Top mezzo-soprano Louise Winter joins the Primrose Piano Quartet for a musical exploration of the fascinating and turbulent love triangle between Brahms and the Schumanns. We caught up with her ahead of the concert on Sun 15 Oct.
You started out with Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 1982 – what is your musical background, how did you make your way to opera?
I started at the age of 11 in the Sound of Music for the local amateur dramatics in Llandudno North Wales where my parents ran a hotel, though I was born in Preston Lancashire. I then went to music school in Manchester (Chethams) and onto college at the Royal Northern College of Music.
What have you been working on recently?
My work started at Glyndebourne and funnily enough I am there now singing the role of Gertrude in their successful Opera (by Brett Dean) of Hamlet and we tour to Canterbury, Norwich, Plymouth and Milton Keynes. We open on the 21st October.
Is there anyone whom you particularly admire, or has had a particular influence on your career?
Singers who inspired me were Janet Baker and Christa Ludwig and the amazing Fischer Diskau for his use of German text in lider singing.
What have been a few of your career highlights to date?
My main interest and love has been theatre and stage works. Highlights have been singing ‘The Lady’ in Macbeth (Bloch) and Brangeane (Tristan and Isolde at Frankfurt Opera), Xerxes was a joy at ENO as well as Carmen and Rosina, and at Glyndebourne, Katya Kavanova (Janacek), Olga(Onegin), Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Edwige in Handel’s Rodelinda and more recently Marcellina at ROH. For me it’s the whole theatrical experience that is inspiring and carries me through!
Can you tell us about your relationship with the Primrose Piano Quartet – you’ve performed together before?
Working with the Primrose quartet has just begun and is a delight – last month I sang with them at their festival in Hampshire St Meons West which was great fun and here in Battle at home is a real treat. It’s so interesting putting words and songs to intermingle with the string chamber music. An eye-opener for all us performers to share ideas and musical thoughts and sound worlds.