Saturday 18 September 2021 1:00PM

An Italian Songbook

Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch in a new English translation created and directed by Jeremy Sams and Christopher Glynn


Download the PDF programme here. Reproduction and distribution is strictly prohibited.


  • Roderick Williams baritone
  • Rowan Pierce soprano
  • Kathryn Rudge mezzo-soprano
  • James Way tenor
  • Robert Murray tenor
  • Christopher Glynn piano
  • Jeremy Sams director
  • Louise Shephard director

For his final masterpiece, Hugo Wolf looked south - to Italy - and produced a collection of tiny jewel-like songs that paint a kaleidoscopic portrait of village life.

The men and women of his Italian Songbook fall in and out of love, with squabbles and petty jealousies heard alongside serenades and love songs of great beauty. Darker undercurrents also occasionally emerge in a songbook that Wolf filled with humour and charm, sarcasm and tenderness, delight and despair.

Like Mozart, Wolf creates characters that are astonishingly precise, vivid and detailed, but also somehow universal. Taking inspiration from the world of Così fan tutte, this vibrant village community is recreated by four singers – friends and rivals in love and life – presided over by someone who has 'seen it all' but maybe has still much to learn...

Little things, though, mean a lot. And Wolf’s tiny scenes from village life paint a bigger picture - a whole world of human frailty, passion and pain.

  • Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)
      • Italienisches Liederbuch

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