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Roderick Williams: An Italian Songbook

Roddy Williams singing on stage

Behind its modest title, Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch tells a deeply Romantic tale of love, longing and loss. Roderick Williams heads a hand-picked cast in a new staging.

Few of the great songwriters charged their music with more drama than Hugo Wolf. And for an artist as multi-faceted as Williams – singer, composer, powerfully charismatic actor, and this season’s Milton Court Artist-in-Residence – taking the lead role in this new staging is a natural next step.

Wolf’s songs are usually shared between male and female voices: Jeremy Sams and Christopher Glynn have expanded that out to tell a story and create a whole little world, shaped by the psychological insights of the music that Wolf called ‘the most perfect of all my works’. The men and women of his Italian Songbook fall in and out of love, with squabbles and petty jealousies heard alongside serenades and love songs of great beauty. Like Mozart, Wolf creates characters that are astonishingly precise, vivid and detailed, but also somehow universal. 

The performance is expected to finish around 9.10pm, with no interval.


architecture detail of the barbican hall

Composer Focus – Episode 2: Benjamin Britten with Roderick Williams

In episode two, host Ed Seckerson is joined by baritone and composer Roderick Williams to discuss Benjamin Britten, a complex and often contradictory character, and one of the 20th century’s greatest opera composers.

an orchestra playing classical music in the barbican hall in central london

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Milton Court Concert Hall

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