Jessica Dandy

Jessica is a twenty seven year old contralto and Fellow in French Language at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Originally from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, she went on to study Modern & Medieval Languages at Trinity College, Cambridge before taking up a place on the Artist Masters Programme in Vocal Studies at the Guildhall with Professor Susan McCulloch. Now a student of Gary Coward, she is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and, as a student, held a Help Musicians’ UK Postgraduate Performance Award.

With both a literary and musical background, Jess is particularly passionate about the performance of lieder. She greatly benefited from her work with Wolfgang Holzmair, Imogen Cooper & Richard Stokes in Aldeburgh and more recently at the Wigmore Hall, culminating in recitals of Schubert, Schumann and Wolf. Alongside lieder, Jess has also given mélodie recitals at Barbican Hall & the City of London Festival, as well as being a member of Graham Johnson’s Song Guild.

The contemporary and baroque periods have thus far characterised Jess’ operatic repertoire. Recent roles include a multi-character Narrator/Minister/Minister’s Wife in George Benjamin’s Into The Little Hill for Shadwell Opera (Finnegan Downie Dear/Jack Furness) and cover & chorus for La Messaggiera in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, an exciting new production (Christopher Moulds/Michael Boyd) marking the beginning of a new collaboration between The Roundhouse, Camden with The Royal Opera House.

Concert performances include Andriessen De Staat at Queen Elizabeth Hall; Berlioz Roméo et Juliette under Valery Gergiev at the Barbican & Salle Pleyel (semi-chorus) and Vivaldi Gloria at Cadogan Hall.

Jessica is grateful to The Ann Driver Trust, The Guildhall School Trust, The Kathleen Trust, The Seary Charitable Trust and The Mario Lanza Educational Foundation for their kind & generous support.

Christina Pluhar © Marco Borggreve

Christina Pluhar & L‘Arpeggiata

“Music for a while shall all your cares beguile”. Has there ever been a more eloquent tribute to the salutary power of music than Purcell’s setting of these verses by John Dryden? Purcell was very much at home in London’s theatres, whose declared aim was to magic their audiences away into other (and better) worlds. For plays typically combining dance, song and the spoken word, Purcell wrote countless songs and incidental scores of bewitching beauty. With “Music for a While”, Christina Pluhar and her L’Arpeggiata ensemble have devised a homage to this late-17th century Orpheus britannicus, assembling early music specialists and jazz performers for the purpose and thus carrying on very much in Purcell’s liberal theatrical tradition. May the “while” be a very long one!

“Zugabe” Jörg Tröger in conversation with Christina Pluhar