SONY CLASSICAL SETS ITS SIGHTS FIRMLY ON THE FUTURE AS TWO OF ITS LEADING ARTISTS PRETTY YENDE, SOPRANO AND ALEXIS FFRENCH, COMPOSER TAKE CENTRE STAGE AT THE CLASSIC BRITS
Wednesday, 13th June; Royal Albert Hall
Sony Classical sets its sights firmly on the future as two of its leading artists, sensational South African soprano Pretty Yende and outstanding composer/pianist Alexis Ffrench take centre stage for a unique collaboration at The Classic BRITS on Wednesday 13th June when the event returns after a break of five years to the iconic Royal Albert Hall, London.
With a strong focus on youth and diversity designed to give a platform to young people in the arts and featuring the only male/female performance of the night, Sony Classical, Pretty Yende and Alexis Ffrench have together devised an elegant and sophisticated moment - ‘The Bluebird Suite’ - that deftly combines music and dance. Full of powerful grace and beauty, it will surely wow both the audience in the Hall as well as viewers at home.
Alexis Ffrench will perform his acclaimed solo work ‘Bluebird’ seamlessly followed by the world premiere of a new work written especially by Ffrench for this momentous occasion. The first section is a brand-new interlude which contains echoes of ‘Shosholoza’, a traditional and hugely popular South African song, known as the second national anthem of South Africa with its spirit of hope and unity. Thereafter Ms Yende will perform the famous opera aria ‘Una Voce Poco Fa’ aria from Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’. The sequence then closes with the second part of Ffrench’s new work, a coda which again carries echoes ‘Shosholoza’ as a tribute to Ms Yende’s South African heritage. The music tells the story of Pretty Yende’s astonishing career and is underscored throughout by a dance ensemble, led by 17 year old Savannah Ffrench, mirroring Ms Yende’s own fabulous journey.
Pretty Yende’s unparalleled rise to fame is a modern day fairy tale. Growing up in the small town of Piet Retief, South Africa, she had never even heard of opera until by chance she heard operatic voices featured in a TV advert and resolved to find out more. This was the start of her meteoric career and swiftly led to her debut at La Scala, Milan followed by a dramatic international breakthrough at New York’s Metropolitan Opera at the age of only 27.
Alexis Ffrench is a British-born composer of Jamaican heritage whose passion for music education and the empowerment of young people coupled with his extraordinary compositional prowess makes him one of the leading artists of the day at the forefront of bringing about social change through music. Growing up without access to instruments, he started out by playing the kitchen table like a piano. His perseverance clearly paid off as he can now be found playing his own compositions at a grand piano on the biggest stage in the classical music calendar.