Hilary Summers

Contralto

“Then there was the extraordinary Hilary Summers whose showing as Jocasta negotiated the near-impossible register switches and freakish excitement of her big number with great aplomb and clever musicianship.”

Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk

Highlights

  • Kurtag Fin de Partie (Nell) – dir. Pierre Audi, c. Markus Stenz – Debut appearance at Teatro alla Scala, Milan; Netherlands Opera
  • Handel Giulio Cesare (Cornelia), Charpentier Actéon, Handel Serse (Amastre) – Early Opera Company, c. Christian Curnyn
  • Gerald Barry Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (White Queen, Dormouse) – Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Thomas Adès
  • Mahler Symphony no 8 – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Vasily Petrenko
  • Handel Jeptha (Storge) – Richard Egarr at BBC Proms and Mendelssohn Die erste Walpurgisnacht – Laurence Equilbey both with Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Performances at the Cheltenham and Newbury Spring Festivals

Biography

Born in South Wales, contralto Hilary Summers has recorded over forty CDs spanning works from the early baroque period to the present day and has sung in most of the major concert halls and opera houses around the world.  Her…

Born in South Wales, contralto Hilary Summers has recorded over forty CDs spanning works from the early baroque period to the present day and has sung in most of the major concert halls and opera houses around the world.  Her three-octave range has excited the attention of many composers. She has sung in numerous world premières including George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill at the Bastille, Paris; Elliot Carter’s What Next at the Staatsoper, Berlin; Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest in London and New York and Alice’s Adventures Under Ground with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in Los Angeles and for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Peter Eotvos’ Le Balcon at the Aix Festival and Facing Goya and War Work by Michael Nyman.  Most recently she made her debut appearance at Teatro alla Scala, Milan singing ‘Nell’ in the world première of Kurtag’s Fin de Partie, before reprising the role for Dutch National Opera.

Hilary worked closely with the iconic composer and conductor Pierre Boulez from 2004. With the Ensemble Intercontemporain, they recorded his masterwork Le marteau sans maître, for which she won a Grammy, and performed the piece worldwide. She also performed Le visage nuptial, Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Ligeti’s Aventures and Aventures nouvelles under his inspirational baton.

A regular soloist with leading European period instrument ensembles, she has a close rapport with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company with whom she has recorded Handel’s Semele, Partenope, Flavio, Serse, and Il trionfo del tempo. Other baroque highlights include Handel’s Orlando (Medoro in Robert Carson’s production with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants); Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Sorceress in Deborah Warner’s production with Les Arts Florissants) and Handel’s Admeto (Trasimede with Christophe Rousset and Les Talons Lyriques at the Sydney Opera House).

Hilary sings internationally on the concert platform in a variety of repertoire from Bach to Birtwistle and has given over one hundred performances of Handel’s Messiah. Other favourite concert works include Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Mahler’s Symphonies 2, 3 and 8.

Operatic roles include Sorceress; Juno; Cornelia; Polinesso; Amadigi; Tisbe (La Cenerentola); Gaea (Daphne); Geneviève (Pelléas); Baba the Turk/Mother Goose; Hippolyta; Mrs Sedley; Bianca; Mescalina (Le Grand Macabre); Tiger Lily/Mrs Darling (Peter Pan) and Miss Prism in Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest

Film soundtracks include The Claim and The Libertine by Michael Nyman, The Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambo and the BBC TV series The League of Gentlemen by Joby Talbot.

Highlights last season included the role of Storge in Handel’s Jeptha with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Richard Egarr for the 2019 BBC Proms,  concerts with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Early Opera Company and La Serenissima.  She also reprised the roles of White Queen and Dormouse in an acclaimed new production of Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  Highlights for the 2020-21 season include her debuts  at the Valencia Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia and Oper Dortmund, both for Fin de Partie Kurtag, Irish National Opera Alice’s Adventures Underground and performances with The Kings Consort, Early Opera Company and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.  Further ahead will see her return to English National Opera, Opera National de Paris and performances at the Cheltenham and Newbury Festivals.

This biography should not be edited without permission from Maxine Robertson Management.
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ARTIST WEBSITE

Contact:

Nicki Wenham Senior Artist Manager
Direct line: +44 20 7096 1574
Mobile: +44 7587 418 577 (Outside office hours)
Email: nw@maxinerobertson.com
Hours: Monday-Friday 09:30 - 17:00
Ruth Cornes Associate Artist Manager
Direct line: +44 20 7096 1970
Email: rc@maxinerobertson.com
Hours: Monday 13:00 - 16:00
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