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Vocal Virtuosity: A Visit from Barry Banks

Published: 3 June 2019
Barry Banks singing
Barry Banks

The Department of Music’s Lunchtime Concert season ended on a high note (or, rather, an abundance of high notes) on Monday, 13 May.  For our final recital and masterclass this year, we had the pleasure of hosting Barry Banks, who is widely acclaimed as one of today's foremost 'bel canto' tenors.  His outstanding virtuosity in roles by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti regularly takes him to the world’s leading opera houses. At New York’s Metropolitan Opera he has partnered with Renée Fleming in Rossini’s Armida, Natalie Dessay in La fille du régiment and La sonnambula, Olga Borodina in L’italiana in Algeri and Anna Netrebko in Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore.  He has performed leading roles at the Royal Opera House in London, the Théâtre du Champs Elysées in Paris, the Salzburg Festival, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and other prestigious venues around the world as a concert singer as well as an operatic lead.

Barry was in Southampton touring with the Welsh National Opera, with whom he performed the title role in Gaetano Donizetti's opera Roberto Devereux at the Mayflower, and generously agreed to join us with a programme of songs and arias by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Sullivan, Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi. The programme outlined a journey through nineteenth-century vocal music, ranging from Germany to England and Italy, and from German Lieder to beloved arias from The Mikado, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rigoletto.  Barry was accompanied at the piano by Southampton’s Professor Francesco Izzo. Following the recital, Barry taught a masterclass for voice students in the Department of Music, working with young singers on a varied repertoire and concentrating on breath technique and tone production.  

The Music Department's Lunchtime Concerts resume in the autumn with a diverse and exciting programme.  Stay tuned!

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