All events take place at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians, 3 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3BL on Sunday evenings 7.30-9.30pm unless otherwise specified.

Directions to ESM


Sunday April 23rd 2017 7.00pm*

MALCOLM RIVERS, LEE BISSET, DONALD THOMSON: Götterdammerung Masterclass Workshop

Part 1 will consist of a Masterclass conducted by Malcolm Rivers with Donald Thomson in the role of Hagen. It will cover Hagen's Watch: Hier sitz' ich zur wacht which opens Act I Scene 2 of Götterdämmerung
 Part 2 will be performance of the Immolation Scene with Lee Bisset as Brünnhilde.  

Malcolm Rivers (Masterclasses Coach)

After completing a scholarship at the Royal College of Music Malcolm worked with Benjamin Britten in his English Opera group before joining English National Opera. His career has also included extended spells with the D'Oyly Carte Company and in West End musicals. Malcolm has performed the role of Alberich more than 200 times with conductors such as Sir Reginald Goodall, Charles Mackerras, Bernard Haitink and Anthony Negus. He devotes much of his time to coaching artists through the Mastersingers Company which he established in 1998 to encourage talented young singers to develop their craft in the Wagnerian repertoire. Mastersingers provides access to distinguished performers and coaches who are able to share a huge resource of knowledge and of experience.

Lee Bisset (Brünnhilde)

Born and brought up on the banks of Loch Lomond, Lee studied first at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire then at the Royal Northern College of Music and subsequently at the National Opera Studio. She has sung the roles of Mimi (La Boheme) and Tosca for English National Opera, Leonore (Fidelio) for Dorset Opera, and the title roles of Kata Katanova and Jenufa for Scottish opera. Her Wagnerian repertoire includes the roles of Sieglinde (Die Walküre) and Isolde at Longborough, Brünnhilde (Die Walküre) for the Wagner Society, Sieglinde at Teatro Municipo in Sao Paolo, Senta for Opera de Bellas Artes, Mexico City as well as covering Senta (Die fliegende Holländer) for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Lee performed the roles of Sieglinde and Third Norn (Götterdämmerung) in the 2016 Opera North Ring.

Donald Thomson (Hagen)

Donald started his musical education as a chorister at St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh. He began his studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. Since then Donald has sung across Europe in roles such as Peter Hansel and Gretel with Escales Lyriques, Balaga Guerre et Paix with RSAMD / Rostov State Opera Orchestra (Russia), The Parson Cunning Little Vixen with RSAMD / Scottish Opera, Serviteur Thais at the Edinburgh International Festival with the RSNO, Commendatore Don Giovanni with Westminster Opera, Hunding in Secret Opera’s Die Walküre and Landgraf in Tannhäuser at Longborough Festival Opera. Donald is the 2016 Winner of the Carole Rees Award for Advanced Musical Studies in Wagnerian Repertoire.


Members £7 / Non-Members £15

Sunday May 21st 2017 7.30pm

DEREK BLYTH: The Orchestration of Tristan und Isolde

Compared to Der Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal and, even, Die Meistersinger, the orchestral forces required for Tristan und Isolde are quite conventional by Wagner’s standards.  What he does with this orchestra, though, is far from conventional and so, in this talk, we will be examining key points in the score, paying particular attention to orchestral textures and effects but also relating them to the voice(s) they support and enhance.  Technical terms will explained and a sheet of relevant leitmotivs will be supplied but, if you have a score, please bring it with you to follow. 

Derek Blyth was born in Edinburgh where he studied with Fiona Cunning, Morag Maclachlan, Scott Wilkinson and Derek Watson, whence the passion for Wagner. After taking B.Mus in Aberdeen, he moved to Durham and then to Cheshire, where he taught music for many years. He lectures to the Manchester Wagner Society of which he is vice president and also the Manchester Lit. and Phil. He conducts musicals and operettas and travels round Europe to see opera.

Members £7 / Non-Members £15

Sunday June 25th 2017 7.30pm

CATHERINE LECLERC: Wagner's Place among the Romantic Lieder Composers

Famous in particular for his incredible operatic scores, Wagner is often overlooked as a great pioneer in Lieder writing.  Catherine will explore phrase lengths, harmony, prolonged cadences and much more through song and explanation. We will discover the great contribution he made to this genre along with his German Romantic Lieder contemporaries. 

Catherine is a former pupil of Douglas Academy Music School, Glasgow and completed her voice studies under Caroline Crawshaw at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. She has enjoyed an international professional singing career ranging from the great National Opera Houses of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, to the underworld vibe of Glastonbury all the way through to the bohemian streets of The Edinburgh Fringe, with companies including Carl Rosa Opera, Grange Park Opera and Garsington Opera. Favourite roles she has played include Druisilla in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Adel in Die Fledermaus and Norina in Don Pasquale. Oratorio credits include Soprano Solos in Mozart’s Requiem and C Minor Mass, Gounod’s Messe Solenelle and Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

Musical Theatre credits include Bessie Smith in South Pacific directed by Craig Revell Horewood and Laurie in Oklahoma. She has performed in a series of Public Masterclasses with Cleo Laine and is a regular solo cabaret performer with the Opera Burlesque and in her own musical variety show “Cat’s got the Cream”. Catherine is a veteran of the “Thursford Christmas Spectacular” – the biggest variety show in Europe. 

Catherine now lives in Brussels and continues to perform regularly in recital, oratorio and cabaret both in Belgium and Britain.


Members £7 / Non-Members £15


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