Sir Michael Tippett (1905-98)
London Philharmonic Orchestra Label releases Tippett’s opera The Midsummer Marriage on 23 September 2022 – the first commercially released recording of the work in over 50 years
Recorded live at the opening concert of the LPO’s 2021/22 season, marking the beginning of Edward Gardner’s tenure as Principal Conductor
The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) Label will release Tippett’s opera The Midsummer Marriage on Friday 23 September – the first commercially released recording of the work in over 50 years. It was recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall on the opening night of the LPO’s 2021/22 season, which also marked the beginning of Edward Gardner’s tenure as Principal Conductor.
With libretto by the composer, the opera is a modern myth of hope and renewal, ritual and romance. Drawing on a wide variety of influences including Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and English folklore, the story traces the path of two couples to marriage, Jenifer and Mark and Jack and Bella, over three acts: morning, afternoon and evening & night.
The cast comprises tenor Robert Murray as Mark; soprano Rachel Nicholls as Jenifer; bass-baritone Ashley Riches as King Fisher; soprano Jennifer France as Bella; tenor Toby Spence as Jack; mezzo-soprano Claire Barnett-Jones as Sosostris; mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley as She-Ancient; bass Joshua Bloom as He-Ancient; tenor John Findon as Dancing Man; bass-baritone Paul Sheehan as Half-Tipsy Man; bass Robert Winslade Anderson as A Man; and mezzo-soprano Sophie Goldrick as A Girl with the London Philharmonic Choir and English National Opera Chorus.
Three singles will be released digitally in the lead up: Jenifer’s Is it so strange from Act One (Friday 2 September 2022); Bella’s I’ll lay the baby to my breast and rock it from Act Two(Friday 9 September 2022); and the Finale from Act Three (Friday 16 September 2022). The full recording comes out on Friday 23 September, the day before the LPO’s new season begins, and physical copies of the box set are accompanied by a 52-page booklet, complete with full libretto and articles by Oliver Soden, author of the first full-length biography of the composer, and Edward Gardner.
This recording of The Midsummer Marriage is made possible thanks to funding from the Michael Tippett Musical Foundation and is the first of a series of new initiatives supported by the Foundation to promote Tippett’s music. The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation was established in 1979 and, since then has made more than 500 grants in support of young musicians and composers, new music and music education initiatives. Edward Gardner has recently been made a patron of the Foundation.