Do you fancy yourself a bit of a singer? Or perhaps you just love vocal music? Well, The Stoller Hall has the perfect event lined up for you! On the last weekend of February, award winning baritone Marcus Farnsworth will lead the very first Manchester Vocal Weekend. Filled with exciting participatory concerts, workshops and masterclasses, this will be a chance for you to dust off the vocal chords, sharpen the sight-reading and improve your technique! It will also be a chance to hear Marcus Farnsworth perform in concert, alongside outstanding soprano Ruby Hughes and gifted pianist Joseph Middleton.
The weekend will consist of three main events. The first will be Come and Sing: Haydn’s Nelson Mass. One of Haydn’s greatest works, Missa in Angustiis or Mass for Troubled Times was written during the turbulent Napoleonic era, and features elaborate harmonies which lead on from those in The Creation, premièred earlier the same year in 1798. As part of the Manchester Vocal Weekend, you’ll have the chance to Join Farnsworth and singers from RNCM in a participatory concert featuring Haydn’s mass. A rehearsal will take place in the morning of the 23 February, and an informal performance will begin at 2pm. It’s advised that you’re able to read music, and that you’re confident performing with a part choir.
Songs For New Life and Love is next, and it looks to be the perfect occasion with which to welcome the coming spring season. The concert, given by soprano Ruby Hughes and pianist Joseph Middleton, will explore love, lullabies and the bond between parent and child in a programme of well-loved works by Robert Schumann, Gustav Mahler, Charles Ives and Benjamin Britten. The grand finale of the concert will come in the form of Helen Grimes’ Bright Travellers, a 2018 work exploring the pain, passion, beauty and joy of becoming a parent.
The last of the three main events is Circle of Song: Vocal Weekend Closing Recital. This is your chance to hear Marcus Farnworth’s phenomenal voice in concert. The former Chetham’s student will be joined by Hughes and Middleton for a wonderful programme featuring Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Mahler and Britten. Also featuring Robert Schumann’s Liederkreis – considered one of the great song cycles of the 19th Century – Circle of Song is sure provide a wonderful close to the weekend!
Before that final concert, though, there are a number of workshops and masterclasses on offer, which you can either participate in or observe. One is a vocal masterclass with Farnsworth, in which he’ll guide participants towards greater levels of musicality and storytelling. Another is a masterclass with Amanda Roocroft, one of Britain’s premier singers in opera, concert and recital. Joseph Middleton will also deliver a masterclass on piano accompaniment, guiding pianists and their singing partners in the art of communication. And finally, mezzo soprano and voice coach, Margaret McDonald will lead a practical and dynamic session which explores the connectivity of the mind, body and voice.
From the Come and Sing concert to the world-class performances to the invaluable masterclasses, the Manchester Vocal Weekend promises to be a wonderful two days, perfect for any avid singer or lover of the voice.