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St Endellion Summer Festival 2015

One of my abiding memories of the 2015 Summer Music Festival is the scene backstage after the final performance of Boris Godunov.  The ‘dressing room’ contained the entire cast of Boris -  John Tomlinson, Rachel Nichols, Martyn Brabbins, Brindley Sherratt etc - 15 or so singers who between them have sung in most of the worlds' opera houses - crammed into the old study of an abandoned rectory - and I have never seen a happier bunch of singers in my life.  Everyone there for the love of music and community and enjoying the incredible buzz of having put on two amazing performances of Boris in a church in North Cornwall from scratch in a week.

St Endellion is a special place, I don’t tire of saying it, but there is nowhere else in the world where you could assemble such a wonderful group of musicians and singers for such an ambitious programme - and not pay them a single penny!  If you suggested the idea of starting a festival like St Endellion everyone would think you were completely crazy - it just isn’t possible - and yet we seem to achieve this impossible thing year after year.  I know that it is not achieved without incredible hard work  and enormous generosity - but somehow generosity breeds generosity and the gift that we receive in return sustains and inspires us throughout the year.

There were many, many highlights in 2015 - Boris Godunov, of course - an experience none of us will ever forget, The Creation with Matthew Brook's unbeatable portrayal of the beasts of the field, the return of Fisherman’s Friends together with the festival brass section and Lewis Edney and Jon Cleave vying for best introduction, a beautiful lunchtime concert in St Kew and an exceptional standard of chamber music all round.  One performance, in particular, sums up for me the spirit of St Endellion and that was Becky McChrystal, Emily Eno and Keith Price in an extraordinary performance of Nebojsa Živkovic’s Trio per Uno, played with total commitment and passion in memory of their friend and colleague, Pete Handley.  It was thrilling music-making that touched people to the core - both cathartic and inspirational.

We are already well under way with planning 2016 - Ryan Wigglesworth will return to conduct Britten’s wonderful opera, Gloriana with one of Britain’s favourite singers, Susan Bullock in the title role. Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Elgar’s Enigma Variations will both feature along with much, much more. I look forward to seeing you all then.

Mark Padmore

Artistic Director

58th Summer Festival - Tuesday 26th July to Friday 5th  August 2016