It’s partytime at Leeds Lieder as soprano Mary Bevan, tenor Nicky Spence and Festival Director Joseph Middleton join forces for an evening of songs by Noël Coward.

Leeds Lieder are in party mode as they prepare for an evening of songs by Noël Coward, his friends and contemporaries, on Saturday 4 March at 7.30pm at Leeds Conservatoire. Three of the UK’s most popular recitalists gather in the salon of Noël Coward for an imagined party where they bring to life a colourful cacophony of characters. By turns touching, intimate, riotous, thoughtful, funny and heartbreaking, this fictional salon will explore all aspects of life and be sure to entertain its many guests.

British soprano Mary Bevan, winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award and the UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent in Music, will take to the stage to demonstrate her “dramatic wit and vocal control”, for which she was rightly praised by ‘Opera’ magazine. Her partner for the evening is the tenor Nicky Spence, one of Scotland’s proudest sons. A compelling singing-actor, Nicky was named BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year 2022 and will undoubtedly bring pizzazz to the evening’s entertainment. Accompanying these two dazzling singers is the equally-talented pianist Joseph Middleton, known as “one of the brightest stars in the world of song…” (BBC Music Magazine).

The party starts with a medley of Coward’s earlier songs before Poulenc and Satie arrive to provide Parisian glamour. The entertainment continues with Quilter who serves up Edwardian sentimentality of the best kind. It is then a hop and a skip to Hollywood with Gershwin and a rendition of Rachmaninov’s sublime Vocalise. The party draws to a close with some crisp dance rhythms from Walton and Britten and fittingly ends with two of Coward’s most popular songs: ‘I went to a marvellous party’ and ‘The party’s over now’.

This melting pot shows Coward as one of the finest tunesmiths of any time, able to turn his hand to achingly beautiful songs full of pathos, and wit worn lightly. Nicky Spence says: “Noël Coward was the best lyrical tongue and satirist of the last century and it’s a real delight to be able to bring him back to life so close to the 50th anniversary of his death. Mary, Joseph and I love to work together and we certainly plan to have a ball and celebrate this great artist in style!”


Saturday 4 March 2023 at 7.30pm – A Marvellous Party
Mary Bevan (soprano), Nicky Spence (tenor), Joseph Middleton (piano)
Programme:  Coward, Weill, Messager, Rorem, Satie, Poulenc, Gershwin, Britten, Walton
The Venue, Leeds Conservatoire, 3 Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PD
Tickets: £20 (standard), £15 (unwaged / disabled people), Free (under 30s / students)
Book tickets here