Music and Tea at Lydgate House
Lydgate House. Chapel-en-le-Frith, Saturday 2 October 2021
The first Friends event in 20 months (!) took place at Lydgate House and was a joyful reunion of Festival Friends as well as a delightful afternoon of chamber music followed by afternoon tea – many of those present confessed to feeling quite emotional at being together again after the various lockdowns due to the pandemic.
The first half of the programme – Fairy Tales – was performed by the South African pianist Roelof Temmingh, who played music by Nikolai Medtner, Helmut Lachenmann and Franz Schubert on a stunningly beautiful grand piano made of rosewood. In 2019 Roelof was the recipient of the Tagore Gold Medal from the Royal College of Music, London, and is currently the Constant/Kit Lambert Junior Fellow. He has toured Europe and South America. As well as performing, Roelof also composes. He performed his own composition to HRH the Prince of Wales at the RCM.
The second half of the recital – Colour My Song – was performed by Nadine Benjamin, soprano, accompanied by Roelof Temmingh with groups of songs by Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, H. L, Undine Smith Moore, William Grant Still, Brittney Elizabeth Boykin, Maria Thompson Corley, Barbara Sherrill, Byron Motley, Shirley Thompson and Errollyn Wallen – the Composer of the opera “Dido’s Ghost” premiered at this year’s Festival. Each group of songs was interspersed with readings, given by Michael Harper, by Mari Evans, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Derek Walcott, Langston Hughes and Banjamin Zephaniah.
Nadine Benjamin, ENO Harewood Artist (2018-2020), made her Royal Opera House debut in October 2020 as soprano in New Dark Age. She is developing great renown as an exponent of song, in particular Verdi, Strauss, Berg and contemporary American song. Nadine made her debut at the BBC Proms in 2019. Michael Harper is a retired counter-tenor, a teacher of singing at the Royal Northern College of Music and Guest Lecturer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Michael is a member of Buxton International Festival Board and Patron of the National Opera Studio’s Diverse Voices Initiative.
The event ended with an excellent Afternoon Tea served by the Friends catering group.
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