Dame SarahConnolly

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  • 20 December 2023

    Dame Sarah Connolly to receive The King’s Medal for Music

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  • 23 September 2022

    Dame Sarah Connolly begins her residency with Royal Northern Sinfonia

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  • 16 September 2020

    Dame Sarah Connolly awarded Honorary Membership of Royal Philharmonic Society

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  • Mendelssohn - Elijah

    Barbican Centre
    Jan 2024
    • When was Elijah last so strongly cast? Dame Sarah Connolly is still the first name on the team-sheet for such works, her mezzo-soprano well able to encompass the designated alto roles with her usual care for the music’s meaning

    • Sarah Connolly was warm and compassionate (except as a deliciously Wicked-Witch-of-the-West Queen).

    • And Sarah Connolly made every word tell in all her notes,

    • Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly brought warm tone, lovely flexibility and a sense of investment in the words to her recitative interventions in Part One, with a dignified account of 'Woe unto them' that really committed to the meaning. In Part Two, her Jezebel was strong and determined, like Finley, she imposed herself without bluster and the dialogue with the chorus fizzed with excitement. The culmination of her performance, however, was a beautifully flowing and movingly understated account of 'O rest in the Lord'.

  • Mahler - Rückert-Lieder, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder

    Signum Classics CD
    Jul 2023
    • “Isn’t there an extra urgency and depth of emotion about her delivery? Listen how she strokes and kisses the word ‘liebe’ …feel the intense sorrow engulfing her in the final Kindertontenlieder…whatever she sings, you get singing straight from the heart. You also get beautifully nuanced piano playing from Middleton, a musician seemingly incapable of misjudging the careful balancing act necessary when accompanying lieder”

    • No Mahler collector will want to pass it by

      • Gramophone Magazine
      • 01 October 2023
    • "This is an exceptionally fine Mahler recital. Sarah Connolly is perfectly attuned to Mahler’s music and consistently identifies with the words in an ideal fashion. Joseph Middleton’s playing is wonderful… These two fine musicians are deeply imaginative in their approach and they evidence an instinctive and very idiomatic partnership… [Joseph Middleton] and Sarah Connolly have set the bar very high for future releases and I look forward to further instalments with keen anticipation”

    • I am in awe of Connolly’s subtle variety of mood and feel across these songs; Before I started listening I had wondered if this collection would pale in the shadow of, say, treasured orchestral versions by Janet Baker or Christa Ludwig, or the Fassbaender/Gage recording with piano from the early 1980’s. I was wrong; this stands on its own terms a very satisfying recital indeed. Connolly's and Middleton's way of understanding the flow and the story-telling always feels incredibly natural. Tradition is not just being revived it feels renewed here.

  • Elgar - Live at the Cutty Sark

    Platoon EP
    Apr 2020
    • But the highlight of the programme - and the series - comes just before that, when Sarah Connolly sings Elgar's Sea Pictures. Connolly easily assumes the mantle of Janet Baker before her, finding meaning and colour in each workd (every syllable is perfectly clear, even without subtitles). Zeffman draws wondrously dark and delicate hues from the Philharmonia's wind and percussion sections and Connolly soars nobly above - that shaded, effortlessly expressive mezzo sounding more heartfelt and eloquent than ever. The ending of 'Sabbath Morning at Sea' is positively exalted. At moments like this the question of ear versus eye - like head versus heart - ceases to matter. It's all one, and it's very fine indeed.

      • Richard Bratby, Gramophone
      • 01 June 2023
  • Korngold - The Dead City

    English National Opera
    Mar 2023
  • Dvořák - Rusalka

    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Feb 2023
    • In a subtle reframing of some characters, Jezibaba, formerly known as a witch, becomes a “wise, eternal spirit”; her dignity suggested in Sarah Connolly’s restrained interpretation.

    • ...the magisterial presence of Sarah Connolly as Ježibaba, no malevolent crone but a proud she-devil redhead (repurposed in the cast list as "a wise, eternal spirit").

    • There are other voices of note: Sarah Connolly as the witch Jezibaba...

    • Abrahami and Lee shift the characters to suit their purpose: Ježibaba the witch becomes a “wise, eternal spirit” in Sarah Connolly’s splendidly vamp-like incarnation.

    • Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly was full of Vivienne Westwoodish mischief in the role of Jezibaba, the wise witch, who enables Rusalka’s transition from nymph to human. Connolly comes into her own vocally in the final act when her character offers Rusalka the moral dilemma of killing the Prince to change back from her final status as a wraith to being a nymph.

    • Connolly owned the role of her mystical, powerful character. Ježibaba requires a wide vocal range, too, and Connolly was magnificent throughout.

  • Mahler - Symphony no. 2

    ondon Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle at the BBC Proms
    Aug 2022
    • As so often with Mahler, the human voice will redeem us. The brass chorale gorgeously soothed our fevers, and Sarah Connolly sang “Urlicht” with commanding serenity, poise and strength, enhanced by the lovely contributions from LSO leader Andrej Power.

    • In the eerie pianissimos of the first movement, or the delicately nuanced stri"ng writing of the second, or Sarah Connolly’s transcendentally intense delivery of Urlicht, 5,000 people hardly dared breathe.

  • Recital with Joseph Middleton

    Music at Paxton
    Jul 2022
    • Music at Paxton review — Mezzo-soprano paints pictures with words among gallery’s artworks. The picture gallery at Paxton House must be one of Scotland’s most refined venues for classical music, and the Music at Paxton festival puts it to excellent use every summer by inviting some first-rate artists to perform among its Georgian portraits and Romantic landscapes. Dame Sarah Connolly’s Tuesday evening recital was one of this year’s highlights. She has a mezzo-soprano voice that you suspect would sound excellent wherever you heard it, a wine-rich instrument with a shimmering, lustrous top and a throbbing lower register. She brings refinement and insight to everything she sings, and her recital encompassed everything from the high seriousness of Schoenberg to show tunes by Kurt Weill, every phrase inflected with careful nuance and with sensitivity to the words.With Joseph Middleton, her regular pianist, they also gave the Scottish premiere of Songs of Sleep and Regret, a cycle written for them by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Turnage isn’t known for his soaring melodies, but this cycle was full of lyricism and poignant empathy, culminating in a searingly intense setting of Thomas Hardy’s To an Unborn Pauper Child. The highlight, however, was Chausson’s soaring Poème de l’amour et de la mer, a highly perfumed vision of erotic love which Connolly sang with riveting intensity while Middleton’s roiling piano line surged and flowed like the waves of the sea it depicted.

      • Simon Thompson, The Times
      • 29 July 2022