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Past Events > 2020

05. Schumann and Mahler: Sarah Connolly & Eugene Asti

10 October 2020, 19:30 - 21:30

Sarah Connolly’s recitals with Eugene Asti are always memorable occasions, and this certainly promises to be a spectacular opening night concert. Sarah and Eugene begin with Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (‘A woman’s love and life’). Written in 1840, the year of Schumann’s marriage to Clara Wieck, the cycle was dedicated to Clara and has been a firm favourite ever since. Schumann sets poems by Adelbert von Chamisso (who was also a renowned botanist) that may seem out of keeping with the modern world but in fact come from the pen of a noted liberal and describe a relationship across social classes that was rare indeed for its time.

Reflecting the ‘connections across time’ of today’s programme of events, Sarah and Eugene also include a selection of texts by Elizabethan poets, primarily Shakespeare, set by composers including Haydn, Arne, Howells and Quilter. They conclude this programme with Mahler’s Rückert Lieder. Like Schubert’s Schwanengesang, these songs were not conceived as a cycle by the composer, but they sit perfectly together and are one of Mahler’s great contributions to the song repertoire.

The outstanding bass William Thomas, who won the 2018 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, will begin this evening’s concert with a short set of Schubert songs, including Schubert’s settings of Shakespeare. Every evening recital this year will begin with Schubert songs performed by singers who have arguably been hardest hit by the current crisis: artists who are already forging careers but not yet at a stage where they can view current circumstances as a temporary setback.

This concert will be streamed completely live from the Holywell Music Room. Shortly afterwards, it will also be available to watch again (using the same ticket and link) until 1 November 2020. Click here for further information on how tickets will work this year.

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After a short break at the end of the concert, there will be a Q&A with the artists. Please email any questions you have during the interval or at the end of the concert ([email protected]) or post them on social media (#OLF2020), and the artists will answer as many as time allows.

Artist Portrait

Dame Sarah Connolly

Dame Sarah Connolly


Born in County Durham, Sarah Connolly studied piano and singing at the Royal College of Music, of which she is now a Fellow. She was made a DBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours, having previously been made a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours. In 2011 she was honoured by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and presented with the Distinguished Musician Award. She is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2012 Singer Award. Highlights in her 2018/19 season include Fricka Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at Covent Ga... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Eugene Asti

Eugene Asti


Eugene Asti studied at the Mannes College of Music, New York with Jeannette Haien where he earned his B.Mus. and M.A. and subsequently studied piano accompaniment with Graham Johnson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Eugene currently teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is Vocal Accompaniment Coordinator at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and regularly gives masterclasses both in the UK and abroad. One of the foremost accompanists of his generation, he has performed with many great arti... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

William Thomas

William Thomas


British bass William Thomas is winner of a number of major prizes, which include the Kathleen Ferrier Award and John Christie Award in 2018, and the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in 2019. William is a Drake Calleja Scholar and Help Musicians UK Maidment award holder, and is currently on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studies with John Evans. Opera engagements have included the role of Nicholas in the UK premiere of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa for the Glyndebourne Festival... Read Full Biography

Festival Passes

This event is part of a series:

Connections Across Time - A Brief History of Song

Over a packed eight days, world-class artists including Benjamin Appl, Ian Bostridge, Sarah Connolly and Roderick Williams will present some 40 concerts and events, from venues across Oxford and completely live. From the comfort of your own home, you will be able to enjoy these concerts live-streamed in the highest quality. We’ll be exploring every possible advantage of this temporary ...

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