Felicity Lott

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Felicity Lott

Felicity Ann Emwhyla Lott

(1947-05-08) 8 May 1947 (age 72)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Occupation soprano
Spouse(s) Gabriel Woolf
ChildrenEmily (b. 1984)

Dame Felicity Ann Emwhyla Lott, DBE , FRAM , FRCM [1] [2] (born 8 May 1947 [3] ) is an English soprano.

A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.



Lott was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. From her earliest years she was musical, having started studying piano at age 5. She also played violin and began singing lessons at 12. She is an alumna of Royal Holloway, University of London, obtaining a BA in French and Latin in 1969. [4] During her year in France as part of her four-year degree course, from 1967–68 she took singing lessons at the conservatory in Grenoble. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, winning the Principal's Prize.

Cheltenham Place in England

Cheltenham is a regency spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716 and has a number of internationally renowned and historic schools.

Royal Holloway, University of London British university college

Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), formally incorporated as Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, is a public research university and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It has three faculties, 20 academic departments and c. 9,200 undergraduate and postgraduate students from over 100 countries. The campus is located west of Egham, Surrey, 19 miles (31 km) from central London.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.


She made her debut in 1975 as Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the English National Opera. [4] In 1976 she appeared in the premiere of Henze's We Come to the River at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden [1] and began a long relationship with the Glyndebourne Festival.

English National Opera opera company based in London

English National Opera (ENO) is an opera company based in London, resident at the London Coliseum in St Martin's Lane. It is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. ENO's productions are sung in English.

Hans Werner Henze 1926-2012 German composer

Hans Werner Henze was a German composer. His large oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition. In particular, his stage works reflect "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".

Covent Garden district in London, England

Covent Garden is a district in Greater London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between Charing Cross Road and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

She has been associated with the works of Richard Strauss including various lieder, the Four Last Songs and the roles of the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and the Countess in Capriccio . She has also appeared in operettas, singing the title role in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow at Glyndebourne, as well as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and the title roles in Offenbach's La belle Hélène and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein .[ citation needed ]

Richard Strauss German composer

Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben, Symphonia Domestica, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire.

The Four Last Songs, Op. posth., for soprano and orchestra are – with the exception of the song "Malven" (Mallows), composed later the same year – the final completed works of Richard Strauss. They were composed in 1948 when the composer was 84.

<i>Der Rosenkavalier</i> opera by Richard Strauss

Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière's comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. It was first performed at the Königliches Opernhaus in Dresden on 26 January 1911 under the direction of Max Reinhardt, Ernst von Schuch conducting. Until the premiere the working title was Ochs auf Lerchenau.

She has a special love for French "mélodies", German "Lieder" and the English song repertoire, particularly the songs of Benjamin Britten. She is a founding member of Songmakers' Almanac. Her accompanist since her student days has been Graham Johnson, and they have given a great number of recitals together. [5] She also has performed duet recitals with mezzo-soprano Ann Murray, baritone Thomas Allen and Austrian mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager. She is also featured as a soloist in a recording of the Mozart Requiem in D Minor with the London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra.

Lied musical form

The lied is a term in the German vernacular to describe setting poetry to classical music to create a piece of polyphonic music. The term is used for songs from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth centuries or even to refer to Minnesang from as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. It later came especially to refer to settings of Romantic poetry during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and into the early twentieth century. Examples include settings by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf or Richard Strauss. Among English speakers, however, "lied" is often used interchangeably with "art song" to encompass works that the tradition has inspired in other languages. The poems that have been made into lieder often center on pastoral themes or themes of romantic love.

Benjamin Britten English composer, conductor, and pianist

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

Graham Johnson OBE is a British classical pianist and Lieder accompanist.

Lott is a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. [6] She is a Trustee of Wigmore Hall, London and now a frequent juror on international singing competitions.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians, a subject association for music education and is an independent non profit-making organisation.

Honours and awards

Felicity Lott has received many honorary doctorates, including the Universities of Oxford, London, Leicester, Sussex, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow and the Sorbonne in Paris. [7] She has been elected to the French Legion of Honor and made a DBE in 1996. She sang at the wedding of HRH Prince Andrew in 1986. In 2003 Dame Felicity was awarded the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin. She is Vice-President of British Youth Opera and The Bach Choir. [8]

In autumn 2009 it was announced that she had been appointed a Visiting Professor by Royal Holloway [9] having previously been appointed an Honorary Fellow of the college. [10]

On 9 February 2010, she was presented with The Wigmore Hall Medal by HRH The Duke of Kent KG, at the launch of the hall's 110th anniversary programme. The medal was introduced in 2006 and is awarded to internationally important artistic figures in recognition of their significant contribution to Wigmore Hall. The two previous recipients are Matthias Goerne and András Schiff. The citation praised her "unique contribution to Wigmore Hall and to the advancement of the song recital as a concert-going experience throughout the world." It was 35 years since she first performed there in 1975. [11]

She is a Patron of Bampton Classical Opera and the British Voice Association. [12]


She is married to the actor Gabriel Woolf; they have a daughter, Emily (b. 1984).

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  1. 1 2 Royal Academy of Music website, accessed 20 January 2013
  2. Paul Need Kate Flowers. "Dame Felicity Lott". Co-opera-co.org. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  3. "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2014. Dame Felicity Lott, soprano, 66
  4. 1 2 Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL). "Dame Felicity Lott". RHUL. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  5. See for example the image of the programme of her first recital at Wigmore Hall on this page
  6. http://www.ism.org
  7. Biography on her agents website, accessed 12 April 2014
  8. The Bach Choir website, accessed 11 September 2012
  9. Royal Holloway, London (November 2009). "Higher" (Alumni Magazine). Egham, Surrey: Royal Holloway College Alumni Association.
  10. "Honorary Fellows and Graduates". Royal Holloway, University of London. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  11. "News | Wigmore Hall: Classical Chamber Music & Song Concerts ::". Wigmore Hall. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  12. David Siddall Multimedia on behalf of The British Voice Association – v4 June 2009. "The Voice for Voice". British Voice Association. Retrieved 3 November 2011.