“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.

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