Handel’s Messiah

16 December 2021
St Martin-in-the-Fields

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16 December
St Martin-in-the-Fields

We join forces with the youthful St Martin’s Voices for a festive performance of Handel’s Messiah at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Charlotte Bowden Soprano
Nancy Cole Alto
Ted Black Tenor
Michael Lafferty Baritone


This Concert is dedicated to Laszlo Istvan Heltay, 5 January 1930 – 17 December 2019, the Hungarian born acclaimed director of the Chorus of the Academy of St  Martin in the Fields from 1974 – 1999. During this choral era in partnership with Sir Neville Marriner, the chorus made over 20 recordings, including a Golden Disc for the sound track of Amadeus. Laszlo was a pupil of Zoltan Kodaly and changed the style of the English Choral tradition from 1956 onwards, greatly influencing the next generation of choral conductors to this day.

Watch a clip from the Hallelujah Chorus, recorded at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Spring 2021:


Charlotte Bowden 

Charlotte is currently studying at the RCM Opera Studio as an H F Music Award holder supported by the Martin Harris Scholarship, Drake Calleja Trust Scholar, Countess of Munster Musical Trust Award holder, and supported by the Josephine Baker Trust. She is also a Britten-Pears Young Artist, Philip and Dorothy Green Young Artist, and alumna of the Verbier Festival Atelier Lyrique.

Charlotte has performed at Cadogan Hall, Snape Maltings, the Aldeburgh Festival and recently made her Wigmore Hall debut as Orfeo in Handel Parnasso in festa for the London Handel Festival and Royal Albert Hall debut with Handel Messiah. This season she played Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) as a Young Artist for OHP, Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) with British Youth Opera/Silent Opera, and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) for the RCM Opera Studio. She has also appeared as Bridesmaid in Der Freischütz with Sir Mark Elder and the OAE and covered roles including Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas with ETO.

In concert she has performed a wide variety of repertoire, including the Bach Passions and B minor mass, Handel Messiah, Haydn The Creation, Mozart Mass in C minor and Requiem, Beethoven’s ninth symphony, Rossini Petite messe solennelle and Stabat Mater, Brahms
Requiem, Mahler’s second and fourth symphonies, Strauss Vier Letzte Lieder, and Tippett A Child of Our Time.

Future engagements include Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) with the RCM Opera Studio, Bach St John Passion with the City of London Sinfonia at Southwark Cathedral alongside Roderick Williams, and making her European concert debut with Mozart Requiem in Trieste and Handel
Messiah in Budapest.

Nancy Cole

Mezzo Soprano Nancy Cole enjoys a varied career of solo work and consort singing. Nancy is based in London where she is a permanent member of the BBC singers and regular soloist with them. When not at the BBC she tours with the country’s leading ensembles. In 2019 she was a chorus member of Simon Rattle and Peter Sellars’ staged tour of Bach’s St John Passion. In 2016/17, Nancy performed in the 3-month sellout production of All the Angels at the Sam Wannamaker Theatre, The Globe. She is also a regular performer in the Brighton Early Music Festival where she was a soloist in the festival’s production of La Liberazzione di Ruggiero, November 2015 and Peace in Europe: A concert for armistice day (November 2018). A regular performer in the York Early Musical Festival, Nancy was a soloist in Schutz: Celebration, invention and deprivation (July 2018), Handel, Vivaldi and Haydn (December 2017) and Bach’s St Matthew Passion (July 2017). Recital appearances include St Martin in the Fields, The Handel House Museum and the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. She is a member of the Tower of London chapel choir.

Brought up in Lancaster, Nancy was a Choral Scholar at St Edmund Hall Oxford 2006-2009, where she studied music. She then gained a distinction in her Music Masters at York University and spent one year further training for a graduate diploma at the Royal College of Music. In 2011-2012, Nancy was part of the inaugural year of The Sixteen’s training programme, Genesis Sixteen, led by Harry Christophers. Nancy is delighted to be returning to work after the birth of her first child in March 2021.

Ted Black 

Born and raised in London, tenor Ted Black is a current member of the Royal College of Music International Opera Studio. Opera roles include Ferrando (Così fan Tutte) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), in both of which he recently made his international debut at Opera Wrocław, Poland. Other roles include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Gonzalve (L’heure Espagnole) and Cecco (Il Mondo della Luna) all at the RCM. This summer he performed a fully staged production of Vaughan Williams’ On Wenlock Edge at Waterperry Opera Festival.

A Samling Artist, Ted has found success in numerous competitions – he was a finalist in the 2021 Royal Over-Seas Leauge Annual Music Competition, and in the 2020 Kathleen Ferrier awards, a semi-finalist in the 2021 Paris Opera Competition, and in the 2019 Grange Festival International Singing Competition, and won first place in the 2019 Lies Askonas Competition. Before his postgraduate studies in London, Ted studied in Glasgow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he won first place in the Jean Highgate Scholarship for Singing, and the Governors’ Recital Prizes in both singing and chamber music.

Concert highlights include Elgar’s The Apostles, at the Royal Festival Hall with the LPO, and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at Chichester Cathedral. He has a special passion for art song, particularly French repertoire of the 20th century, and frequently appears as a recitalist across the UK. Future plans include a return to Wrocław in early 2022 to reprise his roles in both Don Giovanni and Così fan Tutte.

Michael Lafferty 

British Baritone, Michael Lafferty, is a dynamic artist, praised for the “melting warmth” of his voice, and “demonstrable affection and involvement” of his performances. (Opera Today – Hurn Court Opera recital, Salisbury Arts Centre, Nov ‘19). He currently studies on the Opera School at Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutelage of David Pollard, where he is generously supported by The Behrens Foundation, The Drake Calleja Trust and Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Prior to his studies at Guildhall, Michael had the privilege of studying at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin under the tutelage of bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, and graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire with a first-class honours Bachelor degree in 2018.

He has had success in numerous competitions, with highlights including First prizes at the AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2021, Freda Parry Foundation Competition 2017 and the Guildhall English Song Prize 2021. Other successes include reaching the finals of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2020 and second prize at the Hurn Court Opera Competition 2018. Michael’s Operatic stage debut was in 2018 as Tarquinius for Trinity Laban’s The Rape of Lucretia. Since then, Michael has performed the roles of Dr.Falke (Die Fledermaus), Pausanias (Une Éducation Manquée) and Masetto (Don Giovanni), as well as scenes from Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro), Albert Herring (Sid) and Die Zauberflöte (Papageno). Michael is currently preparing the roles of Prince Andrei (Prokofiev, War and Peace), Fritz (Korngold, Die Tote Stadt) and revisiting Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) for Guildhall Opera School scenes performances in November.

Recent performances include Schumann’s ‘Requiem für Mignon’ as a soloist under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner for Salzurger Festpiele 2021, “Five Spirituals”, Tippett, with Kings Lynn Festival Chorus and guest soloist for Prenzlau Opera Gala, Berlin, conducted by John Axelrod. Other engagements include Guglielmo (cover) for Nevill Holt Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte for the 2019 Season.



Photo: Benjamin Ealovega