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The Dream of Gerontius

Monday 27th April, 2020

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The Guinness Choir
Carolyn Holt, Mezzo Soprano 
Dean Power, Tenor 
James Cleverton, Baritone  (replacing Leon Košavić)

Edward Elgar The Dream of Gerontius

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38, is a work for three soloists, orchestra and chorus, in two parts composed by Edward Elgar in 1900, to text from the poem by John Henry Newman. It relates the journey of a pious man's soul from his deathbed, transitioning via Angels, Demons and through Purgatory before his final judgment before God. 

The piece is widely regarded as Elgar's finest choral work, and some consider it his masterpiece. This majesterial work calls for a large orchestra of typical late Romantic proportions. Of it Elgar said “This is the best of me”.

An orchestra of over 60 musicians allows Elgar to produce huge sweeping passages drawing you in to the great challenge of the story. Highly contemplative, sensitive passages move to most dramatic spectacular explosions of sound bringing the listener from earthly existence to infinite celestial glory.

The soloists with the choir are Carolyn Holt, Mezzo Soprano; Dean Power, Tenor; James Cleverton, Baritone

Carolyn Holt, recently graduated of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s international opera, having previously graduated in 2017 with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music. She won the Dermot Troy Prize for the best Irish singer in the 2019 Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition and recently sang the role of Sister Helen Prejean in the UK staged premiere of Dead Man Walking in Glasgow to great critical acclaim. 

Carolyn has appeared in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Weill’s Street Scene both at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; as well as Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Puccini's Suor Angelica, Cilea's L'Arlesiana and in Die Zauberflöte.

Carolyn also performs contemporary music and in Autumn 2019 sang the role of The Witch of Youghal in the world premiere of Raymond Deane’s Vagabones for Opera Collective Ireland which toured Ireland. Other contemporary roles include Minskwoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, the premiere of The Art of Chaos in Dublin and the premiere of the award winning opera The Second Violinist by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh.

In 2018 she toured Ireland singing Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Esker Festival Orchestra and was the soloist in Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Lambeth Orchestra. 

Dean Power is currently a member of the ensemble at the Bayerische Staatsoper, where in 2017 he was awarded the Festspielpreis by the Friends and Sponsors of the Bayerische Staatsoper Festival. Dean hails from Clarecastle, Ireland. Prior to joining the ensemble, he trained at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and D.I.T. Conservatory of Music and Drama, and graduated from the Munich Opera Studio in 2012. Outside of Munich, his guest appearances have included Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Gärtnerplatz Staatstheater, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and NHK Tokyo, as well as the Bamberg Symphoniker, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bayerische Philharmonie.

James Cleverton trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Zürich International Opera Studio.

Recent performances include Alberich Das Rheingold, The Protector Written on Skin  (Benjamin) and Pablo Exterminating Angel (Adès) for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, his Buxton International Festival debut singing Gusmano in Verdi’s Alzira. The Photographer Jack the Ripper and Horemhab Akhnaten for ENO,  Kyoto in Iris (Mascagni) for Opera Holland Park, Baron Douphol La Traviata and Frank Die Fledermaus for Welsh National Opera and Papageno The Magic Flute and Dulcamara Elixir of Love for Scottish Opera. 

Other notable roles include Papageno Die Zauberflöte for Theater Saint Gallen, Kyoto in Mascagni's Iris for Opera Holland Park, Count Asdrubale in Rossini's La Pietra del Paragone for Opernhaus Zürich and Opéra de Rennes, Conte Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni and Danilo in Leharʼs The Merry Widow at the Dublin National Concert Hall for Lyric Opera Ireland, Marcello La Bohème and Sharpless Madam Butterfly both at the Royal Albert Hall for Raymond Gubbay. 

Equally in demand on the concert platform, James regularly performs oratorios throughout the UK & internationally. Recent highlights include Carmina Burana with the RPO at the Royal Albert Hall, the Messiah with the CBSO at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and Haydn’s Harmoniemesse at the Cadogan Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Current recordings include the role of Arrostino in Cellier's The Mountebanks with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Sir John Copeland in Rodgers and Hart's Dearest Enemy (New World Records), and the Rabbit in the original cast recording of Will Todd's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Signum Records). He also makes an appearance as the Mandarin Turandot alongside Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.  

Future plans include returns to the Royal Opera House, ENO, debuts for Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opera North and appearances as the soloist at the Royal Festivsl Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Birmingham Symphony Hall. 

Presented by The Guinness Choir
Sponsored by DPS Engineering