Fiction’s Fallen Women: From Page to Stage Manon and Violetta

February 24 @ 10:30 am – 12:30pm

Opera Prelude Lectures Series 10.30am-12.30pm Henley-on-thames with pianist Kaoru 

La Fée in Cendrillon – Pauline Viardot’s magical Salon Opera of the Cinderella story

April 5 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm, Leighton HouseImage result for pauline viardot

Opera Prelude would like to thank the Ambache Charitable Trust for their incredible generosity and support for this  event.

ACT colour logo no strap

As part of the Season devoted to women and their role as composers and the inspirations for operatic pieces, we bring a work by a lady who filled both of those roles. Pauline Viardot was a key 19th century singer, inspecting roles and music from her composer friends Berlioz, Chopin, saint-saëns and Meyerbeer. She devoted herself to not only creating new roles, but historical research into music of the baroque and classical periods. Her salon performances enabled listeners, such as Dickens and Chopin nonetheless, were never dull as she programmed such a wide variety of musical works including her own. 

Pauline was a mezzo-soprano and daughter of the infamous singing pedagogue Manuel Garcia – an infamous tenor himself! Pauline wanted to be a concert pianist, having had lessons with none other than Franz Liszt, but her mother pushed her towards a singing career. 

Always an enthusiastic composer, Viardot retired from singing and presided over a music salon until 1883. Her works were mainly written for her own pleasure and had no ambitions as a serious composer. She did however write three salon operas alongside hundreds of songs. In Cendrillon, Viardot takes Perrault’s famous Cinderella story and makes it her own. The music is ironically nostalgic of 19th century France and conjures images of Cinderella, the downtrodden girl, in the midst of it all. Opera Prelude returns to the ideal surrounds of Leighton House for this sparkling concert performance. 

Tickets £40 to include programme and interval glass of wine.

ENO Opera Works Showcase

13 April Time TBC

The Opera Works Programme at English National Opera finishes with a set of staged scenes in ENO’s Lilian Baylis House in West Hampstead. Further details to follow

Lilian Baylis House, 165 Broadhurst Gardens, London, NW6 3AX

“Fiction’s Fallen Women: from page to stage – Violetta & Manon.” Sophie Pullen (soprano), Natalie Burch (piano)

May 2 @ 10:30 am12:30 pm

Prévost’s L’Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut made an outrageous appearance on the literary scene in 1731 detailing the exploits of the young, beautiful, and morally incorrigible Manon. Banned in France for its scandalous depiction of this unrepentant libertarian of a woman the novel became very popular and pirated editions were widely distributed. Manon’s love, won and lost with the wheel of Fortune, is presented as capricious, addictive and impossible. Indeed, upon reading Prévost’s novel in Dumas’ La Dame aux Camélias, Marguerite Gautier, better known operatically as Violetta Valéry, declares that “when a woman loves, she cannot do as Manon did”. However, she too eventually abandons her lover and both fallen women succumb to their inevitable fate – an early death. 

Tickets £25

Cadogan Hall

Caversham Room, 5 Sloane Terrace
London, SW1X 9DQ


“The Hidden Composers: women who dared to write music in a man’s world.”

May 16 @ 10:30 am12:30 pm

Anna Beer – (soprano & mezzo), Sophie Pullen (soprano) and Natalie Burch (piano) 

Anna Beer is a cultural historian and writer as well as Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford. She has recently published a long over-due book: “Sounds & Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music” celebrating the musical legacy and hidden histories of eight remarkable women composers. From 17th century Florence to 20th century London, they created their music in public and private; in the Courts of the Medici’s and Louis XIV; they wrote what they could, when they could whether it was for the glory of God, their patrons or family. In this morning’s lecture recital, Anna will introduce us to some of these inspirational women with accompaniment from Opera Prelude’s young artists. 

Her book has received nothing but wonderful reviews from The Guardian to the Financial Times to The Wall Street Journal. Publishers Weekly writes: “Absorbing … [Beer] writes with rich detail and sympathetic insight about [these women’s] ambitious, adventurous battles to overcome barriers to creativity.” There will be an opportunity to purchase a book and have it signed by Anna Beer. 

Tickets £30

Kensington Central Library

12 Phillimore Walk
London, W8 7RX United Kingdom

The Opera Prelude Song Prize Masterclass with Della Jones

May 30 @ 10:30 am12:30 pm

Now in its fourth year, The Opera Prelude Song Prize offers one of our young singers the unique chance of private Masterclasses with Della Jones, one of Great Britain’s leading mezzo-sopranos. We are most grateful to her for the generosity she continues to show Opera Prelude’s young singers and also for the generosity of our anonymous donor who has made this prize possible. Join us for the finals of our Song Prize and await Della’s choice of winner which will be announced after the event! Past winners included Ricardo Panela (baritone), Callie Gaston (soprano) and Becca Marriott (soprano) who have all benefited immensely from private lessons with Della. If you would like to contribute to the continuation of this Prize, do please get in touch. 

Sophie PulleImage result for della jonesn (soprano), Rosie Clifford (mezzo), William Wallace (tenor) and Natalie Burch (piano) 

Tickets £30

Cadogan Hall

Caversham Room, 5 Sloane Terrace
London, SW1X 9DQ


Scenes of Summer: Lily, Lily, Rose – Sophie Pullen (soprano) with William Wallace (tenor) and Natalie Burch (piano)

June 9 @ 12:00 pm2:00 pm

An end of term talk and recital celebration with smoked salmon sandwiches and a glass of wine! 

The celebrated American painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was also an accomplished musician and would often interrupt his work to play the piano. Throughout his career, Sargent created portraits that intimated entire worlds, dramas or what Henry James often called “scenes”. This morning’s talk and recital of French music is inspired by scenes of summer and Sargent’s famous picture Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose which was conceived during a boating expedition on the Thames in 1885 when the artist saw Chinese lanterns hanging among trees and lilies. Painted en plein air in the late summer of 1885 and 1886, and named after a popular song, its style links French impressionism with English pre-Raphaelitism and captures the transient quality of “fugitive evening light.” The refrain of the song asks the question ‘Have you seen my Flora pass this way?’ to which the answer is ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’. 

Tickets for this lecture will be £35 to cover the cost of the extra singers taking part and lunchtime refreshments!


Near Henley on Thames

Henley on Thames,Oxfordshire

Chorus – Fidelio LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, Longborough Festival Opera

24, 27, 29 June 1, 2 July

After an attempt to expose the crimes of the corrupt prison governor Pizarro, Florestan finds himself unjustly imprisoned and in mortal danger. Amid rumours of his demise only one person, his wife Leonora, suspects the truth. Disguised as ‘Fidelio’, a male prison guard, she embarks on a valiant attempt to rescue her husband from certain death.

A deeply moving story of love and faith, Fidelio is a tale of personal sacrifice, heroism and human aspirations for justice. With its themes around incarceration and illegal detainment, Beethoven’s only opera has resonated with audiences across borders for decades, and still feels eerily relevant today.

For Powder Her Face at the Royal Danish Opera, director Orpha Phelan and designer Madeleine Boyd won Denmark’s prestigious Reumert Award for Best Opera Production 2016. They join forces again for this new production of Fidelio, asking what could drive one to deny freedom from another – and what imprisonment and longing mean to all of us.



3 December – A Night at the Opera ARMY & NAVY CLUB, 36 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JN Favourite arias and duets

4 December – Arias in ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ with the Sussex Concert Orchestra under Kenneth Roberts, St Barnabus Church, Bexhill




9 & 10 December – Cantique de Noël, a recital for voice & harp with Valeria Kurbatova @ Kino Teatr St Leonards-on-sea

Full of favourite festive pieces, mesmerising harp solos and songs that dream of white Christmases and starry winter skies.   The diverse programme featuring Schubert’s Ave Maria, Howard Blake’s The Snowman, Tchaikovsky’s Sugar Plum Fairy and some of the most atmospheric songs from Strauss, Schubert, Debussy and Faure, reflects the long nights, dreamy snowscapes and joyful Christmas tales of winter.






30 September – Soloist in Mark Austin’s ‘Faustian pact’: an introduction to the Faust legend and its music lecture for Opera Prelude 10.30am-12.30pm, Henley on Thames

1 October – Golden Days Recital with mezzo soprano Rosie Clifford. Part of Opera Prelude’s outreach programme performing for nursing homes in the Westminster area

8 October – Soprano Soloist The Creation, Haydn – Bexhill Choral Society

25 October & 2 November – Opera Prelude Golden Days Recitals with tenor Richard Dowling

19 November – Arias from Mozart’s Idomeneo with Buxted Symphony Orchestra. 1pm St. Leonard’s Church, Seaford.  In aid of Christian Aid. FREE

7 May – Poulenc Gloria, Bexhill Choral Society

3 & 4 June – Mozart in Russia and Other Tall Tales 7.30pm, Kino Teatr St Leonards on sea

After the success of The Russian Voice, soprano Sophie Pullen returns to the Kino Teatr with Finnish mezzo soprano Amanda Martikainen and pianist Helen Ridout to explore the stranger-than-fiction characters that propel opera’s most fantastical tales. They’ll show how Voltaire, Pushkin, The Brothers Grimm, and many more famous novelists have had their work influenced, and occasionally swallowed up, by the world of classical music.

Join us to find out which eminent composer’s pants fell down in the presence of Tsar Nicholas, which Italian soprano’s lover died in our very own White Rock Pavillion and why Offenbach’s famous Barcarolle should be sung in Russian… A mischievous romp through history with music by Donizetti, Tchaikovsky, Bellini, Bizet & Bernstein in the magical setting of Kino Teatr.

7 June –  “Scenes of Summer: Lily, Lily, Rose – An end of term talk and recital celebration with a glass of wine!” 10:30 – 12:30 7th June Cadogan Hall, LondonCarnation.jpg

Sophie Pullen (soprano), Adriana Festeu (mezzo), Richard Dowling (tenor) and Natalie Burch (piano)

The celebrated American painter John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925) was also an accomplished musician and would often interrupt his work to play the piano.

Throughout his career, Sargent created portraits that intimated entire worlds, dramas or what Henry James often called “scenes”.  This morning’s talk and recital of French music is inspired by scenes of summer and Sargent’s famous picture Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose which was conceived during a boating expedition on the Thames in 1885 when the artist saw Chinese lanterns hanging among trees and lilies.  Painted en plein air in the late summer of 1885 and 1886, and named after a popular song, its style links French impressionism with English pre-Raphaelitism and captures the transient quality of “fugitive evening light.”The refrain of the song asks the question ‘Have you seen my Flora pass this way?’ to which the answer is ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’

17 June – Philharmonia Chorus performance Don Giovanni @ Cadogan Hall with Classical OperaJohn-Singer-Sargent-Madame-Ramon-Subercaseaux.jpg

21 June – Leighton House Patron’s Garden Party performance for Opera Prelude with tenor Richard Dowling 

7-17 July – Torgau Sängerakademie with Prof Regina Werner-Dietrich 

22 July – Kate Pinkerton, Madama Butterfly – Cadogan Hall

7 APRIL – The BAFTA GAMES Awards Show, with acclaimed Russian Harpist Valeria Kurbatova at the Tobacco Docks, London

12 APRIL – Masterclass with Dame Anne Evans, The Faversham Room Cadogan Hall

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 19.44.09.png

26 APRIL – Cavalliera Rusticana & Pagliacci Lecture Recital with Opera Prelude

15 January – 7.30pm RECITAL: The Russian Voice, Kino-Teatr St Leonards with tenor Gary Marriott and pianist Francis Rayner

Including music by Rachmaninov, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Mussorgsky, Bellini & Grieg.KINO

18 Feb – 5 March Aboard the Minerva in Peru, Chile and Ecuador performing with mezzo Camilla Bull


2 December – Recital for Bexleyheath Music Society with tenor Richard Owen and pianist Nancy Cooley The Townley Theatre Bexleyheath

18 December – Chorus Handel Messiah, Philharmonia Chorus, Valencia

31 December – Orchestra of St John’s presents… A Strauss Family New Year at St John’s Smith Square, London & Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester-on-Thames

Orchestra of St John’s

John Lubbock conductor
Sophie Pullen soprano

5 July – Soloist Sussex Concert Orchestra ‘Last night of the Bexhill Proms’ with Will Allenby and Adam Hepkin, Bexhill Music Festival, The De La Warr Pavilion


5 / 19 /24 September – Adina – L’Elisir d’Amore, Donizetti Barefoot Young Artists Opera Tour.


St Mary in the Castle Hastings, Saturday, September 5th

St Leonard’s Shoreditch Saturday September 19th

Norden Arts Centre, Maidenhead Thursday, September 24th

18 September – Opera Gala with tenor William Phibbs and mezzo Eleanor Edmonds

23 / 25 / 26 September – Trouble in Tahiti, Soprano @ The Brunel Museum Shaft The Brunel Museum London
Trouble in Tahiti is a rarely performed 40-minute gem of an opera. Leonard Bernstein wrote this opera between his biggest Broadway successes – On the Town, Candide, and West Side Story. Set in a suburban American town, the piece criticises post-war American materialism using several different musical styles.

Director: Keiko Sumida
Musical Director: Elspeth WilkesTrouble in Tahiti
Movement Director: Suzannah Hall
Costume Designer: Sara Polonghini
Artwork: Anna Mill

3 October – Soloist with the Oxford Welsh Male Choir with mezzo Charlotte Tetley, Oxford Town Hall

Barcarolle – Offenbach, Tales of Hoffmann,
Carmen’s Habanera – Bizet, Carmen
Prenderò fuel brunettino – Mozart, Così fan tutte
Flower Duet – Belibes, Lakmé
Je veux vivre – Gounod, Romeo & Juliet
We are women – Bernstein, Candide.

7 November – Damon, Acis & Galatea – Brighton Early Music Festival, BREMF Singers conducted by John Hancorn

14 November – Soprano Soloist, Billinghurst Choral Society conducted by Cathal Garvey, Billingshurst Leisure Centre 7.30pm 

Vivaldi – Gloria

Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

Haydn – Paukenmesse

With the Sinfonia of Arun

20/22 November – Musetta (cover), La Bohème – Clapham Opera Festival

Nina Brazier – Stage Director  and Philip Voldman, Pianist and Music Director


7 July – Soprano Soloist New London Orchestra & The London Chorus, St Martin-in-the-fields Vivaldi Gloria & Beatus V

14 July – Recital with Nancy Cooley, Chapel Royal Brighton Lunchtime Concert Series

11 April – Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte with Lynton Atkinson – Broadstone Festival, Bournemouth 

23 April – Hampshire Singing Competition Masterclass with Neil Jenkins, Winchester Cathedral

28 April – 3 May Atalanta Xerxes Hampstead Garden Opera @ ‘Upstairs at the Gatehouse’ MD Oliver-John Ruthven dir. Andrew Davidson. Double cast – dates 25/04, 28/04, & 30/04, @ 19:30, 02/05 @ 14:30, & 03/05 @ 16:00

9 May – Soprano soloist Mozart Requiem Putney High Parents Choir, St Paul’s Church, Augustus Road (off Inner Park Road), Wimbledon, SW19

15 May – Soloist Peter Knapp’s ‘All you ever wanted to know about Opera’, Dart Festival, Dartmouth

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 23.53.44

30 May – Opera Gala St John’s Church Hurst Green with mezzo soprano Charlotte Tetley

4 January – Masterclass with Claire Rutter Winchester College, Wessex Solo Singers’ Course

13 January – Chorus – Philharmonia Chorus Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Royal Festival Hall

14 January – Duo Recital with soprano Iuno Connolly and pianist Yoko Misumi Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square London 7.30pm

28 January – Opera Gala with Mezzo soprano Eleanor Edmonds, Baritone Sam Pantcheff and Tenor William Phibbs, The Grosvenor Chapel, London 7.30pm

Tickets are £25. Email or ring 02074991684 there should also be tickets on the door.

7 February – Soloist Beethoven Missa Solemnis Workshop Day – Benson Choral Society St Mary’s Church Wallingford

12 February – Private engagement with mezzosoprano Francesca Sarancino and pianist Jon French  

15 March – Chorus – Verdi Requiem Philharmonia Chorus


22 November – Duo Recital for Newport Music Society, with soprano Iuno Connolly and pianist Yoko Misumi

29 November – Soloist Dvorak Te Deum & Mendelssohn Hymn of Praise for Benson Choral Society, Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester-on-thames

6 December – Dies Natalis, Finzi Buxted Symphony Orchestra @ 3pm St. Margaret’s Church, Buxted Park, Sussex

13 December – Soloist Handel’s Utrecht in Te Deum & Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols with The Jubilate Choir conducted by Janet Haney   7.30pm St Matthew’s Church, Chichester Road, Croydon, CR0 5NQ

31 December – Orchestra of St John’s presents… A Strauss Family New Year at Kings Place London

Music Wednesday, 31 December 2014 – 5:30pm Hall One
Online Price: £19.50 – £39.50 | Savers £9.50*

Orchestra of St John’s
John Lubbock conductor
Sophie Pullen soprano

“Can anyone think of a more wonderful way to celebrate the new year than through the glorious music of the strauss family?The Orchestra of St John conducted by John Lubbock

As well as wonderful waltzes and polkas mostly by Johann Strauss Junior, we will be joined by a brilliant young soprano – Sophie Pullen who will be singing some very well know songs from Strauss and Lehar, including arias from Strauss’ glorious operetta ‘Die Fledermaus’.

Come and revel in the famous tunes from Vienna.”

Book tickets for NYE @ Kings Place

12-14 May – Soprano Soloist Opera a Tavola

29 May – The Orchestra of St John with Dmitry Sitkovetsky, St John’s Smith Square 7.30pm

A concert of mainly Mozart with the OSJ conducted by John Lubbock with violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky,

Handel: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Alec Roth: Departure of the Queen of Sheba, Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, Mozart: Arias for soprano and violin obbligato: ‘L’amerò, sarò constante’ from II Re Pastore K. 208; ‘In quali eccessi… Mi tradi’ from Don Giovanni K. 527, Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201

To book

3-5 June – Soprano Soloist Cameo Opera

18 June – The Ashmolean Proms – Strauss & Rachmaninov Songs with the OSJ Young Performers’ Ensemble from the Royal Academy of Music conducted by John Lubbock

Strauss: Morgen! and Zuiegnung; Rachmaninov: Ne Poy & Vocalise

More info

21st June – Soprano Soloist, Opera Gala 6pm St John’s Church, Hurst Green, Oxted with mezzo soprano Charlotte Tetley

2nd July – Recital Lunchtime Concert Series, Holy Trinity Church, Hastings

8 July – Holburne Museum Bath Lunchtime Recital Series: Russian Masters, with soprano Iuno Connolly and pianist Yoko Misumi

Presenting a programme of classical Russian repertoire, soprano duo The English Roses, accompanied by acclaimed pianist Yoko Misumi, present some of the finest pieces from the Russian vocal repertory by Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky with additional works by Debussy and Samuel Barber. More info

9th, 10th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th February – soprano soloist Cameo Opera Worthing, Cardiff, waltononthames, Cambridge, Bicester, Leicester

3rd/4th March – Soprano Soloist Opera a Tavola – Peterborough, Nottingham

5th March – Song Premieres with the Coull String Quartet in association with Birmingham Conservatoire and Warwick Arts Centre

17th March – Soloist, Mozart Arias and Scenes Birmingham Midland Institute

24-26th March – Bastienne, Bastien und Bastienne, Wastepaper Opera Company Frontiers Festival, Birmingham

29th March – Rutter’s Magnificant The Ripon Choral Society

14-17th February – soloist Frankfurt Art & Antique Fair, Germany

20th-22nd January – Soprano Soloist with Opera a Tavola Chester, Liverpool and Manchester


17th November – Exsultate Jubilate The Buxted Symphony Orchestra conducted by Julian Broughton, 3pm Uckfield Civic Centre

23rd November – Exsultate Jubilate The Buxted Symphony Orchestra 1pm St. Leonard’s, Seaford

24th November – Opera Gala Soprano Soloist with Cameo Opera

30th November – Mozart Opera Scenes The Forest of Dean Orchestra, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni conducted by Tom Payne, Coleford Baptist Church

3rd December – Opera Gala Soprano Soloist with Opera a Tavola, Worcester

4th December – Recital with Baritone Hedd Owen Griffiths, Kent

8th December – Soloist with The People’s Orchestra: Christmas Music by Candlelight, at Malvern Theatre 1.30 pm, highlights from Handel’s Messiah

11th December – Opera Gala Soprano Soloist with Cameo Opera

13th December – The Stroke Association’s Christmas Concert, Holy Trinity Church Sloane Square  The English Roses with Iuno Connolly – soprano

9th November – Hastings Museum Recital On This Island, Britten, Schubert, Liszt and Rachmaninoff Songs with Mozart arias

5th October – Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Schubert’s Magnificat, Bach’s Magnificat Bexhill Choral Society, St Augustine’s Church

27th September – Neal Turkington Nepal Project Charity English Roses Recital The In & Out, Naval & Military Club, St James’s Sq, London with soprano Iuno Connolly

25th September – Worcester Carluccio Restaurant Opera Gala with Tenor Richard Owen  and Pianist Johan  Shahridzuan

8th September – Music in the Abbey: Orchestra of St John, Dorchester Abbey, Mendelssohn Psalm 115 

6th September – Music in the Abbey: Rising Opera Stars, Dorchester Abbey, Various arias and scenes

21st July – The English Roses Summer Concert at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings with soprano Iuno Connolly and pianist Nancy Cooley

11th/12th July – Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

29th June – Finalist: Dean & Chadlington Singing Competition,  Chadlington Church

15th June – Vivaldi Gloria & Rutter Requiem, Warwick & Kenilworth Choral Society

6th June – Edward Brooks English Song Prize Final, Birmingham Conservatoire

1st June – Mario Lanza Opera Prize Final, Birmingham Conservatoire

31st May – Final Recital, Shepherd on the Rock, Wolf, Britten, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Puccini

15th May – Carmina Burana, Putney High School

4th May – Mendelssohn Elijah, Bexhill Choral Society

30th April – Russian Song Liederabend: Soloist

24th April – Ashleyan Opera Prize: Finalist

20th April – Making Music Yorkshire Singer’s Platform, Harrogate

18th April – Bastien und Bastienne: Bastienne, Wastepaper Opera Company

12th April – A Spring Concert with The English Roses

5th April – Quarter-Finals of the International Student LeidDuo Competition, Enschede

28th Feb-2nd March – Gianni Schicchi: Lauretta, Birmingham Conservatoire

21st February – Beyond Classical Recital: Birmingham Symphony Hall with pianist Varazdat Khachtryan

31st January – Beyond Classical Recital: Birmingham Symphony Hall with soprano Louise Martyn

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jeanie says:

    Hi Sophie my dear – do you have any tickets left for your Recital at the Beacon on 24th May? Rob and I would love to come but I can’t see where to buy tickets. Hope all is good with you. Love, J

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s