Welcome to blog-land! It’s been a while since I wrote one, and much has happened - too much to cover in fact but suffice it to say that I’ve travelled a lot, sung a lot, presented plenty and even added to our family. Pretty busy, then.
I’ve been back working since November and it’s been a fun and interesting time. I got to present my first ‘Songs of Praise’, from Winchester Cathedral, and was the Radio 3 and audience presenter for a few live concerts at Hoddinott Hall with BBC NOW. I was also invited to be a judge at the BBC’s Choir of the Year competition in Festival Hall - now THAT’s pressure! Christmas saw a flurry of Messiahs and Christmas Oratorios but also so much snow that one concert was cancelled as poor Croydon got snowed-in (as it happened I was stuck in Cardiff at the time, looking out in dismay at the bay turning all white). A lovely tour then took me around Wales singing songs by Dilys Elwyn Edwards, alongside Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and wonderful newly-commissioned poems by Mererid Hopwood, and then Easter was truly Passiontide, as I sang in King’s Cambridge, Cadogan Hall and St John’s Smith Square. All John Passions this year - hoping for a Matthew next to balance it out!
My first trip away from home was to Kuala Lumpur in May, where I greatly enjoyed singing with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Layton. We performed some Handel arias in the Dewan Philharmonik and what a wonderful audience we had. Pretty fabulous weather too, 35 degrees and beautifully humid, but I was very good and used the time to catch up on much-needed sleep!
In my spare time (ha ha) I’ve also snuck in a couple of recordings. In February I recorded Bach’s Jauchzet Gott with Crispian Steele Perkins, the legendary virtuosic trumpeter, along with the Armonico Consort. It was a return visit to St Paul’s Deptford, where I recorded ‘Eternal Light’, and we had a fun three days putting the disc together. Then in March I stayed baroque but this time in the Italian style, with a disc of Vivaldi with Florilegium. This will include Nulla in Mundo, which is one of my favourite pieces, and Laudate Pueri (the one in D, with lots of high florid movements. Vivaldi wrote TWO Laudate Pueris, as I discovered rather late in the day..!). We’ll be performing the programme soon so look out for concert dates.
I’m also back on Radio Cymru, so if you’re an early bird you can catch me from six til eight on a Sunday morning. Or Iplayer it! And while you’re there you may still be able to listen to the concert I did with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from the Queen Elizabeth Hall, more lovely Handel.
So that’s it for today’s catch-up. Looking back it seems I’ve been pretty busy - but not too busy to enjoy time at home and watching my son learn to crawl, climb and wreak general havoc. If I thought life was packed BEFORE being a mum, I’ve learnt now just how wrong I was..!