10 October – An Evening with Anthony Hewitt at Cafe Yukari. A special “by invitation only” concert at one of our favourite small venues
First Saturday of the month starting 3 0ctober: Mei-Ting presents Young Artist Showcase, featuring students from the Royal Academy of Music, with performances by Mei-Ting as well.
3 November Cocktails with Vivien at Live at Zedel Soho. A celebration of the life & career of Vivien Leigh with Elena Lorenzi (vocals), Stefano Marzanni (piano) and Graham Roos (writer/narrator). Performance followed by Q & A with special guest Trader Faulkner, veteran actor & friend to Vivien Leigh
8 November Cabaret Beyond Borders at Live at Zedel Soho with Elena Lorenzi (vocals), Stefano Marzanni (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator)
27 November Divine Fire at the OSO Barnes. The story of Fryderyk Chopin & George Sand in music and words with Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator)
All performances are of course subject to government guidelines regarding live performances. Please like this page, follow us on Twitter (@7StartArts) or join our mailing list to receive updates on all our events.
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“So much has been – and still is being – written about Vivien Leigh. I was lucky enough to know perhaps just a little of the magic and depth behind Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois. One of the 20th Century’s most beautiful and gifted actresses, Vivien was born over a century ago on 5 November, 1913.”
Trader Faulkner, veteran actor and great friend of 7 Star Arts, recalls being paid to kiss Lady Olivier (Vivien Leigh)
Our new show Cocktails With Vivien, with Elena Lorenzi, Stefano Marzanni and Graham Roos, is at Live at Zedel, Soho, on 3 November 2020. Post-concert Q&A with Trader Faulkner.
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We are delighted to have dates in the diary for autumn concerts and events at two of our favourite venues and featuring some of our most popular artists.
COCKTAILS WITH VIVIEN
Our brand new show Cocktails With Vivien is a celebration in music and words of the life and career of one of the greatest actresses of stage and screen, starring Elena Lorenzi (vocals) and Stefano Marzanni (piano), with narration by Graham Roos and a post-concert Q&A with veteran actor Trader Faulkner.
3 November at Crazy Coqs Live at Zedel
“a moving, magical portrait of one of our greatest actresses”
audience feedback from debut show
CABARET BEYOND BORDERS
This sell-out show returns this autumn at the perfect venue!
International duo Elena Lorenzi (vocals) and Stefano Marzanni (piano) take us on a journey into the fascinating world of European Cabaret, from Parisian bistros and decadent 1930’s Berlin to the clubs of Vienna and Moscow.
In this atmospheric and evocative show, Elena and Stefano bring to life songs by Kurt Weill, Mischa Spoliansky and Alexander Vertinsky, and those made famous by Edith Piaf and Fréhel – songs of lyrical romance and love to dark, biting satire, politics and existentialist reflections on the meaning of life. Narrated by actress Susan Porrett.
“Those smokey, stylish Parisian jazz clubs and edgy pre-war Berlin cabarets…..truly come to life again in Classic Cabaret”
“atmospheric, stirring and deeply moving”
audience members at debut show
8 November at Crazy Coqs Live at Zedel
CLASSIC GERSHWIN & ANTHONY HEWITT at Riverhouse Barn
We return to Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre this autumn, a charming small venue close to the river at Walton-on-Thames, to present our “terrific” Classic Gershwin, with Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator).
Acclaimed concert pianist Anthony Hewitt will go a solo concert entitled Music of the Night, featuring music by Bartok, Schumann, Debussy and Chopin.
We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you to our concerts.
For full details of all our forthcoming events, please join our mailing list and/or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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Meanwhile, the music plays on and pianist Mei-Ting, who has delighted and enthralled us with his performances ranging from Bach to Art Tatum, has launched his COVID19 Beethoven Sonatas project on YouTube – do visit his YouTube channel to enjoy his performances.
We look forward to welcoming you to our concerts in the not too distant future. Events will resume when venues advise us it is safe to do so.
The 7 Start Arts team
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A celebration of the life & career of Vivien Leigh in music & words
Wednesday 8 July at the OSO Arts Centre, Barnes
“a moving, magical portrait of one of our greatest actresses” (audience member at debut show)
Elena Lorenzi – vocals
Stefano Marzanni – piano
Graham Roos – narrator/writer
With special guest Trader Faulkner
Developed out of 7 Star Arts’ sell out production An Evening With Vivien Leigh, Cocktails With Vivien celebrates the life and career of stage and screen actress Vivien Leigh (Oscar-winning Gone With The Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire) in music and words.
With a narrative written and delivered by renowned playwright and performer Graham Roos, and music and songs performed by international cabaret duo Elena Lorenzi and Stefano Marzanni, this enchanting show, presented on the anniversary of her death on 8th July, is sure to delight fans of Vivien Leigh everywhere.
Plus free post-show discussion/Q&A (with projected images) with Vivien Leigh’s friend and fellow actor, Trader Faulkner.
Programme includes:I Know the Feeling (from Tovarich), Dance Little Lady (Noel Coward), Paper Moon (from A Streetcar Named Desire), Medley from Waterloo Bridge: Swan Lake theme, Auld Lang Syne, Farewell Waltz & I’ll Be Seeing You on Waterloo Bridge, Medley from film soundtracks, Someday I’ll Find You (from Private Lives, Noel Coward)
Join us for Cocktails With Vivien at 8pm on Wednesday 8 July at the OSO Arts Centre, Barnes
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Singer Elena Lorenzi conceived and performs in 7 Star Arts’ new show Cabaret Beyond Borders at Live at Zedel at Crazy Coqs Soho on Friday 31 January
Who or what inspired you to take up singing, and pursue a career in music?
It was life itself that showed me music as a path.
I’ve been singing since I was a child. I won my first competition at the age of three, but I started to approach and studying singing in a serious way after the death of my father, when I was 13 years old. After a few years of suffering, I began to study opera singing, and this was truly therapeutic for me. The use of the opera voice, with its power and the need for technique and control, gave me a way to process pain. Singing for me has always been a necessity, something very cathartic. Singing has always been a way to shape my energy, it has given meaning to my life. I love the fact that I am my instrument, my voice is my instrument.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I am an eclectic singer who loves many different musical genres and as a result I have been influenced by many singers, musicians and composers.
When I started singing opera, I was actually a little girl in love with symphonic metal, in particular a Finnish band, “Nightwish” and their singer Tarja Turunen. I was fascinated by the use of the opera voice and orchestral parts in such a strong genre. Growing up and falling in love with Opera, especially the composers Wagner and Puccini, I loved the angel voice of Renata Tebaldi, but my favourite opera singer is the Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Obratzova. In jazz I am a fan of Ella Fitzgerald, and in the music of my country, Italy, I owe a lot to the singer Mina.
As for the vintage repertoire and cabaret, in which I have specialized in recent years, the whole world of French music is essential for me, from Lèo Ferrè to Dalida, Juliette Greco, Edith Piaf….the list could be endless. The interpreter who today most reflects the path I have undertaken is undoubtedly the German actress and singer Ute Lemper, but I also love the great performers of the past like Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra. Honestly, there are so many other musicians and performers who have given me such a lot.
In general I love the energy that a singer transmits, the depth of the interpretation and the truth of what is told through music.
Furthermore, art is a source of inspiration for me (I am a fan of painting), nature and people too. Life itself is a constant source of inspiration for me, for better or for worse. I try to capture every little thing or great teaching and to tell it through my voice in the songs I sing.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Surely the life of the musician is full of challenges? The musician’s unstable lifestyle forces you to continually find new ways. But for me my singer’s life is such a wonderful journey that I adore new challenges and getting out of my comfort zone, even if it’s not always easy. The only difficulty, when I started to study singing, was to make my family understand that music for me is not just a passion, but that it would become my job. My family has always imagined another kind of path for me, more stable and safe, so for several years I did not have their support.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
I have a lot of concerts in my heart and it’s hard to choose. I remember with satisfaction the first time I played a program of French songs, in 2013, on the occasion of the festival “Le X Giornate”, in Brescia, my home city. From that moment I totally fell in love with this kind of music, I began to study the world of cabaret, French and German music, songs of the vintage world. That concert really changed my musical life. During the same festival, always with the pianist Stefano Marzanni, I performed the Rückert–Lieder (Songs after Rückert), a song cycle of five Lieder for voice and orchestra or piano by Gustav Mahler, based on poems written by Friedrich Ruckert. The concert, of which I have a beautiful memory and I am very proud of, was dedicated to the city of Vienna and its music and it was magical.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
As a classically-trained singer, I’m in love with opera, and I really love to sing it. Also because being a mezzo-soprano, I love the roles for this vocal register, for example Carmen. But I never felt part of the world of opera, I preferred to choose my path and create something of my own. I feel totally comfortable when I sing repertoire of old songs, as I said before. I can use various vocal registers, experiment with the voice using lyric, pop, jazz voice. I can create my own style. I love the music of the early 1900s; I think the lyrics are very deep, beautiful to interpret.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I always look for something new to study and interpret in a personal way. Surely the choice of the repertoire depends on the request, but for me it is really important to never stop and continue to create new shows.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
My favorite venue is definitely the Crazy Coqs in Brasserie Zedel, Soho, London. I love the atmosphere which links directly back to the vintage world of the Parisian bistros of the early decades of the 1900s. It’s perfect for cabaret shows, for French music and vintage repertoire. I have a funny memory of a very special venue for a concert of contemporary music in Holland in 2014, in the city of Den Haag. The venue was a beautiful ….. cemetery.
As a musician what is your definition of success?
Success for me is simply being able to do what I love, and to be able to express myself. Being able to experiment and see that the public appreciates it. For me, real success is knowing that I have given all of myself in the music I sing, in the best way possible.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I think that an aspiring musician should know first of all that the work of the musician is a wonderful job but it requires many sacrifices, much study and a lot of passion. We need a lot of determination to overcome the challenges and obstacles, a lot of patience, because the results do not come immediately. But I believe that humility is fundamental above all. We have to really focus on the goals, do not give up if the road is not easy. A little advice: be yourself.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I live for music so I can only imagine my future singing in theatres. I dream of taking my shows on tour in the most beautiful cities in the world. I love travelling, visiting new places and meeting new people.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
For me happiness is not lack of pain or suffering, but the ability to understand that there is a reason for everything. True happiness for me is something very profound, which goes beyond sensory experiences: it is a way of being. In this I am close to the Buddhist philosophy. I am a happy person, because I love life, I love my job, my family and my friends. I have learned to always see the positive side of everything and not to worry too much about the problems. I learned to be happy for any gift life gives me, even the smallest. It is not always easy to follow this path, but I am convinced that it is the best way to face life, which for me is something extraordinary. I “love to spread love”
What is your most treasured possession?
I could answer this question in several ways. For me the most precious thing is life itself, the experiences I do, so health is fundamental. Obviously as regards my person, my most precious asset is my voice, without that I can not work, but above all I can not express myself and elaborate the experiences. But I can also say that my greatest treasure is the people I love, family (including my four dogs) and friends. The moments spent with the people I love are something that enriches me, something that for me is very important and that I want to enjoy because unfortunately I learned as a young person that people can be taken away at any moment.
What is your present state of mind?
At this moment I am extremely grateful for the wonderful opportunities and the possibility that life is giving me. I am full of joy and I hope I can share it, in life and through music. Thank you so much for this interview.
Cabaret Beyond Borders is at Live at Zedel at Crazy Coqs Soho on Friday 31 January (tickets here)
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A taster of Classic Gershwin, 7 Star Arts’ most popular mixed genre production, starring Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator). Music by George Gershwin
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The Jazz Room in Barnes, SW London, affectionately known as “the suburban Ronnie’s Scotts” (and almost as longstanding as the eponymous Soho jazz club), resonated to a different vibe on Sunday evening when internationally-renowned pianist Anthony Hewitt – an artist more used to playing in hallowed gilded spaces such as the Wigmore or Carnegie Halls – gave a concert of classical music by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin – all performed on the Yamaha upright piano which resides in the Jazz Room. It’s a very good piano, but it ain’t a Steinway model D!
Yet such is Anthony’s skill and sensitively that he wrought myriad sounds and colours from the modest instrument – and somehow listening to Bach (Partita No. 1) in a venue normally reserved for jazz, one suddenly becomes hyper-aware of all the jazzy syncopations and offbeat rhythms inherent in Bach’s writing.
The piano music of Brahms, more usually heard on a modern concert grand, had a lightness which lent a greater poignancy and tenderness to his Op 119 piano pieces; while in Debussy’s Estampes multi-layered lines and textures were revealed.
The second half of the concert swung to the sounds of Ravel’s decadent and sensuous La Valse and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in blue, his vibrant and exhilarating evocation of the melting pot of America and the sounds of the big city. Anthony did a remarkable job in drawing so much colourful sound out of the Yamaha upright to achieve brilliant results.
For the audience, the small size of the Jazz Room means one gets up and close and personal with music and performer in a way which is never possible in a larger or more formal venue. Such closeness creates a very special sense of communication and shared experience between audience and performer, and throughout the concert there was a very palpable sense of people listening really intently – a great compliment to the music and the pianist. In addition, Anthony introduced the music engagingly and audience members were able to meet and chat to him after the performance. As one audience member remarked “the Jazz room is a real gem and now to start a classical series there is an added bonus”.
The concert was billed as “Iconoclassics”, paying homage to the Jazz Room’s iconic status as one of London’s leading jazz venues. More like this please!
7 Star Arts says: audiences can enjoy more classical music, fused with jazz, world and original compositions on 10 April when pianist and composer Helen Anahita Wilson makes her Jazz Room debut. Book tickets here
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Saxophonist and composer Duncan Eagles chats to The Cross-Eyed Pianist (AKA Frances Wilson) about his musical influences and inspirations, and more…..
I think there are many moments that define what kind of musician you are / will become. One of the earliest I remember was borrowing a John Coltrane double album from school. It was probably the first jazz CD I checked out. The first of the two CD’s I listened to was “My Favourite Things” which I didn’t really get and can’t say I enjoyed. I got a few minutes in and then swapped to the second CD which was “Blue Trane”. This blew my mind. I was intrigued how someone could play the instrument in the way Coltrane does on that record. The sound, technique, composition were all completely new to me. That started me on the road to wanting to be able to get serious about playing, improvising, composing etc and also started to open up the history of the music to me. From here I found Miles Davis then Wayne Shorter then Art Blakey etc etc its all linked.
Duncan Eagles and his quartet perform at The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head on Thursday 15 March. Book tickets
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