The whole evening – starting with Angela Hewitt's Bach and Beethoven, followed by Dame Felicity Lott's string of beautiful songs by Hahn, Schumann, Strauss and Mahler – was almost a surreal experience. By the time they performed their encore O Waly, Waly (Benjamin Britten's arrangement) some of us were trying very hard to stop the tears rolling down our cheeks.
These two superstars' collaboration took place at Breinton on a perfect summer's evening. The first half of their enchanting programme featured Angela Hewitt performing Bach's English Suite No. 3 and Beethoven's Sonata Op. 31 No.3. The minute she started, she captivated the audience; it was like we even forgot to breathe in order not to miss a single note of her playing. Her precision and control was extraordinary, and whether fortissimo or pianissimo, her tones were clear with no ambiguity or flaw. Her distinctive style was convincing and assuring, leaving no questions to be asked. But more than anything, we felt her dedicated love towards the music and composers, and strong desire to perform. It was absolutely lovely.
Dame Felicity Lott was all natural. There was nothing artificially created or fake about her voice and performance – it was simply, naturally, astounding. Using her magnetic elements and warm charm, the audience was drawn in completely. There was that smile and eyes that killed, and the control over her glorious voice which took our breath away.
The two performers were full of vitality and stamina which put some of us to shame! They will be performing together at this year's Trasimeno Music Festival, organised by Angela Hewitt.
English Suite No. 3 in G minor
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3
Si mes vers avaient des ailes
'Y a des arbes
La derniere Valse
Liebst du um Schonheit
Ich bin der Welt abhanded gekommen
Angela Hewitt is a phenomenal artist who has established herself at the highest level over the last few years not least through her superb, award-winning recordings for Hyperion. Completed in 2005, her eleven-year project to record all the major keyboard works of Bach has been described as "one of the record glories of our age" (The Sunday Times) and has won her a huge following. She has been hailed as "the pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time" (The Guardian) and "nothing less than the pianist who will define Bach performance on the piano for years to come" (Stereophile). She has a vast repertoire ranging from Couperin to the contemporary. Her discography also includes CDs of Granados, Beethoven, Schumann, Rameau, Chabrier, Olivier Messiaen, the complete solo works of Ravel, the complete Chopin Nocturnes and Impromptus, a Handel/Haydn album, and three discs devoted to the music of Couperin. Her recordings of the complete solo keyboard concertos of J.S. Bach with the Australian Chamber Orchestra entered the billboard charts in the U.S.A. only weeks after their release, and were named Record of the Month in Gramophone magazine. A cycle of Mozart Concertos has begun, the first of which
Dame Felicity Lott was born in Cheltenham, into a family of amateur musicians. From an early age she learnt piano and violin, and took singing lessons. Her real love was the French language and she took a degree in French and Latin at Royal Holloway College, University of London, with a vague idea of becoming an interpreter. As part of the degree course, Felicity spent a year as Assistante d'Anglais in a school near Grenoble. Besides her teaching duties she enrolled at the Conservatoire de Grenoble and found an excellent singing teacher who encouraged her to pursue her singing studies. After returning to England to take her degree, she obtained an Associated Board scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied for four years, leaving in 1973 with the Principal's Prize.
In 1975 Felicity made her debut at the English National Opera as Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute, in 1976 she took part in the first performance of Henze's opera We Come To The River at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In that year also began her long relationship with