were announced, Jamie Sotonoff at The Daily Herald in Chicago called and did an article about the “hometown girl done good”  (Daily Herald 3 January 2017) but little did I know that once we had won, Carpentersville, my home town, decided they needed to celebrate too.  Well, stand back, because let it here be known that Ed Ritter, President of Carpentersville, did indeed proclaim Tuesday, February 21, as Lucy Schaufer Day throughout this village!  Well – my head still reels from such an honour.  So I decided that Carpentersville and the suburban area surrounding shall hear from me every February 21st to remind them how important the arts and music education are to our society and that they’d best keep it funded.  So – give a girl a day, and she’s take a soap box.
(Chicago Tribune 24 February 2017) proclamation

February’s gifts kept on coming.  I had promised myself to put my producer’s hat back on as it had been a few years since I had released my debut solo CD, which had three world premiere recordings, and it was now time to get commissioning again.  My husband Christopher Gillett and I have started a new charity called WILDPLUM and we’re off and running.  I met with John Gilhooly at The Wigmore Hall and on 29 June 2018, Huw Watkins and I will perform The Class of 1938, celebrating the 80th birthdays of John Corigliano (new commission – and it’s finished already!), William Bolcom, John Harbison, Joan Tower, Frederic Rzewski – including music by the folk legends Gordon Lightfoot, Hedi West and Peter Yarrow in new arrangements by Michele Brourman. I will be joined by Christopher Glynn for another evening at The Wigmore Hall, and details on that once the date is confirmed.  So all in all, a good start and I like my producer’s hat.  It’s a good fit.

The website will continue to change as the weeks go on.  It’s all new.  A new chapter, new adventures and so – the electronic stuff needs to morph too.  Thanks for your patience.

What’s next? I am still wearing my singer’s hat – never you fear.  You’ll have to drag me off the boards!  I’ve just finished Ruth in Pirates at ENO and here’s what coming up for the rest of the 2016-2017 season:

  • Multiple roles in Peter Eötvös’ The Golden Dragon, Music Theatre Wales, Tongyeong International Music Festival, Korea, 31 March, 1-2 April 
  • Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Opera Philadelphia Tickets and information
  • Angela in Marie Incontrera and Kabir Sehgal’s satirical opera Angela’s Ring, Recording in New York
  • Sondheim: Smiles of a Summer Evening, Cadogan Hall, The Alex Parker Orchestra, 4 June at 630pm  Tickets and information
  • Florence Pike in Albert Herring at the Buxton Festival, 8 – 22 July Tickets and information
  • I am on a leave of absence from the Royal College of Music until academic year 2018/2019


If you have any concert/opera enquiries, please contact Margaret Levine
For musical theatre enquiries, please contact Shane Collins