Nicky Spence

Joseph Middleton

This recital was both the final concert in the Leeds Lieder 2019-20 season, and a taster for the forthcoming 2020 Festival, which takes place over four days from Thursday April 16th-Sunday April 19th. This will be the 10th year of the Festival, and the first to be hosted by the University of Leeds. The programme promises to be unmissable for anyone who loves the art of song, and if last night’s recital was any indication of the standard we can expect, then every single one of the events should be sold out.

Joseph Middleton, the Festival’s director and guiding light, is so young that he had never heard a concert performance of the evening’s central work, Janáček’s Diary of one who Disappeared, until he learnt it for this evening – yet he played it with such virtuosity and panache that you would imagine he had grown up with it. The piano part is as demanding and challenging as that for the voice, and his collaboration with Nicky Spence’s at once heroic and tender characterization of the besotted youth, was gripping from first note to last.

Read the full musicOMH review here.