Where do you go in London to hear opera singers performing away from the opera stage? At a Rosenblatt recital is the answer. For 10 years this concert series has presented both established artists and up-and-coming youngsters, giving audiences the chance to experience thrilling operatic highlights in a pared-down setting of voice, piano and nothing else.
Founded by music-loving city lawyer Ian Rosenblatt, the Rosenblatt Recitals have quickly become part of the fabric of London’s classical music life. Most concerts are hosted in St John’s Smith Square, an old church just down the road from the Houses of Parliament (and a London destination in its own right), while those featuring the leading lights of opera are at the Royal Festival Hall.
One such big name, the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, performed the first Rosenblatt concert of 2011 with a set that featured the Rossini repertoire of which he’s become a superstar exponent.
But more than anything, the Rosenblatt series offers emerging talent a chance to shine. Three recitals remain in this 2010/11 season. This week, on Wednesday 13 April, the British soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn, winner of the 2009 inaugural Voice of Black Opera competition, performs a wide-ranging programme that includes arias from Handel to Walton via Verdi.
Another black artist, the South African bass Vuyani Mlinde, concludes the season on Tuesday 28 June. Mlinde is not unknown in London – as a former member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House he has trod the boards at Covent Garden – and he has a powerful voice that belies a slender frame.
In between these two events, an Italian mezzo-soprano, Serena Malfi, makes her London recital debut on Wednesday 11 May.
Click here to find out more about the series.