Europe Day 2021 Concert
Sunday, 9th May 2021 at 12.00 - 1.00 pm BST
This year's annual Europe Day concert will be livestreamed from St John's, Smith Square on Sunday, 9th May. The theme of the concert is ‘Journeys’, both earth-bound and spiritual. You can follow the concert live or on catch up using this link:
With Portugal currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council, we celebrate that maritime nation. We also pay homage to the ultimate literary journey, The Divine Comedy of Dante, whose 700th anniversary we mark this year. Top Portuguese lyric tenor Luis Gomes takes us from 'Inferno' - the word which begins an aria from Verdi's opera Simon Boccanegra about the seafaring Genovese people - to 'Purgatorio' in the possibility of exile envisaged by Benjamin Godard's Dante in an operatic rarity of 1890, and finally heavenwards with da Gama's ‘O paradis’ in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine.
Orchestrally, we celebrate a hunt through fantastical woods in the ‘All’Ouvertura’ from Sibelius’s second set of Scènes Historiques, then ocean journeys in Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and the poignant quotation of it in Elgar’s thirteenth ‘Enigma Variation’, plus a rarity – the UK premiere of 99-year-old Estonian composer Ester Mägi’s The Sea. A train ride is succinctly and humorously etched in a Johann Strauss polka, and locomotive loving Dvořák evokes the other side of the pond in the finale of his Ninth Symphony, ‘From the New World’. The outstanding performances of Jonathan Bloxham and his Northern Chords Festival Orchestra of young and established professionals in the past three Europe Day Concerts guarantee a concert of the highest order
More on the artists
LUIS GOMEZ, TENOR
Winner of both the Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Prize of Zarzuela and the Audience Prize at the Operalia Competition 2018, Luis Gomes was born in Portugal and first studied at the Escola de Música do Conservatório Nacional and the Escola superior de Música de Lisboa. He then transferred to the UK for further studies graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and going on to the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera Covent Garden. He is a Samling Artist and a Solti Academia and Gulbenkian Foundation Scholar. Opera highlights include Rodolfo La Bohéme, Azaël L’enfant prodigue for Scottish Opera, Beppe I Pagliacci, Edmondo and Lamplighter Manon Lescaut, Fenton Falstaff and Chevalier de la Force Les dialogues des Carmélites for ROH Covent Garden, Osburgo La Straniera at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Nemorino L’Elisir D’Amore for Teatro Verdi Trieste, Tebaldo I Capuleti e I Montecchi for Buxton Festival and Rodolfo for the Verbier Festival Academy.
He has also appeared at ROH Covent Garden as Gastone La Traviata, Amante Il Tritico, 4th Esquire Parsifal, Pong Turandot, Borsa Rigoletto and Alabazar Il Turco in Italia. Concerts include Wigmore Hall Rosenblatt recitals, the last alongside Ekaterina Siurina, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at the De Doelen Rotterdam and in Rome under Antonio Pappano and he was recently featured on the recording entitled Decades with Malcolm Martineau. He recently returned to Lisbon for Rinnuccio Gianni Schicchi at the Centro Cultural de Belém and for his debut in the role of Alfredo at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos. He also repeated the same role for the 2018 Glyndebourne Tour and made his role debut as Faust at Valladolid.
Most recently he appeared as Nadir Les Pêcheurs de Perles for Oviedo, Nemorino for Den Norske Opera, as Edoardo Un Giorno di Regno for Chelsea Opera Group and Rodolfo for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Among his future plans are Rodolfo for Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon and his role debut as Don José Carmen in Prague. He will also sing and Fenton Falstaff for the UK summer festival, Grange Park Opera, Alfredo for Nevill Holt Opera and Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi at the Copenhagen Opera Festival.
JONATHAN BLOXHAM, CONDUCTOR
Jonathan Bloxham took up the Assistant Conductor position at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2016-2018 under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, where he conducted a wide range of repertoire, closing their 16/17 season at Symphony Hall, and reinvited for May 2020. A summer concert with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie led to a recording project and then to subscription concerts in Bremen and at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
Recent guest engagements have also included the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Basque National Orchestra and RTE Chamber. Last season he conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Tapiola Sinfonietta, London Mozart Players and Manchester Camerata, and had been due to debut with the Shanghai Symphony, Guangzhou Symphony and China National Philharmonic (in Beijing). He looks forward to his Halle Orchestra and Tokyo Symphony debuts in the coming months.
Last season Jonathan conducted two performances and assisted on Rigoletto for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, leading immediately to reinvitations to conduct four performances in 2020, and to his Glyndebourne main summer season debut in 2021 with several performances of Verdi's Luisa Miller.
For the past 11 years Jonathan has been Artistic Director of the Northern Chords Festival based in his home town of Newcastle upon Tyne. Prior to taking up conducting he was a founder member and the cellist of the Busch Trio, performing regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Southbank and on BBC Radio 3. He won several prestigious awards whilst studying at the Royal College of Music, and made his concerto debut at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2012.