University of Leicester eBulletin

Opera Star Returns to Leicester

June 2002
No 139

Internationally renowned soprano Dame Felicity Lott will return in September to give a recital at the University of Leicester, for which she sang two of the earliest operatic roles of her distinguished career.

Dame Felicity Lott starred in two Mozart productions with Leicester University Opera at the Haymarket Theatre in 1974 and 1975, the first as Elvira in Don Giovanni and the second as Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte.

Leicester University Opera combined young professional soloists at the outset of their careers with professional musicians and local singers and actors from the University, producing performances of considerable quality which were much appreciated by the Leicester public at that time. Other young singers who appeared with the company included Philip Langridge, Lynn Barber and Michael Rippon.  

Dame Felicity Lott
Dame Felicity Lott

For her return recital on  September 21, 2002 at the University of Leicester Richard Attenborough Centre, Dame Felicity, who received an honorary degree from the University in 2000, has chosen a programme of songs from the French, German and English repertoire. She will be accompanied by pianist Graham Johnson, her accompanist from their student days.

The evening will include such favourite composers as Schubert, Brahms, Wolf, Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Bridge and Gershwin, as well as the lesser known Oscar Straus, Godard, Kosma, Szulc, Terrasse, Yvain and Quilter. 

Director of Music at the University, Anthony Pither, said: “We feel honoured that Dame Felicity is singing for us once again.”

Born in Cheltenham, music was an important part of Dame Felicity Lott’s life from her earliest years. Initially, however, she took a degree in French and Latin to become an interpreter, continuing to take singing lessons at the Conservatoire de Grenoble during a stay in France. Finally music won the day and she returned to London to take up singing at the Royal Academy of Music, where she graduated in 1973, also winning the Principal’s Prize.

In 1975 she made her debut with English National Opera as Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute, the first in a long line of performances in opera houses round the world, including in the UK Covent Garden and – in particular – Glyndebourne, where she made her debut as Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 1977.  

In Vienna, Milan, Paris, Brussels, Munich, Hamburg, Dresden, New York and Chicago, she has  sung leading roles in operas by Richard Strauss, Mozart, Britten, Charpentier, Poulenc and in operettas by Lehar, Johann Strauss and Offenbach.

As a concert artist, too, Dame Felicity has built up a formidable international reputation, working with many major orchestras and festivals, including conductors such as Carlos Kleiber, Georg Solti, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, André Previn, Neeme Järvi, Klaus Tennstedt, Andrew Davis and Kurt Masur. Her concert repertoire includes music by Handel, Bach, Mahler, Brahms, Elgar and Walton.

Dame Felicity has received the title Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government in 1990, and Chevalier dans la Legion d’Honneur in 2001. In 1990 she was made a CBE and in 1996 was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Dame Felicity Lott is married to the actor Gabriel Woolf. They live in Sussex with their daughter, Emily.

Dame Felicity Lott will appear at the University of Leicester Richard Attenborough Centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester on Saturday 21 September 2002 at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £15 (£13 retired and £7.50 concession) and are available in advance from the Richard Attenborough Centre, telephone 0116 252 2455, and the Music Department, 0116 252 2781.

NOTE TO EDITORS:   Further information is available from Philip Herbert, Organising Tutor for Music, Richard Attenborough Centre, University of Leicester,  telephone 0116 252 2455, email RACentre@le.ac.uk, or from Anthony Pither, Director of Music,  University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 2781, email mer@le.ac.uk

A more detailed biography of Dame Felicity Lott is available on website: www.felicitylott.de/biography.html

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