In this special programme recorded in front of a live audience, two of Britain's best-known and most popular poets, Simon Armitage and Tony Harrison, discuss their craft and careers. Tony Harrison is one of the leading poet-playwrights working in the English language today. Harrison grew up in working-class Leeds and, since exploding into public consciousness in 1987 when his controversial poem 'V' was televised, he has been well-known for his outspoken politics, with his poetry dealing with issues of class, race and power. Throughout his prolific career, he has written for the theatre, opera, film, television and print - but all of it in verse. Harrison has inspired a generation of younger writers to find their own voice - including fellow Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage, who like Harrison has established himself in other fields such as TV and translation, and whose northern roots and ear for the language of the street has given his work a young, urban appeal.
It is an oft-repeated saw, about life in the heavenly spheres, that the angels revere Bach but listen to Mozart. If they have DVD players, you can bet they're now watching this stunning production of Le Nozze di Figaro ("The Marriage of Figaro"), which comes about as close to Mozartian perfection as one could possibly hope to get. The faultlessly cast youthful performers bubble with infectious energy. Alison Hagley is a sprightly Susanna with a voice as clear as a bell, and brilliantly matched by a 28-year-old Bryn Terfel both acting and sounding in fine form. Hillevi Martinpelto demonstrates why she is one of the world's favourite Mozart singers with her melting tones, richly coloured voice and generous stage presence, and Rodney Gilfry gives a muscular, wonderfully controlled performance as the Count.
Alison Balsom is the world’s preeminent female classical trumpeter. She is an unique and independent artist who have broken through to the mainstream whilst retaining her integrity and core musical values. Exceptional talent, a glamorous stage presence and a witty and engaging personality make Alison one of the most exciting and bankable artists in the core classical world today.