NEW ARTIST: contralto Hilary Summers joins the Rayfield Allied roster for general management

16 September 2021

We're delighted to announce that Hilary Summers has joined the Rayfield Allied roster for general management.

Born in South Wales, Hilary Summers is one of the world’s few genuine contraltos and has made over forty CDs spanning works from the early baroque period to the present day. She has sung in most of the major concert halls and opera houses of the world.

“It’s almost invidious to pick out other names from either cast in what is such a brilliantly executed piece, but Hilary Summers is a formidable White Queen.” Andrew Clements, The Guardian (BARRY Alice's Adventures Underground, White Queen with Royal Opera House)

“Old Nagg (the tenor Leonardo Cortellazzi) and Nell (the contralto Hilary Summers), stuffed by Beckett into side-by-side ashcans, exist in a sphere of ethereal nostalgia and thread-thin high notes that Ms. Summers, in particular, spins with the eerie softness of elderly skin.” Zachary Woolfe, New York Times - Critic’s Pick (KURTAG Fin de Partie, Nell with Teatro alla Scala)

“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 (Stravinsky Oedipus Rex, Jocasta with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo at BBC Proms)

A specialist in contemporary repertoire, Hilary Summers' three-octave range has excited the attention of many composers. Operatic world premieres include the role of Stella in Carter’s What Next? for Berlin State Opera, Madame Irma in Peter Eötvös’s Le balcon at Aix-en-Provence Festival, Miss Prism in Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and White Queen, Dormouse and Cook in Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Underground. Most recently she created the role of Nell in Gyorgy Kurtag’s Fin de Partie at La Scala, Milan to great critical acclaim.

Hilary has worked with Boulez and the Ensemble Intercontemporain and recorded his masterwork Le marteau sans maître, for which she won a Grammy Award in 2006 - listen here.

A greatly respected interpreter of Baroque repertoire, Hilary has long been in demand for Handelian roles. With William Christie she performed and recorded the role of Medoro in Orlando; with il Complesso Barocco the role of Idelberto in Lotario, and with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company she has recorded Juno in Semele (listen here), Disinganno in Il Trionfo del tempo; Rosmira in Partenope, Teodata in Flavio and Amastre in Serse. On the concert platform she has given over one hundred performances of Handel’s Messiah. Other favourite concert works include Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Rossini’s Petite messe solonelle and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.

Michael Nyman has written many works for her voice including the opera Facing Goya and the song cycle War Work. She has sung on several film soundtracks including The Claim; The Libertine and the Diary of Anna Frank (Nyman), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Joby Talbot) and on The Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore) and on TV The League of Gentleman (Talbot).

Next Season she will sing Little Buttercup in English National Opera’s HMS Pinafore, Fin de Partie/Nell for Opera National de Paris and give concert performances of Cesare/Cornelia at the Palau in Barcelona, Dido and Aeneas/Sorceress for Early Opera Company as well as a recording of Amadigi/Dardano also with EOC under Christian Curnyn.

We are thrilled to welcome Hilary to the Rayfield Allied roster, where she will be managed by Nicki Wenham and Sophie Richardson.

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