• Special Projects
  • Cole Porter | Magdalena Kožená

    In an extraordinary diversion from her usual repertoire, Magdalena Kožená collaborates with one of Europe’s top swing jazz bands: Ondřej Havelka and his Melody Makers. Together they explore the songbook of Cole Porter, taking the audience on a nostalgic journey of romance through authentic hot swing numbers and big band tunes from the 1930s and ’40s.

    The Melody Makers bring a real show to the stage, featuring virtuosic jazz soloists and the charismatic Ondřej Havelka, a real swing jazz era entertainer. This fantastic partnership sees Magdalena indulge her sultry, witty side in a deliciously entertaining homage to one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century.

    Following the first residencies of Magdalena Kožená & Ondřej Havelka and his Melody Makers in Germany and London in the 2015/2016 season, Askonas Holt is very excited to be working on some future plans for this unique project.



  • Special Projects
  • Curlew River

    In Autumn 2014, Askonas Holt took the Barbican’s Britten Centenary production of Curlew River on tour to the United States. Britten’s Church Parable Curlew River is a “once heard, never forgotten” work, exploring the themes of community, suffering and redemption through the unforgettable figure of the Madwoman and the loss of her child.

    The production is by multimedia director and video artist Netia Jones, and the premiere featured an outstanding British cast led by Ian Bostridge as the Madwoman, alongside Neal Davies and Mark Stone with Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices.

    In 2017, we reunited with Ian Bostridge and the Britten Sinfonia to bring a concert performance of the work to Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie, as part of their Lux aeterna Festival.

  • Special Projects
  • El amor: entre el cielo y el infierno | Magdalena Kožená

    Askonas Holt is thrilled to present a new collaborative performance piece from Magdalena Kožená – Amor: entre el cielo y el infierno.

    Inspired by her studies of the flamenco style and culture whilst preparing for the role of Carmen, in this project Magdalena entwines the roots of raw flamenco with the music of the Spanish Baroque era. She is joined by two ensembles: Private Musicke will perform the ‘heavenly’ sounds of serene Spanish Baroque, which lends itself to the roots of the flamenco tradition in its story-telling nature and echoes of the flamenco dance forms; in contrast the frenzied fire of acclaimed dancer, Antonio El Pipa, Compañía de Flamenco will ignite the stage with the passion of flamenco dance and song.

    In Autumn 2017, Magdalena and the ensembles embarked on a three-week tour of Europe, including concerts at the prestigious Elbphilharmonie Hamburg as well as at the heart of flamenco itself, in Madrid and Barcelona.

  • Special Projects
  • In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music

    “Perhaps my most personal project to date” is how American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato describes In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. Her ambitions for this collection of arias from Baroque operas are substantial. Working with breakout early music sensation il pomo d’oro – a group of musicians who are among the best to be found worldwide for authentic and vivid interpretation on period instruments – Joyce’s aim is to steer conversation and discourse to help all of us find peace in our lives in a dynamic way.

    The programme comprises arias divided into two sections: ‘War’ and ‘Peace’. Both contain music by Purcell and Handel – including Dido’s dignified, but searing lament from Dido and Aeneas and Almirena’s haunting and heartbreaking ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ from Rinaldo.

    Askonas Holt it delighted to be working with Joyce DiDonato, il pomo d’oro and their exciting young chief conductor, Maxim Emelyanychev, to bring this exploration of conflict and resolve to cities in Europe and North America.

  • Special Projects
  • Joyce DiDonato Songplay

    On 1 February 2019 Joyce DiDonato releases her latest album: Songplay. Together with Craig Terry (piano), Chuck Israels (double bass), Jimmy Madison (drums), Lautaro Greco (bandoneon) and Charlie Porter (trumpet), Songplay fuses music from jazz with that from the baroque era, with Joyce and her band creating their own distinct sound-world.
    Introducing her latest musical adventure last summer, Joyce said, “I had one of the most exhilarating musical weeks of my life recording the album Songplay with a world-class band. Trust me: you’re going to remember each one of these guys!”
    She continues: “It’s joyful, it’s exuberant, it celebrates great music, and it shines a spotlight on the timeless nature of a great song. I hope you’ll want to hear this album over and over, and will grow to appreciate the value of playing with a song!”

  • Special Projects
  • The Dark Mirror: Zender’s Winterreise

    Askonas Holt is delighted to be managing the international touring of The Dark Mirror: Zender’s Winterreise.

    Directed by Netia Jones and featuring tenor Ian Bostridge, the theatrical production integrates film, projections and traditional design with Hans Zender’s orchestration of Schubert’s song cycle. Following recent performances at the National Taichung Theater (November 2016) and Perth International Arts Festival in Western Australia (February 2017), future tour plans include venues in North America and Asia.

    The Dark Mirror: Zender’s Winterreise premiered at the Barbican in May 2016 and was co-produced by the Barbican, CalPerformances at the University of California, the Britten Sinfonia, and National Taichung Theater.

  • Choral & Opera
  • Special Projects
  • Xiaoshuijing Farmers’ Chorus

  • Choral & Opera
  • Special Projects
  • Xiaoshuijing Farmers’ Chorus

    As part of the 2018 Chinese New Year celebrations, Askonas Holt is delighted to collaborate with the Xiaoshuijing Farmers’ Chorus. Established in 2002 in the mountains of Southern China, Xiaoshuijing Farmers’ Chorus, led by choirmaster Guangyuan Long, comprises 50 farmers of the Miao ethnic minority. No member has ever received any professional vocal training, instead absorbing the Western Baroque and bel canto singing traditions introduced by Christian missionaries in the 1930s by word of mouth over the course of generations.

    Based at the Xiaoshuijing village church, the choir has toured throughout China and has collaborated with international ensembles, including the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Since its inception, the choir, which performs in ethnic dress indigenous to this part of the Yunnan Province, has received widespread recognition across China. In addition to receiving various awards, the choir has appeared at UNESCO’s Humanity Photo Awards 2011, the Opening Ceremony of the second Nie Er Music and Chorus Week in Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Beijing Television Spring Festival Gala, the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, the Jianshui Charity Concert, and made two appearances on the popular television show Mamma Mia on Shanghai Dragon TV.

    In 2018 the choir will perform internationally for the first time as part of major Chinese New Year celebrations, including concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center and the Royal Festival Hall in London.