...is an a cappella vocal group set up to explore the wealth of music from medieval times to the present day written specifically for female voices. No props, microphones or gimmicks, just five stunning voices form Papagena. The singers are all classically trained and include amongst their number a conductor, saxophonist, composer, opera and oratorio soloists.
But the group’s programming defies pigeonholing; Papagena juxtaposes classical repertoire with traditional folk, medieval and contemporary music to create programmes that can span nine centuries, from 12th century abbess Hildegard of Bingen to Joni Mitchell, from Byzantine hymns to lilting Celtic ballads to Norwegian lullabies, from Purcell to Katy Perry. Papagena writes and arranges some of its own material and also commissions new arrangements and pieces from an eclectic range of composers, including recent offerings from Jim Clements, John Duggan and Errollyn Wallen.
The group has toured the UK extensively, giving performances at numerous Music Festivals and events. Papagena has released two recordings, the latest of which, The Darkest Midnight is on the SOMM Recordings label. Their follow up album Hush! is due to be released in Spring 2020.
Recent news and coming up…
Following a successful Crowdfunding campaign, Papagena are excited to announce that they have commissioned composer John Duggan to write a setting of Stabat Mater Speciosa for them. A corresponding text to the well-known, much-loved Stabat Mater Dolorosa, which describes and empathises with Mary’s feelings as she stands at the foot of the cross, the Stabat Mater Speciosa expresses her hopes and fears as she stands by the manger after the birth of her child.
Concerts coming up include an exciting collaboration in December with The Orchestra of the Swan at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Stratford Arts House, Upon a Midnight Clear, The Darkest Midnight in Gloucester, Malvern and Hertfordshire and a tour in 2020 celebrating the release of their next album Hush! See the Concerts page for details of all Papagena’s upcoming performances.
Papagena were thrilled to perform to a sold out St Mary DeCrypt in Gloucester for The Three Choirs Festival in August 2019. Here is a review of the concert. The supremely talented arranger/composer Jim Clements has written a lot of music for the group and they relished the opportunity to perform some of this to him at Walthamstow Hall, in September. Other “Nuns and Roses II” engagements in 2019 were to full venues in Ludlow, Oxford, Fleet, Birmingham and Bolton.
Papagena’s much anticipated second album The Darkest Midnight was released in November 2018 on the SOMM Recordings label and it was immediately declared musicwebinternational’s recording of the month. Read the full review here: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Nov/Darkest_midnight_SOMMCD0189.htm The Darkest Midnight is a sublime collection of songs for Winter, comprising the group’s usual eclectic mix of music, sacred and secular, from the Middle Ages through to the modern era. Preview tracks can be heard here. Papagena toured The Darkest Midnight programme in late November and early December 2018, wtih performances in the South West, the Midlands and London. They also sang and chatted live on BBC Radio 3 “In Tune” and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.
In March 2018, Papagena was delighted to be shortlisted from 450 applicants to one of just 7 acts performing in a live concert on BBC Radio 3, celebrating International Women's Day.
Following a successful summer tour of Cheshire, The Midlands and Dorset, Papagena returned to the Edinburgh Fringe 2018, where yet again, their "Nuns and Roses II" was hailed a highly recommended show (read the review here).
Please see the Concerts page for more information.