Dame Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano

The mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly has sung at the most prestigious venues around the world, including the Royal Opera House, London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as Glyndebourne, Vienna and Bayreuth. In 2009 she was a soloist at the Last Night of the BBC Proms, singing Rule Britannia dressed as Admiral Nelson, and she has also made a name for herself taking on male or so-called “trouser roles” in opera, including Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar).

As a child, she was an outstanding pianist with a passion for classical music and jazz. After studying piano and voice at the Royal College of Music, she decided to become a singer. She was a member of the BBC Singers for five years, before taking the leap and seeking work as a soloist.

She took a break from public performance in 2019 to have treatment for breast cancer, but has now resumed her career.

She was made a DBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours and last year she became an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, recognising her outstanding services to music.

DISC ONE: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
DISC TWO: Handel: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed il Moderato, Part III: As steals the morn. Performed by Mark Padmore (tenor), Lucy Crowe (soprano) and The English Concert, conducted by Andrew Manze
DISC THREE: Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
DISC FOUR: Blue In Green by Miles Davis
DISC FIVE: Embroidery in Childhood (Act III, scene 1) Composed and conducted by Benjamin Britten. Performed by Claire Watson (soprano) and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
DISC SIX: Schubert Winterreise : Das Wirtshaus, performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) and Gerald Moore (piano)
DISC SEVEN: Wagner - Der Ring : Keilberth, Bayreuth live, 1955. Act 3 Die Walküre, Denn einer nur freie die Braut. Performed by Hans Hotter (bass-baritone) and Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
DISC EIGHT: Symphony Number 3 in D minor Mahler 3 : Mov’t 6, Ruhevoll- Empfunden (what love tells me) Performed by Vienna Philharmonic and conducted by Claudio Abaddo

BOOK CHOICE: The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter
LUXURY ITEM: A grand piano with a tuning kit
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wagner - Der Ring : Keilberth, Bayreuth live, 1955. Act 3 Die Walküre, Denn einer nur freie die Braut. Performed by Hans Hotter (bass-baritone) and Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

Presenter Lauren Laverne
Producer Sarah Taylor