Sir Thomas Allen, baritone

Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where in 2021 he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his debut with the company, he has sung over fifty roles. This year he also celebrated the 40th anniversary of his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
He’s particularly renowned for his Billy Budd, Pelléas, Eugene Onegin, Ulisse and Beckmesser, as well as the great Mozart roles of Count Almaviva, Don Alfonso, Papageno, Guglielmo and, of course, Don Giovanni.
Equally renowned on the concert platform, he appears in recital in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe, in Australia and America, and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. The greatest part of his repertoire has been extensively recorded with such distinguished names as Solti, Levine, Marriner, Haitink, Rattle, Sawallisch and Muti.
He made a triumphant directing debut in 2003 with Albert Herring at the Royal College of Music and went on to direct critically acclaimed productions of Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte for Samling Opera at The Sage, Gateshead. He made an auspicious U.S. directing debut with Le nozze di Figaro for Arizona Opera in 2006 and has since returned to direct Cosi at the Boston Lyric Opera and Don Pasquale at the Chicago Lyric Opera. He is a regular guest at Scottish Opera where his productions include The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and, Don Giovanni.
He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper, an honorary doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Professor of the Royal College of Music, the Hambro Visiting Professorship of Opera Studies at Oxford University, Fellowship of the Royal College of Music, Fellowship of the University of Sunderland, M.A. from Newcastle University and a Doctorate of Music from Durham University and the University of Birmingham. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.
Thomas Allen’s first book, ‘Foreign Parts – A Singer’s Journal’ was published in 1993. His film credits include ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’ and ‘The Real Don Giovanni’.

Joseph Middleton, pianist

Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been internationally acclaimed within this field. Described in the BBC Music Magazine as ‘one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder’, he has also been labelled ‘the cream of the new generation’ by The Times and ‘a perfect accompanist’ by Opera Now.

Joseph enjoys fruitful partnerships with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Louise Alder, Mary Bevan, Ian Bostridge, Allan Clayton, Dame Sarah Connolly, Marianne Crebassa, Iestyn Davies, Fatma Said, Samuel Hasselhorn, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Angelika Kirchschlager, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, John Mark Ainsley, Ann Murray, James Newby, Mark Padmore, Mauro Peter, Miah Persson, Carolyn Sampson and Roderick Williams. He collaborates with rising stars from the younger generation and regularly programmes his own series for BBC Radio 3.

Recent seasons have taken him to London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw, Köln Philharmonie, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Lille and Gothenburg Opera Houses, Berlin Boulez Saal, Paris Musée d’Orsay, Zürich Tonhalle, deSingel Antwerp, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Bozar Brussels, Tokyo’s Oji Hall and New York’s Alice Tully Hall. He regularly appears at festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Munich, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and Hohenems, Stuttgart, Heidelberger Frühling, Frankfurt, Ravinia, Japan, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver as well as the BBC Proms. His fast growing discography on Harmonia Mundi, BIS, Chandos and Signum Records have won him a Diapason D’or, Edison Award, Prix Caecilia as well as numerous Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine Award nominations.

In 2022/23 he is Artist in Residence at the Life Victoria Festival Barcelona where he appears in recital with Dame Sarah Connolly, Louise Alder and Benjamin Appl. He appears at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg with Fatma Said, Louise Alder, Sophie Rennert amongst others, joins Marianne Crebassa on a European recital tour to London, Berlin, Madrid, Antwerp and Cologne, performs a 14 city ECHO tour with James Newby including appearances at Baden Baden, Palau de Musica, Musikverein Wien and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and returns to the Wigmore Hall for the London premiere of a major new work by Mark Anthony Turnage alongside Dame Sarah Connolly. With Carolyn Sampson he performs at Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Japan’s Oji Hall.

Joseph Middleton is Director of Leeds Lieder, Musician in Residence at, and a Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge and a Professor and Fellow at his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music. He was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist of the Year Award in 2017.


25, 26 October 2023, 10h00-15h40


The English Songbook