ACTOR Anton Lesser will join Birmingham Bach Choir for a unique concert honouring Shakespeare this summer.
A Shakespearean Concert – part of the year-long celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death – at Stratford ArtsHouse on Saturday July 2 will combine varied musical works inspired by the playwright with passages from his plays and sonnets.
Mr Lesser recently received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor 2016 for his role in BBC’s acclaimed historical drama Wolf Hall.
Also famed for playing Qyburn in four seasons of Game Of Thrones, his many film and TV credits include Dickensian, Endeavour, The Hollow Crown, Ripper Street and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
The RSC Associate Artist, who lives near Stratford, and has appeared in numerous productions for the RSC and others, including The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming Of The Shrew, and Hamlet.
Alongside the readings, Birmingham Bach Choir’s musical contributions to the evenings will include Vaughan Williams’ Three Shakespeare Songs, which feature pieces from The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Benjamin Britten’s Choral Dances From Gloriana; and Swedish composer Sven-Eric Johanson’s Fancies – a collection of ten songs inspired by six of Shakespeare’s best known plays.
Completing the programme will be William Mathias’ Shakespeare Songs, and jazz pianist George Shearing’s Music To Hear suite. Consisting of five songs, the suite references several plays and sonnets including Much Ado About Nothing and arguably the most famous sonnet – Sonnet 18: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’
Joining the choir, conducted by Paul Spicer, will be pianist Ben Kennedy, a Birmingham Conservatoire graduate with extensive West End and UK-touring credits, and jazz double bass player Samuel Ingvorsen.
Birmingham Bach Choir’s chair Sarah Platt said: “We are performing a wonderfully varied programme which moves from Vaughan Williams’ eerie part-songs, to George Shearing’s jazz-inspired Music To Hear where a double bass player will add that pungent pizzicato to the mix!
“We’re thrilled too that Anton will be joining us to add another layer of drama and enjoyment to this memorable programme.”
For tickets, priced £15 (£12 concessions), visit www.birmingham.bachchoir.com or call 07901 798442.