A Celebration of Shakespeare in 20th Century Music: Ashley Riches (baritone) and Emma Abbate (piano) perform a selection of Shakespeare songs.
Ashley Riches and Emma Abbate will perform a selection of Shakespeare songs by various 20thcentury composers. Their programme combines popular works, such as Let us garlands bring by Gerald Finzi and Four Shakespeare Songs by Roger Quilter, with some lesser-known gems, including a selection of Shakespeare Songs by jazz-influenced composer Madeleine Dring and That Time of Year by living composer John Joubert. They will also perform some songs from their latest CD for Resonus Classics. Featuring the world première recording of Shakespeare Sonnets by Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, the disc has been praised on BBC Radio 3’s CD Review.
Ashley Riches was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Previously he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and English at Cambridge University, where he was a member of the King’s College Chapel Choir under Stephen Cleobury.
Recent operatic performances include Owen Wingrave (Title Role) at the Opéra National de Lorraine, Claudio in Berlioz Béatrice et Bénédict with Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Keeper of the Madhouse in The Rake's Progress with Sir Andrew Davis at the Edinburgh Festival, Michael in Søren Nils Eichberg's new opera Glare in the Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House, Osmano in Cavalli's L'Ormindo with the Royal Opera at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Garsington Festival, Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux with Christan Curnyn and the Early Opera Company and Schaunard in Benedict Andrew's new production of La Bohème at English National Opera. He represented the Royal Opera at the Leading Young Artists of the World Gala, at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.
Concert appearances include the UK Premiere of Shostakovich Orango with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, Bach Christmas Oratorio with the Academy of Ancient Music at the Barbican Centre, Handel Messiah in Symphony Hall, Birmingham with Stephen Cleobury, Bach Mass in B Minor with Arcangelo at Flanders Festival in Ghent, Walton Belshazzar’s Feast with David Temple at the Royal Festival Hall, Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Sir Roger Norrington, Handel L’Allegro, il Pensieroso ed il Moderato with the Gabrieli Consort at St John’s Smith Square and in Beaune, Mozart Requiem with David Hill and the Bach Choir and Britten War Requiem with Jan Latham-Koenig and Novaya Opera, Moscow.
His recordings include Poulenc Chansons Gaillardes with Graham Johnson, Duruflé Messe 'Cum Jubilo' with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Bach St John Passion and St Matthew Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music, Handel L'Allegro, il Pensieroso ed il Moderato with Paul McCreesh, and Daniel Purcell The Judgement of Paris with Spiritato! and Julian Perkins.
Future plans include a tour of St Matthew Passion with Sir John Eliot Gardener, John Powell's Prussian Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Creon in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex with the Berlin Philharmonic, Polyphemus in Handel's Acis and Galataea with the Academy of Ancient Music and a recording of the complete songs of Arthur Sullivan with David Owen Norris.
Described as "an amazingly talented pianist" by the leading Italian magazine Musica, the Neapolitan pianist Emma Abbate pursues a varied career as a chamber musician and vocal coach, working with some of the finest singers and instrumentalists of her generation. She has performed in duo recitals for international festivals and concert societies in Salzburg, Lisbon, Naples, Ischia, Koscierzyna and Sorrento, and at many prestigious UK venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, St John’s Smith Square, St George’s, Bristol and Aldeburgh Festival, in addition to broadcasts on BBC Radio 3.
Emma is planning a series of recordings devoted to 20th century Italian vocal chamber music, the latest of which is the world-première disc of Shakespeare Sonnets by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco with the baritone Ashley Riches for Resonus Classics. Emma also released L’Infinito for Urania Records with the mezzo-soprano Kamelia Kader. Her discography also includes world-premières of works for cello and piano by Krzysztof Meyer and Algernon Ashton with the cellist Evva Mizerska. Published by Toccata Classics, their performances have been praised by The Strad for their "great expressive range and impressive authority". She has recently recorded both with the Tippett Quartet and on rare original pianos at the Finchcocks Musical Museum.
Based in London, Emma is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Following her graduation from the S. Pietro a Majella Conservatoire in Naples at the age of only 19 and an Advanced Diploma from the S. Cecilia Conservatoire in Rome, Emma studied in London with Yonty Solomon. She completed her studies with Geoffrey Pratley and Patsy Toh as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, from where she was awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Accompaniment with Distinction. Her many prizes have included the Anglo-Czechoslovak Trust Award, the International Ibla Grand Prize as Distinguished Musician, the Grover Bennett Prize and the AMA Calabria Award. She was also awarded an Italian Literature and Culture degree cum laude from the Federico II University in Naples. www.emmaabbate.com