The London Song Festival returns for its 2020 programme of concerts titled Roads to Solace and featuring eleven concerts running from 30 October to 11 December performed at the Hinde Street Methodist Church in the West End. Roads to Solace celebrates the different ways that composers, poets, and even an entire city, have searched for and found solace in art, in music and in poetry. Here we highlight two of the concerts we feel Boyz readers will enjoy.
Liebestod featuring The Man with Night Sweats, the première of the 2020 London Song Festival Commission, with baritone Jarrett Ott and Nigel Foster on piano
Friday 4 December, 7pm
The AIDS crisis brought loneliness, death and isolation to hundreds of thousands of men in the 1980s and threatened to isolate the LGBT+ community. Liebestod – German for love death – is a concert of songs of love, death and sensuality by Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler and also features the première of The Man with Night Sweats, commissioned by the London Song Festival, a song cycle by Iain Bell who was the composer of Stonewall: The Opera, premiered by New York City Opera as part of the Stonewall anniversary celebrations in 2019. The Man with Night Sweats sets powerful poems by Thom Gunn written in 1992 memorialising his friends and lovers who died during the AIDS pandemic. The Man with Night Sweats will be performed by the US baritone Jarrett Ott.
Friday 11 December, 7pm
The première of a new play, Ghost Lights, by David Slattery-Christy featuring music by Ivor Novello (pictured, below) and Noël Coward. It is September 1939 and theatres are closed due to the outbreak of war.
Ivor Novello and his leading ladies, Mary Ellis, Dorothy Dickson and Elisabeth Welch, meet on the empty stage of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for one last time.
David Slattery-Christy was the Ivor Novello consultant on the OSCAR and BAFTA-winning film Gosford Park. The cast includes Rosemary Ashe (Carlotta in the original cast of Phantom of the Opera), Melanie la Barrie (Eastenders, Casualty), Rebecca Louise Dale (‘The Golden Age Singer’), Fenton Gray as Novello and with pianist Nigel Foster playing and choreography by Aimee Leigh.
Both concerts take place at Hinde Street Methodist Church, Hinde Street London W1U 2QJ. Nearest tube stations Oxford Circus and Bond Street.
Tickets are just £20 or £15 concessions, available from londonsongfestival.org (concerts page). Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions tickets will not be on sale on the door.