Skip to main content

Past Events > 2021

08. Celebrating Saint-Saëns

09 October 2021, 13:30 - 16:00

1.30pm - 2.30pm - Part 1: Camille Saint-Saëns: A Life in Song
3pm - 4pm - Part 2: Saint-Saëns and the Musical World of the Salon

Today we celebrate and explore the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, who died 100 years ago this year (and whose 186th birthday would have fallen today). Although best known these days for his orchestral works, Saint-Saëns wrote over 140 songs during his long and illustrious career – from his earliest childhood compositions to some of the final music he produced in his eighties.

In this two-part Song Connections event, Flora Willson guides us through his biography as a song composer, also exploring the impact of his fervent patriotism on his song-writing and considering his legacy and status today. This illustrated discussion then follows Saint-Saëns into the scintillating but semi-private world of the late-19th-century French salon – a world in which the composer’s own Monday night gatherings were for a time among the most important fixtures.



This event is an in-person and livestreamed event. Livestreamed performances will be available to watch live in our Digital Concert Hall at the advertised performance time and will be available to watch again and on demand until the end of November.

Want to watch this concert in person and at home? 'Hybrid' tickets, valid both in person and for the Digital Concert Hall, are also available for an additional £3 to the in-person price.

All our seating is unreserved. This means you are guaranteed a seat in your chosen area, but not a specific seat. In order to allow for social distancing, you will be seated as an individual or as a group, based on the number of tickets you booked for this concert.

For groups of more than 10, please phone or email the box office to book your tickets.

The event duration is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, with a 30 minute break.


(Online bookings only)

Book five or more concerts at the same time: 5% discount

Book ten or more concerts at the same time: 10% discount

Book fifteen or more concerts at the same time: 15% discount

For even further discounts click here for more information on our Festival Passes.

Tickets for both in-person and the Digital Concert Hall will be issued as eTickets by default. Printed tickets are available on request, for an additional fee.


Due to COVID-19 we have to do things a little differently this year. In order to keep everyone safe, our seating and concert conditions are subject to change in line with changing government guidance.

For more information about our COVID-19 safety measures, please click here.

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of the concert, please do not attend, but get in touch with our box office to arrange a refund.


Artist Portrait

Flora Willson

Flora Willson


Flora Willson is a cultural historian of music and lecturer at King’s College London, where her teaching and research focus on 19th-century music (particularly opera) and its relationship to urban culture. She also writes about music for The Guardian and Opera magazine, contributes programme notes and talks for institutions including English National Opera, Glyndebourne, the BBC Proms, Royal Opera House and South Bank Centre, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 broadcasts.
Artist Portrait

Jennifer Rushworth

Artist Portrait

Bernadette Johns

Bernadette Johns


Bernadette Johns is a British-French mezzo-soprano training at Royal Academy Opera (RAO), London with Giles Underwood and Joseph Middleton. She is a recipient of the Help Musicians Sybil Tutton Opera Award and the Carr-Gregory Trust Award, and is supported by the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity. Bernadette holds a Master of Arts in Performance with Distinction, and was awarded a Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music for an outstanding final recital. She previously studied Music at the University of Oxford. Bernadette made her Leeds Lied... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Liam Bonthrone

Liam Bonthrone


Scottish tenor Liam Bonthrone is a Postgraduate student at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, under the tutelage of Robert Dean and Adrian Thompson. He recently won the GSMD English Song Prize. Liam made his operatic debut as Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with British Youth Opera, and won two major Opera awards for his performances. On the concert platform, recent solo performances include Handel Samson, Bach Christmas Oratorio, and Phillips Love Songs for Mary Joyce. Last year he appeared in the ensemble for Bernst... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Benjamin Mead

Benjamin Mead


Award winning British-Polish-German pianist Benjamin Mead has quickly established himself as a highly expressive and sensitive song accompanist and chamber musician. Praised as outstanding, perceptive and elevating, he is the co-founder of the Rhonefestival in Switzerland and currently holds the position of Academy Voices and Song Circle Co-ordinator as Shinn Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music. He is constantly looking for ways to revitalise the classical repertoire by combining unknown treasures in specially curated recital programmes, se... Read Full Biography

Festival Passes

This event is part of a series:

Nature's Songbook

Mailing List