a recording of Stella the pianist!
(Please check for last minute updates)
Let our spirits fly ...
Russian, Spanish, French and British
classical songs and piano solos
(including music by Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Obradors, Falla,
Monday 25th July 2016
St.Michael at the North Gate
Stella Seaton-Sims (mezzo-soprano)
Malcolm Pearce (piano)
Stella Seaton-Sims, after careers as a teacher and a BBC TV director and senior broadcast journalist, now concentrates on her life-long passion for singing. Having performed as a soloist with many classical choral groups in her native Evesham, Cambridge, London, the Midlands and South of England, she began giving solo classical recitals in 1998.
Now based in the Midlands, Stella performs regularly all over the country. Concerts have included many contributions to Birmingham’s Artsfest as a solo recitalist and also with the Birmingham Touring Opera, concerts in Sheffield Cathedral (Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater), solo concerts for the Cambridge Russian-speaking Society in Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, for the British-Russian Society (Midlands) in Birmingham’s St. Philip’s Cathedral and Coventry, for Birmingham’s Russian and British International Club (RUBRIC), Anglo-French Society and Greek Club, for The Russian-British Club in Bury St. Edmunds, for the Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, for ‘Save the Children’ and St. Mary’s Hospice, Birmingham. Stella has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for an audience of 25,000 at Birmingham’s ‘Fireworks Fantasia’ in Cannon Hill Park and at ‘The Big Chill’ at Eastnor. She has given solo performances in Birmingham University’s Barber Institute of Fine Arts - in the presence of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham - and also in a concert with the Bochmann Quartet, in Birmingham’s Council House, CBSO Centre (including a collaborative production with Topiary Dance Company), many times at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Bullring, at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham and the Elgar School of Music in Worcester, in Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Yorkshire. She has sung the role of the ‘Sorceress’ in Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ in Histon, Cambridge - under the baton of Grayston Burgess.
Stella has sung in various styles throughout her life, including with a professional dance-band and progressive-folk duo, and has a keen interest in improvisation, experimental and new music - as well as that of lesser-known, but nonetheless valuable, composers. She was a very active member of the Midland Early Music Forum for several years and, at the modern end of the time scale, has also given several ‘first performances‘ - of ‘Maximilian Kolbe’ - a song-cycle by the Birmingham composer Norman Harding, ‘Storm in the evening sky’ (a setting of words by Russian poet Afanasy Fet which she subsequently commissioned from Norman) and, at Birmingham’s Artsfest 2007, of the ‘Third Bely Song’ by Marcus Tristan Heathcock. Stella sang a further World Première for Marcus - of his song ‘Mozart’‘ (words by Edinburgh’s Poet Laureate, Ron Butlin) - in Shrewsbury in 2009.
Stella’s repertoire includes both sacred and secular music but, particularly, Russian, French, Italian, American and English art songs and opera arias. She has a particular expertise in the field of Russian classical vocal music which she sings in Russian. Five journeys to Moscow between 2001 and 2004, one sponsored by West Midlands Arts, enabled her to research songs little-known in England and to study privately with the celebrated opera and chamber singer Galina Pisarenko, a principal Professor of the Moscow Conservatory. Stella has recently added Spanish art song (in Spanish) to this extensive repertoire.
• ‘delightful and inspirational voice’ - Cambridge Russian-speaking Society
• ‘wonderful ’, ‘a great singer‘ – Phil Bond – jazz musician, Birmingham
• ". . . songs delivered with heartfelt conviction." – Dr Clement Jewitt - composer & writer
• ‘heart-warming’, ‘Stella obviously loves doing what she does’ - Nadine Stavonina-de-Montagnac, RUBRIC
• ‘brought sincerity and vivid characterisation to songs ...’ - Birmingham Post
• ‘a very rich mezzo-soprano voice’, ‘The evening was beautiful .... the energy was palpable, and we were
‘transported’ , 'I can’t wait to hear her again’. 'There are some voices that touch the soul: Stella's is one of those voices' – Jan Tchamani (Red Tent)
• 'brilliant', 'it was beautiful' - Gordon Gardner, audience member, St. John's, Wolverhampton
• 'Absolutely fantastic', 'You ... created such an atmosphere that everyone, I believe, was feeling as a part of ... one big and warm international community. I strongly believe that at least part of your heart is definately Russian!' - Nadia Garratt (Russian-British Club - RUBRIC)
• 'The performances were ... lovely; one couldn't bear it to end!' 'May you put on many, many more such concerts!' - Elizabeth Way (United Nations Association and British-Russian Society (Midlands))
• '... Sunday was super. A really enjoyable and thoughtful mix of music and readings that was skilfully compiled and created a well-structured concert. ...(the) performances were as excellent as ever. Really enjoyed it!' - Keith Horsfall - Royal Society of Arts (Midlands Regional Chair)
• r.e. 'We will Remember Them ... (a Musical and Artistic Remembrance Tribute)' ... (9.11.2012)
... 'now this is no ordinary concert ... we have the much-loved mezzo-soprano Stella Seaton-Sims and pianist Phillip Ypres-Smith performing whilst local artist Paul Langford will create a painting for remembrance, inspired by the performance ...' - St. Martin's Arts (St. Martin-in-the-Bullring, Birmingham)
... 'a most moving performance' - Alan English (B15 Internet)
... 'brilliant combination of talents' - Michael Payne, audience member
... Lion Ballroom, Leominster - 'their programme ['In the Sunlight...'] explored and exploited that theme with joyous delight, clever cunning and refreshingly varied repertoire. And no one could complain about the generosity of the fare, or the skill in presentation....how much these artists love Russian repertoire - and how well they perform it....Her clear mezzo voice and splendid diction is ideal for the Russian repertoire and ideal for Faure...his confidence, his total competence and his sheer musicianship made him an ideal partner in this duo of well-matched equals.' - Peter Williams (Hereford Times)Full review at http://www.espressivo.org.uk/seaton-sims_concert_review_6_oct_2013.php
... 'what a voice' - audience member; St. Martin's Church, Worcester