Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers) directed by Gavin Carr


Saturday 3rd August – Sunday 11th August 2024



Sarah Pring, Victoria Simmonds, Daniel Norman, Andrew Rees, James Platt, Kelvin Lim, Lada Valešová


Dartington Estate, Totnes, South Devon


£580 course only (10% Members discount applies) | Residential packages from £1,330

For the full residential price list, please see our FAQs page >

About this event

This year marks a different format for Dartington’s famous Music Summer School. ChoralFest 2024, led by course director Gavin Carr, known for his work with the Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony and Bath-Minerva Choirs, amongst others, will focus on Rachmaninov’s sublime 1915 All-Night Vigil (Vespers), culminating in a public performance on Saturday evening.

Conductor Carr will be joined by celebrated international tutors and pianists including mezzo-sopranos Sarah Pring (Professor at Guildhall, coach on Sky Arts/ENO’s Anyone Can Sing) and Victoria Simmonds (Holland Park Opera); tenors Daniel Norman (ENO) and Andrew Rees (London Concert Choir, Grange Park Opera); and bass James Platt (Royal Opera, Welsh National Opera). The teaching team will give late-night recitals throughout the course.

In addition to the full week’s rehearsals for this major work, participants will be able to take part in lessons to improve sight-reading, smaller consort singing groups, solo masterclasses and one-to-one voice lessons, as well as morning yoga and mindfulness classes to sustain them through a packed week of music making. Thursday evening will give students a chance to let their hair down and perform their party pieces in an informal Cabaret.


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Gavin Carr

Recognised as one of the UK’s leading conductors, Gavin Carr specialises in working with major symphony choruses and orchestras to bring the best of the great British choral tradition to music old and new. He conducts the major choral-orchestral repertoire and is at the forefront of promoting new works, with many notable premieres under his belt. Conductor of the celebrated Philharmonia Chorus, the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and of Bath Minerva Choir, and Founder-Director of Chorus Angelorum, he has led these ensembles to international acclaim with a number of world-premiere recordings, regular International tours, and a host of innovative programmes. 

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Sarah Pring

Sarah Pring is a character mezzo-soprano, vocal coach and mentor on Sky Arts ‘Anyone Can Sing’ in partnership with English National Opera. Sarah has been a Professor of singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for the last ten years and has a busy private studio which often attracts stars of stage and screen.  She also enjoys professorship at Trinity Laban College, having taught both in the Music theatre department and latterly the Classical Music courses. She is often called upon to preside on assessment panels and in masterclasses for conservatoires across the world.   

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Victoria Simmonds

Victoria Simmonds studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and became a company principal at English National Opera from 2000 to 2005.  Recent and future operatic commitments include Fox / The Cunning Little Vixen and Meg Page / Falstaff for Garsington Opera, Through His Teeth, a new commission by Luke Bedford for Royal Opera House, Mad Hatter and Alice’s Mother/ Alice in Wonderland, Minsk Woman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Angelina/Cenerentola, Donna Elvira / Don Giovanni,  Marcellina / Le nozze di Figaro,  Mother / Little Women and Watkins in the new opera Itch for Opera Holland Park. 

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Daniel Norman

Acclaimed “multi-talented tenor” Daniel Norman (Financial Times) has been praised for his ability to inhabit complex characters and for his powerful and expressive vocal performances. He has built an impressive operatic career both in the UK and internationally, working with companies including English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, Longborough Festival Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, L’Opéra National de Paris.  

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Andrew Rees

Andrew Rees gained a scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and completed his studies on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. He was a Jerwood Young Artist at English National Opera and later became a principal tenor at the company.  Current engagements include Vladimir Igoryevich in Prince Igor for Chelsea Opera Group, Laca in Jenufa for Grange Park Opera, Melot in Tristan und Isolde at the Dutch National Opera and the Rome Opera, and Jimmy Mahoney in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. 

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James Platt

British bass James Platt was educated at Chetham’s School of Music and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music and the Opera Course of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Engagements in James’ 2023/24 season include Verdi’s Requiem with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/David Hill, Shostakovich’s Symphony No.13 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Ryan Bancroft, Mozart’s Requiem with the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera/Tomáš Hanus and Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with the Philharmonia Orchestra/Daniel Hyde and Die Jahreszeiten with the Tapiola Sinfonietta/Matthew Halls. On the opera stage he sings Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni) in his debut for the Opéra de Lille and Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte) in a return to the Glyndebourne Festival. 

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Kelvin Lim

Kelvin trained at the RCM and has worked for ROH, ENO, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park,, ETO, Longborough, NI Opera, Neville Holt. He is MD Postgraduate Opera at Trinity Laban usand Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is particularly versed in Wagner repertoire as vocal coach, official accompanist and recipient of the Bayreuth Bursary, and as Anthony Negus’ repetiteur at Longborough since 2008. He has coached singers such as Aïda Garifullina, Christopher Ventris, & performed at the Wigmore Hall, St Johns Smiths Sq, and RFH. He has conducted Jenufa, Carmen, Cavelleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Samson et Dalila, Turn of the Screw, Norma, Otello, La BohemeCosì Fan TutteAmahl and the Night Visitors. Future projects: The Ring Cycle for Longborough Festival Opera, Assistant Conductor Island of Dreams for Grange Park Opera, Musical Director The Magic Flute for Merry Opera. 

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Lada Valešová

Czech / British conductor Lada Valešová is a 2023 Winner Off West End Award in Opera Ensemble for the enterprising production of Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen with the Hampstead Garden Opera, a company with a long record of giving opportunities to young singers performing fully staged operas on the London scene.  As a soloist and chamber musician she has performed in festivals such as the Prague Spring, the Three Choirs Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival and in venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and the Dvořák Hall, Rudofinum Prague.  As a natural and engaging communicator whose background bridges a number of cultures, Lada is passionate about sharing music with the widest circle of the audiences delivered to the highest standard, bringing down the barriers and making the life-enhancing process of being part of the musical experience accessible to all.

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How the process works

1. Once you have submitted the form below, a member of the team will contact you to discuss your booking. Our accounts team will invoice you for a £150 deposit, payable by BACS, in order to secure your place on the course. If you choose to pay in full, you will be invoiced for the full amount. We will do our best to take accommodation preferences into consideration but we cannot guarantee your preferred choice will be available.

2. Once your deposit is received, you will be issued an invoice to pay your remaining balance, payable by BACS. The remaining balance must be paid before Friday 7 June 2024. Any bookings after this date must be paid in full. For more info, please see our FAQs page.

3. A member of the team will contact you a few weeks ahead of arrival to provide joining instructions.

4. Arrive at Dartington and enjoy a wonderful 8 days of music!

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