Hilary Summers

Contralto

Hillary Summers

Her three-octave range has excited the attention of many composers. She has sung in numerous world premières including George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill at the Bastille, Paris; Elliot Carter’s What Next at the Staatsoper, Berlin; Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest in London and New York and Alice’s Adventures Under Groundwith the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in Los Angeles and with Britten Sinfonia in London; Peter Eotvos’ Le Balcon at the Aix Festival and Facing Goya and War Work by Michael Nyman.

Hilary worked closely with the iconic composer and conductor Pierre Boulez from 2004. With the Ensemble Intercontemporain, they recorded his masterwork Le marteau sans maître, for which she won a Grammy, and performed the piece worldwide. She also performed Le visage nuptial, Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Ligeti’s Aventures and Aventures nouvelles under his inspirational baton.

A regular soloist with leading European period instrument ensembles, she has a close rapport with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company with whom she has recorded Handel’s SemelePartenopeFlavioSerse, and Il trionfo del tempo. Other baroque highlights include Handel’s Orlando (Medoro in Robert Carson’s production with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants); Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Sorceress in Deborah Warner’s production with Les Arts Florissants) and Handel’s Admeto (Trasimede with Christophe Rousset and Les Talons Lyriques at the Sydney Opera House).

Hilary sings internationally on the concert platform in a variety of repertoire from Bach to Birtwistle and has given over one hundred performances of Handel’s Messiah. Other favourite concert works include Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Mahler’s Symphonies 2 and 3.

Operatic roles include Sorceress; Juno; Cornelia; Polinesso; Amadigi; Tisbe (La Cenerentola); Gaea (Daphne); Geneviève (Pelléas); Baba the Turk/Mother Goose; Hippolyta; Mrs Sedley; Bianca; Mescalina (Le Grand Macabre); Tiger Lily/Mrs Darling (Peter Pan); Miss Prism.

Film soundtracks include The Claim and The Libertine by Michael Nyman, The Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxySon of Rambo and the BBC TV series The League of Gentlemen by Joby Talbot.

Recent and future highlights include Mother Goose in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Netherlands OperaDiana Orsini in Ginastera’s Bomarzo at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare with Christian Curnyn and Early Opera Company, concerts with ORF Radiosymphoni Orhestra, The King’s Consort, La Serenissima and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. In the 18/19 season her she will make her debut appearance at Teatro alla Scala, Milan singing the role of ‘Nell’ in the world premiere of Kurtag’s Fin de Partie.