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Art Sung – Edith Sitwell, Behind her Façade

Art Sung – Edith Sitwell, Behind her Façade
20 November 2023 Barnes Music Festival
14th Mar 2024

Art Sung – Edith Sitwell, Behind her Façade

To mark the 60th anniversary of the death of the legendary Grande Dame of 20th century English poetry, Dame Edith Sitwell, Art Sung presents a celebration of her fascinating and eccentric life, incorporating songs, spoken words, specially created video animations, dance and the original Façade curtain, behind which the music was originally performed and hasn’t been seen in public for over thirty years. Her story is told in her own words, from her troubled childhood at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire (where she fell in love with a peacock) to a life of celebrity and notoriety in London, Paris and America.

We will explore her encounters with various celebrities including Noël Coward, with whom she was on non-speaking terms for 30 years after he parodied her in a West End revue, and Marilyn Monroe with whom she got on famously well to everyone’s surprise. She was a favourite subject for painters including Roger Fry and Wyndham Lewis, whose work inspires the visual elements of this celebration. Woven through the programme is the story of Façade, the extraordinary musical entertainment which Sitwell created together with the then unknown composer, William Walton, combining her exotic and colourful poetry with his jazz-inspired music.

The performers are acclaimed contralto and actress Lucy Stevens, tenor Michael Gibson, a Jette Parker Artist, and pianists, Elizabeth Mucha and Nigel Foster.

A special cocktail that was served at the first performance of Façade will be available during the interval.

Lucy Stevens, Contralto
Michael Gibson, Tenor
Elizabeth Mucha, Piano
Nigel Foster, Piano