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Michael Stimpson’s new opera – Jesse Owens

Philharmonia Orchestra (orchestra) | Stuart Stratford (conductor) | Abigail Kelly (soprano) | Johnny Herford (baritone) | Megumi Fujita (piano)

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One of Britain’s fastest rising composers, Michael Stimpson has been a resident in Barga Vecchia for some time now and has appeared on this site many times over the past decade (all those articles can be seen here)

The influence of Barga and this area on his work was put in front of the public for the first time during May 2007 (article here) with four performances of his compostion “Dall’Alba al Tramonto based on the poems of Giovanni Pascoli.

In March of this year he published a new CD based on the life and work of the  poet Dylan Thomas and the destruction of the village of Capel Celyn –  a rural community to the north west of Bala in Gwynedd, North Wales. The village and other parts of the valley were flooded to create a reservoir, Llyn Celyn, in order to supply Liverpool and Wirral with water for industry.

Just eight months later, he is once again just about to publish a new work, this time based on the life of Jesse Owens, the legendary US athlete who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics of 1936.




The Philharmonia Orchestra are heard in all their majesty on the incidental music from Michael Stimpson’s opera, Jesse Owens, a work about the legendary US athlete who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics of 1936. This is accompanied by a collection of songs from the opera, arranged for soprano, baritone, and piano, in which singers Abigail Kelly and Johnny Herford beautifully illustrate the breadth of the work, the struggle, humour, and achievements of the greatest Olympian ever. These two works are complimented by Preludes In Our Time, for solo piano. Written while the world was looking towards the Beijing Olympics, this unique collection is enchantingly performed by Megumi Fujita, who also accompanies the singers.



The works of Michael Stimpson have been performed and commissioned by some of the UK’s most distinguished artists including the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Allegri and Maggini String Quartets, Bristol Bach Choir, Roderick Williams, Paul Agnew, David Campbell, Philippe Graffin, and Sioned Williams. The capital’s foremost venues have hosted his works, and international recognition has prompted performances in Europe, the USA, and Australia.

The Michael Stimpson site can be seen here




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