PREVIEW: Magid El-Bushra’s A Willesden Liederkreis (‘A Willesden Song-Cycle’)

Operatic countertenor Magid El-Bushra’s acclaimed one-man drag opera cabaret A Willesden Liederkreis comes to the Marlborough Theatre this weekend (March 22).

A Willesden Liederkreis (‘A Willesden Song-Cycle’) is a funny, provocative and touching work from acclaimed countertenor Magid El-Bushra, based on Schumann’s famous opus 39 song-cycle.

Bringing his “vocal beauty and fine presence” (Opera Magazine) to an eclectic range of music – from Handel and Schumann to Weill and Sondheim, Bjork and Nina Simone – he tells the story of a lonely Muslim boy, trapped in 1980s suburbia.

Encouraged by the likes of Prince, Madonna and Joan Collins, who appear to him through his TV set, he finds the strength to imagine a different world.

‘A Willesden Liederkreis’ was smartly scripted, deeply touching and beautifully sung… For the title alone, it deserved notice. But to hear it was a joy….. Michael White, Catholic Herald.

The performance on March 30 includes a Q&A with Dr Rachel O’Connell, Director of Sussex University’s Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence.

Magid is a countertenor noted for his gentle countertenor sound (Opernwelt), his dramatic depth (Diapason Magazine), and described as a true countertenor discovery (Der Tagesspiegel).

He is developing a notable career in the opera, oratorio and recital repertoires. Engagements include Hamor in Handel’s Jephtha at the Wiener Festwochen, a solo recital with the Berner Symphonieorchester at Konzerttheater Bern, the alto solos in Bach’s St John Passion with Concerto Köln, and the Cheshire Cat in Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Operatic engagements have included the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and David in Handel’s Saul. He made his debut with Glyndebourne on Tour as Nutrice in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea (2010), and has covered the roles of Mago Christiano (Rinaldo) and Nireno (Giulio Cesare) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera (2011/2009). He has also performed the role of Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and Tragedia/Dafne in Caccini’s Euridice. He was recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Susan Chilcott Scholarship in 2011.

Magid was born in Khartoum, Sudan and studied Music at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he also held a Choral Scholarship. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music, where he was a winner of the Century Prize for Early Music, and at the Flanders Opera Studio in Ghent.

In November 2008, he won first prize at the Concorso Musica Sacra in Rome, and, with his baroque ensemble La Sfera Musicale, was a prizewinner at the international early music competitions in Brugges and Yamanashi.

Colin Scott is the pianist for the production which is co-produced by Julia Burbach and designed by Elijah Kinne

Event: Magid El-Bushra’s A Willesden Liederkreis (‘A Willesden Song-Cycle’)

Where: The Marleborough Theatre, Princes Street, Brighton

When: March 22, 24 & 30

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: £9.50/£7.50 concs

To book tickets online, click here:

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