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Inspired by some of the most influential writers and artists of his day, Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote songs that display real musical individuality, adding a more imaginative dimension to the easy pastiche of his light operas. Pianist David Owen Norris introduces his new recording of Sullivan songs, featuring a trio of talented young British singers.
David Owen Norris: ‘The songs show us that Sullivan is no pale imitation of something else’.

Sir Arthur Sullivan’s songs are the work of a singer, and a good singer at that – he was First Boy after only a couple of years in the Chapel Royal. Thomas Helmore, the choirmaster, took singing seriously. He was famous for the beauty and purity of his one-note chanting – Sir George Elvey, the organist at Windsor, hearing Helmore on a day when there was no choir and no organ, remarked: ‘I never in my life heard anything to approach the grandeur and solemnity of that monotone service.’ The young Sullivan took this lesson to heart – his most famous song, The Lost Chord, begins by quoting the versicle ‘O Lord, open thou our lips’.

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About Opera Now

Christophe Rousset celebrates a quarter century at the forefront of the Early Music scene with Les Talens Lyriques; Sir John Eliot Gardiner takes Monteverdi’s three surviving operas on tour around the world; and our guide to the brightest and best opera festivals of 2017. Plus, remembering the velvet voice of Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda; individuality and imagination in the songs of Arthur Sullivan; Debussy’s ravishing Pelléas lets down its hair at Garsington; American baritone Scott Hendricks shares his love of playing bad boys; the art of the librettist; British conductor Nicholas Chalmers; and an 80th birthday tribute to Grace Bumbry.