Sir Thomas Allen needs little introduction – an established star of great opera houses around the world with a huge repertoire including fifty roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden alone –
and he has now recorded something completely different for Champs Hill Records. His new album September Songs is a chance to explore music he grew up with, loved then and loves still- repertoire that’s not usually associated with him. This new recording is a celebration of the golden age of Broadway and Hollywood with its melodic beauty, lyrical inventiveness and emotional directness. He is joined on the disc by soprano Lucy Crowe.
He’s always hankered to ‘give it a go’ and to explore songs by the likes of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill. This period of music has so much allure and fascination for singers and musicians from all backgrounds, and he’s upfront about the criticisms that can so often be levelled against classical singers performing the Great American Songbook – that performers don’t give it the respect it deserves: “my feeling is that these songs are every bit the equal of the standard repertoire that we sing, and one must find the way of singing them… there’s an intimacy to so many of them that, in these simple versions for voice and piano, I know I have to try to capture.”
His duo partner at the piano is Stephen Higgins who says: “I think we’ve created a unique blend of the drama and intensity of the opera stage and the intimate atmosphere of the cabaret theatres of the Upper West Side, and we’re somewhere in the middle. We’re not pretending to be, or impersonating Fred Astaire, or Frank Sinatra, we’re just finding our own way into this material that energises and invigorates both of us.”