The British countertenor Michael Chance studied English at King's College, Cambridge where he was also a choral scholar. He is in equal demand as an opera, concert, recital and recording artist. Concerts and recitals have taken him to the Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna and the Berlin Philharmonie, as well as tours in Japan, Europe and United States. His operatic roles include Orfeo (Gluck), Oberon, Giasone, Giustino, Ottone, Athamas, Andronico, and Apollo (Britten's Death in Venice). He has had roles written specially for him by Sir Harrison Birtwistle (The Second Mrs Kong) and Judith Weir (A night at the Chinese Opera). Operatic engagements have taken him to Sydney, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Glyndebourne, La Scala Milan and Covent Garden. His repertoire ranges from the baroque to contemporary, including many world premieres (Bennett, Goehr, Tavener, Costello) and he has recorded extensively, receiving a Grammy award for his participation in Handel's Semele.
Composers like Richard Rodney Bennett, Alexander Goehr, Tan Dun, Anthony Powers, John Tavener, and Elvis Costello have all written specifically for him, while Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Judith Weir have both created tailor-made operatic roles. He sings regularly with the viol consort Fretwork and also performs in oratorio. Michael Chance is a visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, and was awarded a CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) is Scotland's national chamber orchestra, based in Edinburgh. One of Scotland’s five National Performing Arts Companies, the SCO performs throughout Scotland, including annual tours of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and South of Scotland. The SCO appears regularly at the Edinburgh, East Neuk, St Magnus and Aldeburgh Festivals and The Proms. The SCO's international touring receives support from the Scottish Government. The Orchestra rehearses mainly at Edinburgh's Queens Hall.
The orchestra was formed in 1974, with Roderick Brydon as its first principal conductor (1974-83). Other principal conductors have included Jukka-Pekka Saraste (1987-1991), Ivor Bolton (1994-1996), and Joseph Swensen (1996 -2005, and now the SCO's Conductor Emeritus), while Sir Charles Mackerras held the position of Conductor Laureate until his death in 2010. Robin Ticciati is the SCO's principal conductor.
The SCO's work in contemporary music has included collaborations with Gordon Crosse, John McLeod, Sally Beamish and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies - notably his series of Strathclyde Concertos.
Conductor Andrew Parrott is perhaps best known for over 50 pioneering recordings of pre-classical repertory - from Machaut to Handel - with the London-based Taverner Consort, Choir and Players, which he founded in 1973. Parrott's musical range is broad, and he works extensively with both period- and modern-instrument orchestras and with opera companies, in a huge range of repertoire. Besides co-editing the 700-page New Oxford Book of Carols (1992), he has published several major articles on Monteverdi, Purcell and Bach and a book, The Essential Bach Choir (2000; German translation 2003). A further long-awaited book is inching towards completion.
In 2002 Andrew Parrott was appointed Musical Director of the period-instrument New York Collegium, with whom he continues to present ground-breaking programmes of baroque music, from Giovanni Gabrieli to Rameau. Until recently he also held the post of Music Director and Principal Conductor of the London Mozart Players, where he explored the classical repertoire in particular.
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Judith Weir's colourful tale of 14th-century China is by turns comic, melodramatic and tragic. Set during the invasion of China by Genghis Khan, it tells the story of orphaned Chao Lin.
Chao Lin - Gwion Thomas, baritone
Little Moon/ Actor - Adey Grummett, soprano
Mrs Chin / Old Crone - Frances McCafferty, mezzo-soprano
Old P'eng / Mountain Dweller - Adrian Thompson, tenor
Military Governor - Michael Chance, countertenor
Nightwatchman / Fireman / Marco Polo - Timothy Robinson, tenor
Mongolian Soldier - Michael George, baritone
Actor - Frances Lynch, soprano
Explorer / Actor - Karl Daymond, tenor
"What are those weird, slashing, wondrous orchestral chords? How did she do that?"
New York Times 2002
Recorded live at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 26 February 1999 in association with BBC Radio 3's Sounding the Century.
Engineers: Tony Kime, Andrew Britton
Producer: David McGuinness
Editing & mastering: Marian Freeman
Cover photo: 'Learning Surveying in the Border Region', Needham Research Institute, Cambridge
(P) 2000 NMC Recordings Ltd