Alumni Join Sir Willard White at The Bridgewater Hall

Forming part of our 40th anniversary, RNCM President and world-renowned opera singer, Sir Willard White, will perform An Enchanting Evening of Song at The Bridgewater Hall on Wednesday 12 June.

The concert, recommended by Classic FM, will include a selection of his favourite arias and American popular songs, and will feature the RNCM Chamber Ensemble conducted by Clark Rundell. During the evening, the famous bass will be joined by alumnae Kathryn Rudge, Helen Sherman, Elizabeth Karani and Jennifer Rust, all of whom have performed principal roles in RNCM operas during their studies, and who are currently making their mark as professional singers.

In the space of 12 months, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge went from RNCM student to opera sensation, performing principal roles with English National Opera, Opera North and Glyndebourne on Tour. Kathryn, who was born in Liverpool, graduated with an International Artist Diploma in 2011, the same year The Times named her the New Face of Classical Music. She said: ‘The vocal tuition, support and performance opportunities I received during my studies at the RNCM were such great preparation for meeting the demands of the professional world.

‘I was also fortunate as a student to have the opportunity to work with Sir Willard White in a masterclass. It is a privilege to perform in this very special concert with him. I am really looking forward to singing some beautiful Copland songs and revisiting a Carmen aria which I had the pleasure to sing in the title role for the College’s 2010 opera.’

Fellow mezzo Helen Sherman has also experienced significant success since graduating in 2010 with the same qualification. The Australian, who represented her country in the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, received great praise recently for her portrayal of Aurelio in English Touring Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Siege of Calais, with The Telegraph stating: ‘I’ve never seen a more convincing boy. And she can sing too.’ Talking of this concert, she said: ‘I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the RNCM’s rich musical tradition, of which I am proud to be a part. This concert will have something for everyone, and is a means by which we can look to the future of the RNCM, with a vision of what can be done to ensure its rich tradition is carried forth for the next 40 years.’

The concert also includes performances from two of the RNCM’s 2012 graduates: sopranos Elizabeth Karani and Jennifer Rust, both of whom are looking forward to event.

Elizabeth, who will sing the role of Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Aldeburgh Festival in June, said: ‘It is a great honour to share the stage with Sir Willard White and to represent the recent RNCM alumni along with my extremely talented friends and colleagues. I am also delighted having spent five very happy years at the RNCM, where I received exemplary teaching, opportunities and support. It’s lovely to be able to give something back by way of this Gala concert.’

Jennifer added: ‘I am honoured to be performing in such an exciting concert alongside talented alumni. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the College, I always felt supported through so many different performance opportunities, ranging from the large opera productions to spotlight concerts exploring new repertoire. All these opportunities encouraged and challenged me to the next level. The RNCM has produced so many wonderful musicians, and I am very proud to have studied and graduated at the college and to be performing in this concert.’

Sir Willard, who has been the RNCM President since 2008, is a great supporter of the College. He said: ‘I am particularly encouraged and impressed through the feeling I get each time I enter the home of the RNCM. I appreciate fully that this energy stems from a sense of fulfilment engendered by the pursuit of musicians developing, aided by the attendant nurturing from instructors, guiding the aim to mastery of the chosen Art. Only a dedicated persistent commitment from everyone associated with the RNCM can help generate this result. I’m honoured to be associated with the RNCM in my role of President and envision many future years of continued success in this 40th Anniversary celebration.’

An Enchanted Evening of Song with Sir Willard White takes place at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on Friday 12 June at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced £17.50 – £27.50.

Post-Concert Reception: As part of the RNCM’s 40th Birthday celebrations, you are invited to join us for an exclusive post-concert reception in the Barbirolli Room. Emeritus President the Duchess of Kent and Sir Willard White will meet and greet guests and drinks and a buffet will be served. Tickets for the reception cost £30pp.


25 April 2013