Looking Back & Looking Forward

It has been some time since my last news post and Christmas is always a good time for reflection. After the first year of the pandemic, I am so very grateful for the opportunities I have had to perform and make music again in 2021.

In March (and despite the UK’s terrible second wave), over a period of two days in Oxford we recorded Joseph Phibbs’ opera Juliana for Resonus Classics. This disc is due for release shortly on 7th January 2022 and will be available on all the usual channels (Amazon, Spotify and iTunes). Thrillingly, in April I sang Schubert Lieder (orchestrated by Brahms) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, jumping in at the very last minute – it was such an honour to sing with this glorious orchestra. Later in the year, the postponed Leeds Castle Concert opera gala could finally go ahead and I sang with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to an audience of thousands.

As part of Barbara Hannigan’s great initiative “Momentum: Our Future Now” I was invited to share the stage with Roderick Williams and Susie Allen in two English Song recitals. Also on the recital platform, I performed more English Song with pianist Mark Packwood at King Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Wells and with Simon Lepper as part of the Rye Arts Festival. I sang music by Mahler and Poulenc at the Oxford Lieder Festival (“The Carnival of the Animals”) and for the London Song Festival (“Baudelaire: An Obsession with Hedonism”).

It was wonderful to return to majestic spaces to sing my first ever Verdi Requiem at Winchester Cathedral, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at the fabulous Saffron Hall, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni (as Masetto) in concert at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. I performed Haydn’s Creation at Harpenden and Fanny Mendelssohn’s Cholera Cantata at Hackney both conducted by John Andrews, and an opera gala for Oxford Opera conducted by John Warner. I also performed new music by Luke Styles alongside Britten’s Canticles as part of the Cheltenham and Presteigne Festivals conducted by George Vass.

Rather unexpectedly, I was a finalist in the International Handel Singing Competition, performing Handel’s music in his church (St George’s, Hanover Square) with the London Handel Orchestra directed by Laurence Cummings. The final is still available to watch on YouTube at the following link: https://youtu.be/eaGZm_M16y4

Looking ahead to 2022 and aside from the forthcoming CD release, I am hugely looking forward to performing Papageno in The Magic Flute for Oxford Opera in April (directed by Paul Carr) and excited to be making my debut with Welsh National Opera in Will Todd’s Migrations in the summer and autumn.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ❤️

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2021 News Update

Welcome back! After the past long and difficult year, I am pleased to share some news.

In March, we were fortunate to be able to make music again in a recording made during 2 days in Oxford. With orchestra and conducted by George Vass, I sang the role of Juan in Joseph Phibbs’ opera Juliana, with a text by Laurie Slade and based on Strindberg’s play Miss Julie. The recording will be released on the Resonus Classics label.

Quite unexpectedly at the last-minute, I was thrilled to be invited to Glasgow to perform Schubert Lieder orchestrated by Brahms with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Kevin John Edusei. The performance will be broadcast on the orchestra’s digital platform on Friday 21 May 2021: https://www.rsno.org.uk/digital-season-spring-summer/

As part of Barbara Hannigan’s Initiative “Momentum: Our Future, Now”, I have been selected to give two performances alongside baritone Roderick Williams and accompanied by Susie Allen. We will give two recitals of English Song on 9 July at Southend Chamber Music Club and 11 July at St Albans Cathedral as part of the St Albans International Organ Festival. Our programme includes Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, as well as songs by Ivor Gurney, John Ireland and Peter Warlock.

On 10 July I shall perform opera favourites as part of the open-air gala concert at Leeds Castle, Kent with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor John Rigby. This performance was postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic so I am especially pleased and looking forward to it.

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Fête Galante Recording Released

Our world premiere recording of Dame Ethel Smyth’s opera Fête Galante was released by Retrospect Opera in November 2019. I sang the melancholy part of Pierrot who meets his tragic death at the conclusion of the opera…

“Felix Kemp’s plangent, doomed Pierrot makes a particular impression” Gramophone

“I was most taken with the baritone Felix Kemp, whose Pierrot is as precisely enunciated as it is warmly sung: his sardonic little songs are spellbinding” Opera Magazine

To listen to an excerpt from the recording please click HERE and to read a selection of the reviews of the recording please click HERE

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2019/20 Season

By way of an update, 2019 saw my debut with Oxford Lieder in two recitals, and a return to the London Song Festival to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising. I performed the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah on two occasions and made my Israeli debut with the Israel Camerata in Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Lutheran Mass. In opera, I performed the role of Giove in Cavalli’s La Calisto at Longborough Festival Opera and worked for the first time with Welsh National Opera covering Malatesta in Don Pasquale and the Royal Opera House covering Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Sir Antonio Pappano as part of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and the European Network of Opera Academies at the Aldeburgh Festival.

Looking ahead to 2020, I am excited to be making my Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut as a Flemish Deputy in Don Carlo, as well as giving a lunchtime recital at the ROH Crush Room in January for Debut. I will work with English National Opera for the first time, understudying El Dancaïro in Carmen, and I shall perform Don Fernando in Fidelio for Lyric Opera, Dublin. Amongst several concerts, I will sing as part of an open-air gala concert at Leeds Castle with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Please see SCHEDULE for more details.

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The Travelling Companion is Released

The world premiere recording of Charles Villiers Stanford’s opera The Travelling Companion is released by Somm Recordings on 27 September 2019.

Recorded live in December 2018, Felix sings the role of The Herald alongside the New Sussex Opera Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Toby Purser.

Felix Kemp’s lyric baritone made an excellent impression in the Herald’s smiling, bureaucratic urbanities” Opera Magazine

Felix Kemp was appropriately stentorian and clear as the Herald” Opera Today

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2019/20 Season

I am thrilled to announce that I make my Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut in 2020 as A Flemish Deputy in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Verdi’s Don Carlo, alongside a cast that includes Placido Domingo, Ferrucio Furlanetto, Elīna Garanča, Michael Fabiano and Mariusz Kwiecien.

This autumn I shall tour Israel performing J.S. Bach’s Lutheran Mass and Mozart’s Requiem with The Israel Camerata conducted by Avner Biron.

For Oxford Lieder, I shall perform two recitals with pianist Sholto Kynoch featuring Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge and songs by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. At the opening recital of this year’s London Song Festival, to commemorate 50 years since the Stonewall Riots I shall perform a specially commissioned work by Ben Moore and Mark Campbell, alongside guest speaker Peter Tatchell.

And in 2020 I look forward to performing Richard Blackford’s Pietà, co-commissioned by St. Albans Choral Society with whom I shall perform under the direction of George Vass.

Please see SCHEDULE for more details.

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2019 – An Update

Earlier this year I had the honour to cover the role of Novice’s Friend in Deborah Warner’s production of Britten’s Billy Budd at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. For Welsh National Opera, I covered the role of Malatesta in Daisy Evans’ production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.

Concerts included J.S. Bach St. John Passion (St. Albans Cathedral) & St. Matthew Passion (Southwark Cathedral), Beethoven 9th Symphony (Cadogan Hall), Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem (Wiltshire Music Centre) and Mendelssohn Elijah (Lincoln Cathedral).

I was very fortunate to have been a participant as part of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at this year’s Aldeburgh Festival, exploring opera arias with Sir Antonio Pappano.

And for Longborough Festival Opera, I performed the role of Giove in a production of Cavalli’s La Calisto. Please click HERE to read critical acclaim for the production.

(Photo by Matthew Williams-Ellis)

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Forthcoming Engagements in 2019

I am very much looking forward to the year ahead and some exciting engagements including Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Arundel Cathedral, Bach’s St Matthew Passion at Southwark Cathedral and my debut at Longborough Festival Opera as Giove in Cavalli’s La Calisto. Please see SCHEDULE for more details.

Please click HERE to read critical acclaim for recent performances with the London Song Festival and New Sussex Opera.

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Autumn News 2018

I am delighted to announce that I have joined the roster at James Black Management

Celebrating the centenary of Leonard Bernstein‘s birth, I will be performing his music as part of the London Song Festival‘s opening concert.

As part of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, I am looking forward to exploring lieder by Hugo Wolf with Roger Vignoles and Richard Stokes at Snape Maltings.

For Lontano, I shall record the role of Pierrot in Dame Ethel Smyth‘s Fête Galante with Retrospect Opera conducted by Odaline de la Martinez.

In four concert performances with New Sussex Opera, I shall perform the role of the Herald in Charles Villiers Stanford‘s The Travelling Companion that will also be recorded by Somm Recordings for future release.

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Audition Oracle Scholarship / Britten-Pears Young Artist 2018

I am very grateful to Audition Oracle for awarding me the first Singers’ Preparation Award of 2018, ahead of my debut later this year with Opera Holland Park London as part of their Young Artist Programme. I am also thrilled to announce that this Autumn I will be joining the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme exploring Wolf Lieder.

Audition Oracle – Singers’ Preparation Award
Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme – Wolf Lieder

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