Following a sold-out tour in 2023, Wild Arts will return in 2024 with their semi-staged Messiah, created in collaboration with director Tom Morris.
A phenomenal, moving, beautiful, exquisite concert with perfect staging. Thank you to the whole company.
"A compelling and wonderfully engaged performance with a vivid sense of drama. This was one of those performances where you went in with polite, supportive expectation and came out won over, having been carried away. The sense of creating a dramatic narrative that the eight singers brought to the music, reacting to events, was palpable, with the instrumental ensemble as alert as the singers."
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill
Wild Arts's Messiah (All photos by Lucy J Toms)
"Scaled down to the minimum, with soloists doubling as their own chorus and a tiny orchestra led from a chamber organ by Orlando Jopling, [Wild Arts' Messiah] delivered a paradoxically massive punch – enlarged by elements of theatre that had been programmed in by stage director Tom Morris. I’ve seen many a Messiah in my time but few as powerfully engaging as this little show which held me in its grip from start to finish."
Michael White, Catholic Herald
"Remarkable. I have never heard a performance of Messiah where the specific emotion of each movement was expressed so clearly, let alone one with any sense of underlying feeling - this was more than just a stirring recital of holy texts. Brilliant!"
"I just had to say how fantastic the Messiah was last night.. It was intimate and beautifully sung. 6 stars out of 5! If you did two nights I would go to both."
"We just got home from your AMAZING performance of the Messiah. What a show - inclusive and uplifting. The musicians perfectly balanced; an unusual staging which was perfect and brilliant."
Saturday 9 December, 7.30pm
Bedford Park, Bath Road, Chiswick
London W4 1LW
A first visit to this beautiful Arts and Crafts church in West London.
Thursday 14 December, 7.30pm
6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London
A special fundraising performance at this Arts and Crafts hall in central London. Champagne and canapes provided for this intimate show.
Sunday 17 December, 4pm
The Opera Barn, Layer Marney Tower
Essex CO5 9US
A matinee and our first winter visit to our regular summer home, with mince pies and mulled wine on the door.
"You have collectively raised the bar so high on the Messiah performance that I can never go back to an ordinary concert version. It was outstanding. We loved it. The drama in telling the story, the musicianship and the singing was wonderful. A thoroughly enjoyable evening."
"Absolutely brilliant! Didn’t want it to be over! Still thinking about it!
What an honour to be able to listen to such talented singers and musicians. Beautiful venue and wonderful staff/volunteers."
"Incredible performance by all and fantastic hospitality! A wonderful evening well spent."
Joanna Songi studied at Cambridge University and the Royal College of Music and was awarded first place in the Dean and Chadlington Competition, and the Brooks-Van der Pump English Song Competition. She was an Opera Prelude Young Artist, a Philip and Dorothy Green Young Concert Artist Award winner, and a Britten-Pears Young Artist.
As well as performing with companies including Glyndebourne, Garsington Opera, West Green Opera, Opera de Tenerife, the Dunedin Consort, and the English Concert, her recent roles have included Despina for Wild Arts’s Così fan tutte (2022), and a variety of parts in Henry V at the Donmar Warehouse (2022), with a subsequent NT Live Broadcast.
Sofia Kirwan-Baez studied music at Oxford University and Vocal Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she graduated with distinction. She is currently a Huffner Scholar in the Royal College of Music Opera School, a Sybil Tutton Opera Award Holder, and has been supported by Rotary International.
As well as concert performances in Cadogan Hall and Birmingham Cathedral, her operatic roles have included Elle (La Voix Humaine), Adina (Elisir d’Amore), Venus (La Dafne), Juno (The Fairy Queen), and Papagena (The Magic Flute). She sang Giannetta for Wild Arts in their 2023 production of The Elixir of Love.
Martha Jones studied at the Royal College of Music International Opera School and was awarded the Susan Chilcott Scholarship by the Royal Philharmonic Society during her time there. She has participated in Young Artist programs for the Ravinia Festival, Carnegie Hall, Britten Pears, and Samling.
As well as singing Dorabella for Wild Arts’ 2022 production of Così Fan Tutte, she has performed the same role for English Touring Opera and Classical Opera /The Mozartists, and has sung with English National Opera, the Grange Festival, Scottish Opera, Opera de Limoges, Opera Vlaanderen, Glyndebourne, and the LPO. Her recordings include The Call with Malcolm Martineau.
Kate Symonds-Joy studied music at Cambridge University and with the Royal Academy Opera Course. She is a member of Baroque music collective Solomon's Knot, performing with them at events including the Aldeburgh Festival, Leipzig Bachfest, and BBC Proms, to name but a few.
Her concert highlights include Bach's Christmas Oratorio in Sydney Opera House, Mahler's Symphony no.2 at Cadogan Hall, Elgar's Sea Pictures with the RPO and Christopher Robinson, Handel's Messiah at Birmingham Symphony Hall, Mozart's Requiem with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and Verdi's Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall.
Richard Dowling is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music’s Opera Course and supported by Opera Prelude. As well as various live performances with English Touring Opera (including Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions), he has appeared in a number of their online broadcasts during lockdown, and in roles for Garsington Opera (in their 2013 and 2015 seasons), Birmingham Opera Company, Buxton International Festival, and as a young artist for Mid-Wales Opera. He sang Pedrillo (The Abduction from the Seraglio) in Tokyo with Diva Opera.
After receiving a music degree from Bristol and teaching at Oakham School, Harry Jacques became a VOCES 8 choral scholar, and has since focussed on his singing. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, supported by the D’Oyle Carte Charitable Trust and the Edith Vogel Bursary.
He first came to opera in a staged version of Britten’s Abraham and Isaac for Waterperry Opera Festival, and in the chorus of their production of The Magic Flute. Since then, he has performed the role of Evangelist in Bach’s St John Passion, and the Mass in B minor with the Seville Baroque Orchestra, and he sang Claudio for Wild Arts in their 2023 production of The Elixir of Love.
Timothy Nelson studied at the Royal College of Music International Opera School, where he was awarded the McCulloch Prize for Opera. He was a Jerwood Young Artist at the Glyndebourne Festival; a winner of the Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize, the RCM Joan Chissell Schumann Competition, and the Gerald Moore Award Singers Prize; and was a recipient of the Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells Postgraduate Voice Fellowship.
Alongside solo performances at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and Cadogan Hall, he has sung with Opera North (as Marcello in La Boheme), the Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera, Diva Opera, Opera Holland Park, and the Grange Festival.
Edward Hawkins read music at King’s College, London. Having begun singing in his late twenties, he studied privately with Russell Smythe and Raymond Connell, and in 2015 became a member of the Glyndebourne Chorus, working for four years on various critically acclaimed productions, including performances at the BBC Proms and worldwide cinema broadcasts.
He has worked extensively with English Touring Opera, performing the role of Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Doctor/Banquo in Macbeth, Neptune in Idomeneo, and filming two staged song cycles by Shostakovich. He had also been due to sing in their staged performances of Bach’s St. John Passion and in their Così fan tutte (as Don Alfonso) prior to Covid-19.
Sijie Chen (right) & Will McGahon Violins | Kay Stephen Viola | Reinoud Ford & Jonny Byers Cello | Carina Cosgrave Double Bass | Nicola Barbagli & Bethan White Oboes | Chris Rawley & Rebecca Hammond Bassoon | Sam Lewis and Chris Parsons Trumpets | Tom Lee Timpani | Orlando Jopling Musical Director
"A superbly sung and played production that didn’t put a foot wrong! I can’t recommend this enough. More performances on their way – Do go see it!"
"As long as we have this talent available and the venues in which they can perform, we can be reassured that opera and the arts can and will survive in this country!"