A London plaque for Joseph Haydn

plaqueFINALThis autumn I have been fronting the campaign to put up a plaque in London to the composer Joseph Haydn. Despite his enormous contribution to London’s musical life and two long visits to the city at the end of the eighteenth century, there is no permanent memorial to him here.

As there is no original building that can support a plaque (and thus qualify for English Heritage consideration), a small team from the Haydn Society of Great Britain has worked to obtain the required permissions relating to the building that now stands at 18 Great Pulteney St. This is the site where Haydn lived when he first arrived in London in January 1791, as recorded in a letter he wrote to Maria Anna von Genzinger.

We have exceeded our crowdfunding target for the costs of the plaque’s manufacture and installation and, in the process of fundraising, we have also opened a wonderful dialogue with Haydn fans across the world. We have talked to people from as far afield as the USA and Japan about their favourite works by Haydn and why they feel he is still not as popular as his contemporaries Mozart and Beethoven. This highly unscientific survey will be summarised next year in an article for the Haydn Society.

The exact date of the plaque unveiling has yet to be confirmed. The hope is that the plaque will be in place in Spring 2015 and London will finally have its first memorial to a composer who was such an important part of its cultural heritage.

For more information about the campaign and research into the plaque’s position, go to The Haydn Society of Great Britain and Kickstarter.

Vivienne Crowdfunded!

Clare McCaldin backstage at the Royal Opera's La Rondine, practising her flapper characterisationIt’s with a huge sense of relief that we achieved our goal at the Vivienne Kickstarter appeal yesterday with three days left to go. The basic production budget of the show has been met. Thank you to everyone who pledged money. This will soon be debited from you, and then, in due course, we will send the ‘reward’ if you have chosen to take one in line with your contribution. Your support has been, in real and symbolic terms, a shot in the arm.

Thank you also to those of you who have used social media to pass on the Kickstarter appeal, or simply shared it with friends via email or word of mouth. Seeing re-Tweets, Facebook-shares and getting little notes of encouragement has made an often awkward process much easier.

It is still possible to contribute to the fund. The total we set, twice revised, covers the very minimum necessary costs to give the piece the production it needs to make its greatest impression. Since then, another two dates have been added which can only increase the cost of the production, so we need all we can get. If you can’t get to see the show then you will be able to see a video of the production from the first performances.

Now we start the real work, as we begin to bring together the ideas and skills of the company to make Vivienne the unusual and entertaining show that it has always promised to be. See you in August!

RVW Trust joins Vivienne

RVW TrustFantastic news today from the RVW Trust that it will be supporting Vivienne with a grant.

The Trust has been a staunch supporter of my previous collaborations with Stephen McNeff, having contributed to the commissioning costs of the Madrigali dell’Estate song-cycle and the artists’ costs for the CD of the same name that features that piece.

My thanks to the Trust for its continued support of our work.

The Champs Hill experience

Recording a CD at Champs Hill is a rare and special experience: aside from looking after the artists themselves, our generous hosts care for the support team that includes composers, recording engineers and producers, so that everyone can fulfil their role with ease and good humour. As well as the beautiful concert hall that doubles as the recording space, the surrounding environment is filled with art and sculpture, providing inspiration and something to focus on when the head is too full of music. Three full days of recording solo vocal music was never going to be easy, but it could not have been more fun and we got everything in the can with time to spare. My thanks, again, to Mary and David Bowerman, the RVW and Finzi Trusts and my anonymous donor for making it possible.


Delighted by A Voice of One Delight

The first performances of A Voice of One Delight took place last week and I am thrilled by the level of enthusiasm with which they were received. We were very fortunate in attracting the resources to bring the piece to a high-level of finish before putting it in front of an audience and this has allowed us to get detailed feedback about how the production ideas support the narrative. For more photographic images by Claire Shovelton and a link to watch the work on video, go to the A Voice of One Delight webpage.