A recent series of concerts, which feature one of our prestigious OVs, Richard Berkeley-Steele (Cl 61-71), caught the attention recently of King’s Development Director, Liz Elliott. Richard was taking part in a series of recitals, along with his wife, Susan Bullock, and a number of other acclaimed singers, in the Rosenblatt Recitals which, 20 years after the launch of Rosenblatt Recitals and three years after the final concert, the series returned in digital form to present a season of eight themed programmes – Rosenblatt Recitals at Home, in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer.
About a year ago Liz was diagnosed with cancer, believed to be ovarian cancer. Following treatment, Liz is feeling a lot better and is now enjoying being back at work in the Development & Alumni Relations Office. She had been enormously impressed by the work of Target Ovarian Cancer, which provides a lot of useful information and conducts some ground-breaking and critical research into this disease.
Life for singers and musicians has been extremely challenging as most of the world’s opera houses have been silenced and stages left empty. To help raise the spirits, Rosenblatt Recitals brought together 30 of the greatest voices in opera performing arias and duets under eight themed programmes. The singers, all former Rosenblatt Recitalists, perform the music that they love, from the intimate setting of their homes, many during the harshest of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Richard and Susan appear together, singing a duet from Gigi in Programme 3.
Richard told us, “My wife (Susan Bullock, soprano) and I were asked to contribute to these Rosenblatt Recitals because Ian Rosenblatt is a very close friend, as also is his wife, Emma Kane, who is Chair of Target Ovarian Cancer. It was an honour to be able to contribute to these wonderful recitals, most of which were filmed at home by the singers all over the world during lockdown. We did ours in our flat in Beckenham on a very hot day and had to have all the windows closed because of the noisy gardener’s equipment! I hate modern noisy garden implements! It was very hot!”
Rosenblatt Recitals at Home is presented by Suzy Klein and Petroc Trelawny. The concept is simple – a series of eight themed programmes, each around 30 to 45 minutes long. Individual programmes or the whole season are available as video (On Theatre) or audio only (Exit Live). Proceeds will be donated directly to Target Ovarian Cancer. The eight programmes are:
Programme 1: Verdi
Programme 2: Belcanto
Programme 3: From Purcell to Lerner and Loewe – Singing in English
Programme 4: Salon Music
Programme 5: Verismo
Programme 6: From Handel to Wagner – A Journey Through the Ages of Opera
Programme 7: The World in Music
Programme 8: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know – The Men of Opera
Ian Rosenblatt OBE, founder of Rosenblatt Recitals, said: “Rosenblatt Recitals at Home aims to bring some much-needed sunshine from artists’ homes to those of music lovers around the world. The majority of singers had to film and record themselves and all were socially distanced; at the outset, we didn’t really know what to expect. The result is beyond anything I could have wished for and a wonderful celebration of the voice on the 20th anniversary of Rosenblatt Recitals. I do hope that the eight programmes will raise everyone’s spirits as well as provide much needed funds for this amazing charity, Target Ovarian Cancer.”
Annwen Jones OBE, Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, commented: “Singers shouldn’t be silent and nor must we about this devastating disease. This special edition of Rosenblatt Recitals is a world-class initiative, and we are thrilled that the proceeds will benefit women with ovarian cancer, now and in the future. One in 50 women will receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis – we desperately need funds to ensure that everyone knows the symptoms, receives an early diagnosis and the very best support and treatment, and that we fund research to help save lives. The pandemic has hit hard, and the work of Target Ovarian Cancer has never been more needed.”
You can find full details about the concerts here.
Top photo: Richard and Susan singing in their home
Second photo: Richard singing SIEGMUND in Die Walküre in Wagner’s Der Ring des Niebelungen for Seattle Opera.