English Roses pack a punch

Lyric sopranos Iúnó Connolly and Sophie Pullen present a Summer Concert at St Mary-in-the-Castle on July 21, featuring seductive sisters, star-crossed lovers and many popular English songs and opera classics.

The English Roses was formed in 2012 by Sussex-born Sophie Pullen and fellow soprano Iúnó Connolly – the intention being to combine their vocal talents into a performing partnership that would present classical opera and song in exciting and intimate recitals.

Both being drawn to the tantalising and powerful allure of all things operatic, Iúnó and Sophie met on a summer opera course with acclaimed company British Youth Opera, and have since been studying at Birmingham Conservatoire where they have worked extensively as soloists in addition to singing together as a duo.

Shying away from classical crossover, the singers intentions lie in putting forth an edifying variety of classical song and romantic numbers – including both hidden gems and old favourites – and the pair are set on ticking all the boxes of what a rightfully demanding public have come to expect from classical music.

For their debut Sussex performance the pair have selected a variety of English songs from Dowland and Purcell to Britten and Dove to be complimented by a range of operatic duets and arias.

They are privileged to be accompanied by acclaimed pianist Nancy Cooley whose presence on the Sussex music scene has encompassed recitals and work for Glyndebourne Opera, in addition to a significant involvement in music education.

Sophie Pullen grew up in Bexhill and began singing with the Youth Opera at Glyndebourne in her late teens, a Hastings Musical Festival Gold Medal Winner and frequent soloist for Bexhill Choral Society her upcoming engagements include a solo recital at Hastings Museum and Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate for Buxted Symphony Orchestra.

Iúnó, a soprano with a particular tendency towards the works of the great Italian composers, is a bel canto convert with a repertoire that spans the baroque and contemporary spheres and embraces anything that catches her ear.

This soprano of Irish descent, born and raised in Wiltshire, having just completed her third year of full time classical training, has recently returned from four months spent in the Italian city of Ferrara.