Tynan, Ailish


Ailish Tynan was born in Mullingar, Ireland, and studied at Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. In 2003 Ailish represented Ireland in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, winning the BBC Singer of the World Rosenblatt Recital Prize. Other awards include the Maggie Teyte Competition/Miriam Licette Award and the RTE Millennium Singer of the Future.

Whilst a member of the former Vilar Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, her roles included Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, First Niece in Peter Grimes, Xenia in Boris Godunov and Second Wood Nymph in Rusalka. She has also appeared with Welsh National Opera, Opera Ireland and Seattle Opera, and with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the 2006 BBC Proms. As a former BBC New Generation Artist, Ailish is also a regular contributor on BBC Radio 3.

As a recitalist, Ailish has collaborated with distinguished accompanists including Malcolm Martineau, Graham Johnston, Julius Drake, Iain Burnside and Barry Douglas, giving recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival, Wigmore Hall and St John's Smith Square, London; her recording of songs of Judith Weir, with Ian Burnside, was released in 2006 on the Signum Classics label.

Image Credit: 
Benjamin Ealovega

Stephany, Anna


Anglo-French mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany was born in the North East of England, studying at King’s College London and the National Opera Studio. She is a Guildhall Gold Medal recipient, represented England at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and is winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award.

She joined Zürich Opera House in 2012/13 where she made her debut as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte. Future roles in Zürich include Siebel in Gounod’s Faust, Nicklausse in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, Minerva in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and Komponist in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. One of her most coveted roles is Octavian in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier; she made her role debut to critical acclaim at the Bolshoi Theatre in 2011. She made her opera recording debut in 2013 in the title role of Handel’s Serse, with Christian Curnyn and Early Opera Company.

On the concert stage she has appeared with some of the world’s finest orchestras. 2013 saw her perform Handel in New York, London and Paris with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/William Christie in a tribute to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; she is also noted for her interpretations of modern music, most recently in Luciano Berio’s O King at the BBC Proms, where she has performed on many occasions.

Image Credit: 
Marco Borggreve

Tortise, Andrew


Andrew Tortise was a choral scholar at Wells Cathedral and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2002. He made his opera debut in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysée as Apollo Semele in 2004. Early opera appearances included Marzio in Mitridate at the Salzburg Festival, Ferrando and roles in L’incoronazione di Poppea for Lyon Opera, and Robert in David Sawer's Skin Deep for Opera North and the Bregenz Festival.

Andrew has appeared on tours with Sir John Eliot Gardiner singing Purcell, Bach and Monteverdi; with Richard Egarr and the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment; with Concert Spirituel and Hervé Niquet singing Messiah; and with Marc Minkowski singing Damon in Handel's Acis and Galatea. Recent highlights include The Spirit of the Masque in Richard Jones's production of Britten's Gloriana for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Novice in Billy Budd and Janek in The Makropulos Case for Netherlands Opera; David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Ferrando in Così fan tutte for Welsh National Opera, and the tenor arias in Bach's St Matthew Passion for Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Opera plans this season and beyond include returning to The Royal Opera, Covent Garden to sing Vogelgesang in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and his debut at Opéra National de Lyon singing Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw. Future concert plans include Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with Ex Cathedra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Richard Egarr; Monteverdi's Vespers with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardner, in Salzburg; and appearances at the Presteigne Festival in Britten's The Company of Heaven and the world première of David Matthews' Three Dunwich Songs.

Image Credit: 
Hayden Phoenix

Gilhooly, Owen


Owen Gilhooly is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and National Opera Studio and in 2007 represented Ireland in Cardiff Singer of the World. He is currently pursuing Doctoral studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

He has performed with the RTÉ NSO, Ulster Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Liverpool and London Philharmonic Orchestras and the BBC Symphony Orchestra - in Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ and Weir's The Vanishing Bridegroom, as well as and Bill Bobstay in HMS Pinafore and Konecký in Janacek's Osud at the BBC Proms.

His numerous operatic roles include Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Papageno in The Magic Flute, the Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde, and the General in Luke Bedford's Seven Angels (with The Opera Group).




Image Credit: 
Robert Workman

Lemalu, Jonathan

bass baritone

Jonathan Lemalu, a New Zealand born Samoan, is already among the very forefront of today’s young generation of singers. He graduated from a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Advanced Performance on the London Royal Schools Opera Course at the Royal College of Music and was awarded the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal. He is a joint winner of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier award and the recipient of the 2002 Royal Philharmonic Society’s Award for Young Artist of the Year. He has performed at the Munich, Edinburgh, Ravinia and Tanglewood Festivals and at the BBC Proms.

He is in great demand from the major opera houses, orchestras and recital venues of the world. He released a debut recital disc on EMI with Roger Vignoles to great critical acclaim and which won a Gramophone Debut Disc of the Year award. Other recordings include an operatic arias disc with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and a disc of English and American songs with Malcolm Martineau.

BBC Singers

BBC Singers
The BBC Singers is Britain’s only full-time professional chamber choir and a group with an international reputation. Established in 1924, the versatility of this virtuoso 24-voice ensemble is second-to-none, and this flexibility makes the Singers both an important resource in the broadcast music-making of the BBC and a significant presence in British musical life. The BBC Singers’ breadth of repertoire is unsurpassed by any other choral group, singing everything from Renaissance music to the latest contemporary scores, and their unrivalled expertise with the latter has brought about creative relationships with some of the most important composers and conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries. At home on the concert platform as much as in the recording studio, the BBC Singers also regularly work with the BBC’s own orchestras, a wide range of period instrument and contemporary music ensembles, and with a host of internationally-renowned conductors. The group’s rapidly expanding education programme now embraces regular outreach work with school children, youth choirs, the amateur choral community, and young professional composers, singers and conductors. The BBC Singers have a unique place on the British concert scene: a world-class choral ensemble committed to sharing their enthusiasm and creative expertise with audiences and performers, amateurs and professionals, young and old, across the nation and throughout the whole spectrum of the choral community.
Image Credit: 
John Wood

BBC Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930, and as the flagship orchestra of the BBC provides the backbone of the BBC Proms with at least a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given the premiere of more than 1,000 works by composers such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith, Holst, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and more recently has premiered BBC commissions by Simon Bainbridge, Jonathan Dove, Michael Nyman and Sir John Tavener among others. Its annual season of concerts as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican includes a weekend each January focusing upon a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century, most recently James MacMillan, Elliott Carter and Sofia Gubaidulina.

Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the post of Chief Conductor in July 2006 and David Robertson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2005. The BBC SO works frequently with Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Artist-in-Association John Adams. All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised, giving the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any orchestra in the UK. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work, with ongoing projects including the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Music Intro, introducing families to concert-going.

The BBC SO has appeared on 34 of NMC’s CDs, including the best-selling recording of Elgar’s Third Symphony.

Brabbins, Martyn

Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 2005-2007, he was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1994-2005. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, a position which started in September 2009. After studying composition in London and then conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, his career was launched when he won first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition. Since then Brabbins has regularly conducted all the major UK orchestras and is much sought-after in Europe, notably in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia.   
Brabbins’ symphonic engagements have included appearances at London's  South Bank in subscription with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, his Tokyo debut, with the Tokyo Metropolitan (where he returns in 2011); and visits to the Netherlands Radio Chamber in the prestigious Matinee series, the Residentie Orkest, Salzburg Mozarteumorchester and Lahti Symphony.  He is a regular guest with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Halle and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, and appears several times each season with the BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony orchestras in subscription and at the BBC Proms.


Judith Weir: The Vanishing Bridegroom

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Ailish Tynan soprano
Anna Stéphany soprano
Andrew Tortise tenor
Owen Gilhooly baritone
Jonathan Lemalu bass baritone

BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Judith Weir's opera, commission by Glasgow District Council for the 1990 City of Culture celebrations, takes three Scottish folktales, all concerned with disappearance: The Inheritance features a runaway bride, a singing forest and a lost sum of gold; The Disappearance tells of a man abducted by supernatural forces; and The Stranger is the story of an independent-minded girl wooed by a sinister stranger.

Weir's writing combines lush descriptive soundscapes with ethereal choruses and Gaelic folk melodies; the romanticism of the three tales is offset by the sardonic humour and down-to-earth attitude of their protagonists, and of the composer herself.




'Refreshingly unique […]. Why The Vanishing Bridegroom is not in the repertories of the world’s important opera houses – especially those in which English is the primary language – is a question only made more confounding by this performance, preserved in studio-quality acoustics and given the first-class presentation that it deserves by NMC Recording.’ Voix des Arts

'On CD it emerges with real vitality and it is hard to imagine this performance being bettered. Not a bad way of introducing yourself to the new Master of the Queen's Music'  BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'

‘Weir’s dramatic use of the chorus is particularly impressive .. Brabbins leads a well-paced reading that follows every twist and turn of the colourful score’ Opera Now

'Magical ... an important omission in Weir's recorded catalogue very decently filled' Gramophone

‘A serious tour de force in technical and dramatic terms … brims with moments where the level of atmospheric storytelling is mesmerising’ BBC Music Magazine

'A composer of integrity, [Weir] communicates intelligently with different audiences and ages. This timely release of The Vanishing Bridegroom (1990), her most successful opera, underscores her gift for concision, ambiguity and sound-pictures of sophisticated lyricism' Financial Times

‘The narrative line in each panel is crystal clear, and there is also more than sufficient action to hold our attention: a wedding breakfast, a robbery complete with policeman on the trail, a hellfire preacher with an apocalyptic vision, magic moments (sheep droppings turn to gold at one point), even, in The Disappearance, fairies. […] Given that the recording emanates from a single live public concert performance, at the Barbican Hall in 2008, it is a heroic achievement to have captured this multifaceted opera so well: the challenges must have been many.’ International Record Review

‘Ms Weir’s brash, impetuous, spiky music is at once unabashedly modern and continually entertaining. A terrific performance’ The New York Times

‘Weir weaves a fascinating music tale … [and the] performance, led ably by Martyn Brabbins, does true justice to this varied and evocative score’ Limelight Magazine Recording of the Month

‘Soprano Ailish Tynan leads a strong cast; the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins brings out every bit of the score’s potent atmosphere’ The Big Issue

‘Weir’s music capably conveys both urgent foreboding and pastoral calm’ Opera News


Thanks to the trusts and foundations that have supported this release as part of NMC’s Anniversary Opera Series:

The John S Cohen Foundation
The Finzi Trust
The Nicholas John Trust
The Monument Trust
The N Smith Charitable Settlement
Surrey Square Trust

and to the donors who contributed through NMC’s 25th anniversary Opera Appeal including:

Jonathan Goldstein
Paul Henderson
Martyn Leighton
Robert McFarland
John Summerscales
Moya & John Tomlinson

Produced in association with BBC Radio 3

This recording has been released with the support of Music Sales Ltd.


The Vanishing Bridegroom was recorded by the BBC on 19 January 2008 at the Barbican Concert Hall, London, and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 21 January 2008.

ANN McKAY Producer
SIMON HANCOCK Recording & Editing Engineer

COLIN MATTHEWS Executive Producer for NMC

FRANCOIS HALL Cover Image & Graphic design

The Vanishing Bridegroom is published by Chester Music

(P) 2014 BBC
© 2014 NMC Recordings Ltd

Chester Novello
Catalogue number:
NMC D196
Release Date:
21 July 2014