Nurturing a New Generation of Singers
Charity Number: 1076508


GODS AND HEROES: Eastbourne 2013

Fiona Maddocks in The Observer:

By chance another Grand Inquisitor was prowling around last week, not in Covent Garden where he has taken the role in this production with Kaufmann, but on the English south coast. John Tomlinson sang an extract from Don Carlo, with fellow bass Michael Druiett as Philip II, at a weekend festival in Eastbourne called Gods and Heroes. The theme was this year’s three anniversary composers – Wagner, Verdi and Britten – with performances by younger singers who are continuing their training thanks to support from Mastersingers, a foundation which particularly helps those moving into Wagnerian repertoire.

As Tomlinson sang Wotan at Covent Garden and Bayreuth for two decades, as well as the world over, he has a jot of experience. Lee Bisset and Stuart Pendred, both in the cast of Longborough’s Ring Cycle next month, sang extracts from The Flying Dutchman. Druiett, Opera North’s Wanderer in their forthcoming Siegfried, worked on the role with Tomlinson in a public masterclass. The tradition of British Wagner singing, passed from Reginald Goodall to Tomlinson and his generation, continues on its exciting journey down the Rhine. With the emphasis firmly on music, it feels worlds away from the stampedes and protests at Düsseldorf’s “Nazi” Tannhäuser last week.


The London Rings – Solti to Pappano – Comments from some of the audience (Aldeburgh Music)

” … the most stimulating musical weekend we’ve ever attended in our 35+ years of concerts/lectures etc …”
John and Angela Crowther

“From one of the Outposts of the Empire (Bridgend), my wife and I would like to say a huge thank you for last weekend’s Wagnerfest at Aldeburgh. The wonderful weekend was rather special and very well worthwhile. We hope we may look forward to similar events in the future.”
Heide and Ewen Harris

“I greatly enjoyed the Aldeburgh weekend … ”
Erna Angus

” … it was informative, entertaining, and gave us much material to argue over … ”
Woodbridge, Suffolk

“A brilliant weekend in Aldeburgh … ”
Chris Argent

“A marvellous occasion and one which will long be remebered … ”
Michael Bousfield, Chairman of the Music Club of London

“One of the most inspirational and rich musical conferences that we have ever attended. Congratulations on a superbly organised and magnificently presented weekend with the highest level of artists contributing.”
Richard Black

“Thank you so much for the wonderful Wagner sessions. It was one of the best musical weekends of my life. I came away with my head buzzing with ideas and, of course, music. Fascinating!”
Dr. John A. Florance

” … a superb weekend in Aldeburgh. There was never a dull moment and we will long remember our excellent time there. We were impressed by the work you are doing with young singers.”
Ian and Freda Rickword

“What a splendid weekend that was in Aldeburgh. It’s taken me over a week to recover! Many congratulations. It will be a hard act to follow. The importance of encouraging young artists is an aspect dear to my heart.”
Derek Watson, Chairman of the Wagner Society of Scotland

And from some of the participants (Aldeburgh 2009)…

“Amazing … I won’t forget it, and had the best time in preparing for it with Lionel Friend. As for the Masterclasses, what an experience to meet and play in front of Tony Pappano and Sir John.”
Kelvin Lim, pianist

“It was a great pleasure. I am no longer a Wagner virgin. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to sing to Pappano.”
Andrew Rees, tenor

“Thanks so much for the chance to share a platform with my heroes … ”
Michael Portillo

“Singing has been on my mind since Aldeburgh. It was such a positive experience. I would like to pursue the idea of preparing for the Seattle competition.”
Claire Weston, dramatic soprano

“There are great singers from the colleges and young artists programmes but none are being nurtured like in the times of Goodall et al. This revered generation of Wagnerians were so fortunate to ply their trade in that era… I’m envious of those wonderful opportunities they had to study and perform. I do not know of all the work you do with Mastersingers but I do know that nurturing is the primary aim … just look at Claire Weston! We may have persuaded her to come back to singing.”
James Rutherford, bass-baritone


A review of the Aldeburgh 2009 Sunday afternoon session

A review of the 3rd December 2006 event