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Past Events > 2020

22. Six Songs of Melmoth: Carolyn Sampson & Joseph Middleton

13 October 2020, 19:30 - 21:30

Carolyn Sampson is undoubtedly one of today’s leading sopranos and has been described as singing with ‘luminous perfection and beautiful diction’ (Herald Scotland). After a stunning debut appearance at the Festival last year, we are delighted to welcome her back, with regular duo partner and lauded pianist Joseph Middleton.

We are equally delighted that they will premiere Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s new work, Six Songs of Melmoth, the second of today’s world premieres. Cheryl began a three-year position as our Associate Composer last year. For this new work, she has collaborated with the writer and librettist Sophie Rashbrook to create 'A musical matryoshka' inspired by Charles Maturin's gothic novel, Melmoth the Wanderer from 1820, and Sarah Perry's 2018 novel-response, Melmoth, whose eponymous central character is a mysterious figure condemned to wander the earth across all time.

Carolyn and Joseph begin their programme with a selection of Schubert songs, including ‘Litanei’ and ‘Elysium’ (almost as a prelude to tomorrow’s ‘sacred and secular’ theme). In the second half of this recital they perform songs by Eric Satie, Poldowski – the pseudonym of Régine Wieniawski – and Joseph Canteloube, before concluding with William Walton’s inspired songs from Edith Sitwell’s Façade.

This event will be presented by Gavin Plumley.


Please note that Samuel Hasselhorn, who was due to be this evening's 'Emerging Artist' has regretfully had to withdraw from this concert due to travel complications arising from current restrictions.

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.

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.

Oxford Lieder gratefully acknowledges support from the PRS Foundation, the Leche Trust the Nicholas John Trust and the RVW Trust for Cheryl Frances-Hoad's commission.

Artist Portrait

Carolyn Sampson

Carolyn Sampson


Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable successes in the UK as well as throughout Europe and the US. On the opera stage her roles have included the title role in Semele and Pamina inThe Magic Flute for English National Opera, various roles in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for Glyndebourne Festival Opera (released on DVD) and both Anne Truelove The Rake’s Progress and Mélisande Pelléas et Mélisande in Sir David McVicar’s productions for Scottish Opera. Internat... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Joseph Middleton

Joseph Middleton


Pianist Joseph Middleton specializes in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed in this field. Described in Opera Magazine as ‘the rightful heir to legendary accompanist Gerald Moore’, by BBC Music Magazine as ‘one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder’, he has also been labeled ‘the cream of the new generation’ by The Times. He is Director of Leeds Lieder, Musician in Residence at Pembroke College, Cambridge and a Fellow of his alma mater, the Royal A... Read Full Biography

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