Friday 16 July 2021 7:30PM

Cancelled: Gounod and Georgina

a narrated song recital devised by Henrietta Bredin


Cancelled Concert
We are very sorry that owing to illness, tonight’s concert is cancelled. Apologies to all ticket holders for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your ongoing patience in these uncertain times.


  • Harriet Burns soprano
  • John Mark Ainsley tenor
  • Malcolm Martineau piano
  • Petroc Trelawny narrator

At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Charles Gounod fell prey to despair about the fate of France and the impossibility of pursuing his musical career in such oppressive circumstances, ‘beneath an enemy flag’. Gathering his family together – wife, two children and mother-in-law – he crossed the Channel to find refuge in London, where he was already well-known, for his opera Faust and as a composer of religious music. Gounod was rapidly adopted as a prize asset at society gatherings, accompanying himself on the piano as he sang songs and arias from his operas. One February evening in 1871 he spotted a new and pretty female face amid the throng of admirers; this was Georgina Weldon, a singer and champion of her own methods of vocal teaching, with whom Gounod struck up an immediate and intense friendship. Tonight’s programme is a narrated recital devised by Henrietta Bredin which explores this unusual time and fascinating relationship in the composer’s life.


Sources consulted in the devising of this recital include: Gounod by Camille Bellaigue, 1919; Storm Bird: The Strange Life of Georgina Weldon by Edward Grierson, 1959; Gounod: autobiographical reminiscences with family letters and notes on music, reprinted 1970; Gounod by James Harding, 1973; How I Escaped the Mad Doctors by Georgina Weldon; A Monkey Among Crocodiles: The Life, Loves and Lawsuits of Mrs Georgina Weldon by Brian Thompson, 2000

  • Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
      • Ave Maria, after Bach's Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
      • Venise
      • Chanson de printemps
      • Maid of Athens
      • Le temps des roses
      • If thou art sleeping
      • Au rossignol
      • Ilala
      • Le soir
      • Sérénade

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