Shelton, Lucy

Lucy Shelton is an American soprano best known for her performance of contemporary music. She graduated from The Putney School in 1961 and Pomona College in 1965. The only artist to receive the International Walter W. Naumberg Award twice, as a soloist and as a chamber musician, soprano Lucy Shelton has performed repertoire from Bach to Boulez in major recital, chamber and orchestral venues throughout the world. Highly acclaimed as an interpreter of new music, Shelton continues to bring new audiences into the sound world of new works, often composed for her. A native Californian, her musical training began early with the study of both piano and flute. After graduating from Pomona College she pursued singing at the New England Conservatory and at the Aspen Music School, where she studied with Jan de Gaetani.

Leonard, Sarah


Sarah Leonard is one of Britain's most respected and versatile sopranos. She has a wide repertoire from baroque to contemporary and has appeared throughout the world in major concert halls, opera houses and festivals. She has premiered many works by leading composers including Harrison Birtwistle, Pascal Dusapin, Jonathan Harvey, Helmut Lachenmann, John Harle and Joe Cutler.

Her 30-plus recordings include a recital series of English Song with Malcolm Martineau, works by Varèse with Chailly and the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Ligeti’s Aventures, Nouvelle Aventures with the Schoenberg Ensemble, In Praise of Dreams by Joe Cutler for NME.  January 2017 saw the release of vocal works by Nicola LeFanu and David Lumsdaine with Gemini Ensemble for Metier, and The Silver Hound, new recordings of songs by Betty Roe.

For many years Sarah toured as a guest soprano with The Hilliard Ensemble, singing and recording the music of Arvo Pärt. She sang with The Michael Nyman Band for over 20 years and featured on Peter Greenaway films The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and Prospero’s Books and many Nyman CD’s. Sarah has also worked extensively with John Harle and is the voice in the title music of the long running TV series Silent Witness.

Sarah regularly gives song recitals with pianist Stephen Gutman. These have included recitals at the BMIC’s Cutting Edge series, Benslow Music’s Summer Festivals, The Clothworkers Centenary Hall and The London Song Festival.

Alongside her performing career Sarah teaches singing and holds popular singing courses at Benslow Music and Jackdaws. She also gives regular workshops and master classes at Trinity Laban.

In January 2013 Hull University awarded Sarah Leonard a Degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa for her services to music.


Hulse, Eileen

After an initial career as a teacher, Eileen studied at the National Opera Studio, was accepted by Y.C.A.T. and rapidly made her mark as one of Britain’s leading coloratura sopranos. Eileen travelled extensively with the role of Flora, Turn of the Screw performing at the Fenice, Kirov, Bolshoi, and the Music Centre Los Angeles. She has also recorded the role for Collins Classics. Other more standard roles include Constanze and Blonde, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Queen of the Night and Pamina Magic Flute, Madame Herz, Der Schauspieldirector, Fiakermilli Arabella to name but a few. As well as classical opera Eileen has been very involved with contemporary opera roles. She performed to considerable critical acclaim the multiple roles of The Maid in Thomas Adès first opera Powder Her Face with the Vlaamse opera and was involved in the premiere of his second opera The Tempest with the stratospheric role Ariel. Other world premieres include Mother, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Michael Berkeley, 63 Dream Palace, von Bose and Higgelty Piggelty Pop, Knussen. Opera videos include Baa Baa Black Sheep with Opera North and Rusalka E.N.O.

Knussen, Oliver


Born in Glasgow in 1952, Knussen grew up near London, where his father was principal double bass of the London Symphony Orchestra. It was with the LSO that he made his debut in April 1968, conducting his First Symphony in London and in Carnegie Hall, New York.  In 1970 he was awarded the first of three fellowships to Tanglewood, where he studied with Gunther Schuller. During this time he completed several works which were subsequently widely performed on both sides of the Atlantic and established his early reputation. In 1975 Knussen returned permanently to the UK.

From 1983 till 1998, Knussen was an Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival, and also held posts at the Tanglewood Music Center and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 1992, with Colin Matthews, he established the Contemporary Composition and Performance courses at the Britten-Pears School in Snape.

After many years of close collaboration with the London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen became Music Director in 1998, and in 2002 was made Conductor Laureate. In 2006 he was appointed Artist in Association with the BCMG. Among his many awards are Honorary Memberships of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Royal Philharmonic Society, an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the 2004 Association of British Orchestras Award. In 2006 he was named the second recipient of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, USA.

He has guest-conducted in many parts of the world, including in the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan. As a conductor he has recorded more than thirty CDs of contemporary music, several of which have won international awards - these include Robin Holloway's Concerto for Orchestra No.2, which won NMC's first Gramophone Award, and Maxwell Davies' opera Taverner.

He became a CBE in the 1994 Birthday Honours.

Image Credit: 
Clive Barda

Chance, Michael


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.

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Sing, Ariel sets a patchwork of texts, ranging from Milton to Wallace Stevens, for 3 solo sopranos; it is coupled with The Death of Moses, a vast choral exploration of Hebrew myth.


Sing Ariel
Lucy Shelton principal soprano
Sarah Leonard, Eileen Hulse sopranos
Instrumental ensemble
Oliver Knussen conductor

The Mouse Metamorphosed into a Maid
Lucy Shelton soprano

The Death of Moses
Michael Chance countertenor
Stephen Richardson baritone
Sarah Leonard soprano
Gautam Rangarajan tenor
Paul Robinson bass
Sawston Village College Chamber Choir / Jan MacLeod conductor
Cambridge University Musical Society Chorus / Lynette Levitt solo
Instrumental ensemble
Stephen Cleobury conductor


Originally released on Unicorn-Kanchana in 1993/4.



'Sing Ariel is a marvellous song cycle for soprano. There's a vast range of texture and mood, often expressed through the simplest means.'
BBC Music Magazine


The Ancora Series is supported by Arts Council England


Sing Ariel/ Mouse Metamorphosed:

Recording date: 9-10 December 1991
Recording venue:  All Saints Church, Petersham
Engineer: Tryggvi Tryggvason
Producer: Oliver Knussen

The Death of Moses:
Recording date: 10-11 January 1993
Recording venue:  King's College Chapel, Cambridge
Engineers: Tryggvi Tryggvason, Geoff Miles
Producer: Tryggvi Tryggvason

Editing & mastering: Marian Tryggvason

Cover image: Photo: Malcolm Crowthers

(P) 1991 & 1993 Unicorn-Kanchana Records

Schott Music
Catalogue number:
NMC D096
Release Date:
1 December 2003