Sir Thomas Allen to sing in Wendover

Followers of Wendover Choral Society’s concerts may have spotted a reference to Sir Thomas Allen in their programmes. As patron, the acclaimed baritone’s name has long been associated with the Choir, but his international career at the world’s top opera houses, from the Royal Opera to New York’s Met, has operated on a different stratosphere. WCS tends to perform with talented young singers from the royal music schools, who dream of the kind of fame enjoyed by Sir Thomas, one of the best lyric baritones of recent times.

This May, however, Sir Thomas joins WCS as soloist, accompanied by the City of Cambridge Brass Band, in Joseph Horovitz’s dramatic oratorioSamsonas well as narrator in Philip Wilby’s spectacularThe Pilgrim’s Progress.John Wallace CBE, another illustrious musician, will play solo trumpet.The programme includespart-song settings of Shakespeare by Vaughan Williams and Tavener, and the Bard theme continues with Edward Lear’sShylockand Berlioz’s OvertureBéatrice et Bénédict, based on the sparring lovers in Much ado about Nothing. Also featuring is Saint Saëns’sBacchanalfromSamson and Delilah.

Conducting is the Choir’sMusic Director, Peter Bassano. Bassano has his own fascinating past, descended from Venetian musicians who played at the court of Elizabeth I, and with a career as a performer on the trombone — in leading orchestras including the London Philharmonia — and an academic — as professor at the Royal College of Music. Bassano’s professional history binds together the composer and soloists for this concert, giving it a personal touch. Sir Thomas was a fellow student and Horovitz a fellow professor at the RCS, while Bassano and Wallace worked together at the Philharmonia and have remained friends.

Last time Sir Thomas sang with WCS, in 2005, the concert was sold out. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Tickets for Wendover Choral Society’sSummer Concert (St Mary’s Church, Wendover, 5th May) can be bought at Just on Wendover High Street or

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