It was very nice to see Cecilia McDowall at Saturday’s performance of her Magnificat by Teddington Choral Society. It’s a lyrical and effective piece, with two nicely contrasted solo movements for the soprano and mezzo soloists (Ecce Enim and Et Misericordia), who then meet in a feistier duet (Fecit Potentiam). The McDowall was book-ended in the concert by the Pergolesi Stabat Mater and the Vivaldi Gloria, so the girls-only solo line-up (me, Vivien Munday and Joanne Roughton Arnold) was kept busy.
Cecilia and I will be seeing more of each other later this year thanks to Nova Music Opera, which has commissioned a new stage work from her, as a pendant to Stephen McNeff’s Prometheus Drowned, in which I will be performing. Cecilia’s new work, Airbourne, commemorates the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War through the eyes and experiences of an airman. The text is by Andy Rashleigh, librettist for Stephen McNeff’s Vivienne which I premiered last year, and I am excited to hear the result of their collaboration. Prometheus Drowned is a re-worked and expanded version of Stephen McNeff’s earlier work for me, A Voice of One Delight, which explores the death of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The original was commissioned by Presteigne Festival and this new work will tour later this year in a double-bill with Airbourne to Presteigne, Birmingham, Canterbury and London. Details to follow.