Art Sung – Edith Sitwell, Behind her Façade (Shortened version)

Date: Sunday 11th February 2024

Time: 3pm

Venue: New Malden Methodist Church, 49 High Street, New Malden, Surrey KT3 4BY

Location: VocalFest24, Music in New Malden

Artists: Lucy Stevens - Contralto/Actress Michael Gibson - Tenor Elizabeth Mucha and Nigel Foster - Pianists James Symonds - Video Artist Roxani Eleni Garefalaki - Director and Movement

2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the death of the flamboyant English poet, Dame Edith Sitwell: a perfect opportunity to revive and celebrate her wonderfully fantastic brand of artistry. Art Sung – Edith Sitwell, Behind her Façade explores her unusual and eccentric life in her own words, both spoken and sung. Settings of her poetry by Benjamin Britten and William Walton are at the core of this semi-dramatized song recital as well as music by Leonard Bernstein, and a specially commissioned song by Dominique le Gendre.

Woven through are excerpts from “Façade”, the extraordinary musical entertainment she created with composer William Walton. The narrative, drawn from her letters and autobiography, together with bespoke visual images inspired by her fantastical, whimsical poetry experiments, the Façade curtain backdrops, and the many portraits of Sitwell by various artists, including Pavel Tchelitchew, reveal the private Edith behind her façade. The aesthetics of the art world from this period are the inspiration for the bespoke visual material which accompanies the recital.