We met with Lucy Crowe during our recording of Rodelinda. We talked about what she got up to during lockdown, our upcoming programme, Handel – The Italian on the 9th of October, and realising your dreams. Join us online on the 9th of October englishconcert.co.uk/event/handel-the-italian/

TEC:       What is it that has had the most lasting impact on you as a performer?

LC:       As a little girl I dreamt of performing at Covent Garden. I think I was about ten and my grandparents took me to see Swan Lake. And at the time I was taking ballet very seriously as well and I remember saying to my grandpa ‘This is where I want to be. I want to perform here one day’ and so my debut there – the first time I sang there – I held my mum and dad, we had a group hug – I’m getting emotional now because I’ve made it, I’ve done it! I’ve now done eight lead roles there and I have to say that, I guess it’s given me the confidence to be who I am as a singer, to know I’ve achieved that goal. You have to keep setting your goals. I remember… in fact it was Hugh Canning who said that to me. He said ‘Well what’s your next goal going to be?’ and I said ‘Oh I don’t know! I’ve not got one now’. But then I did the Met!

TEC:       Going back to the beginning of our relationship with The English Concert I remember one of the first things we did was the disc with Armida Abbandonata and Alpestre Monte, which we’re going to be performing actually quite soon again. I’m looking forward to that. Tell us a bit about those two pieces which you probably know very well.

LC:       Well yeah, Armida is in some ways quite similar to Rodelinda. She’s the abandoned Armida. It’s only about twenty minutes long but she goes through so many emotions in such a small space of time. From, like, ‘How dare you leave me? How could you do this to me? How could you break my heart? Monsters from the ocean, come and take him and kill this man. I want him out of my life forever’ to going ‘Oh my god what am I saying?’ you know ‘Don’t do that. No, leave him. I love him’. To then questioning herself again, saying ‘ No, Gods, if you are kind, if you are just, just please stop me from loving him’. So it really is an incredible cantata, which I love and as I say, we’ve been performing for years now.

TEC:       During Lockdown you decided to go out there and perform every night for your neighbours. What an incredible thing to do. What was going through your mind? Why did you decide to do that?

TEC:       Well actually it was my husband, Joe Walters, who’s a horn player, who said we need to give our street, our community something to focus on each night. Something to mark the end of the day so it doesn’t feel like it’s ‘What’s going on?’ because hours seemed to turn into… everything just got a bit confused, didn’t it? So to have a horn call at 7 pm every single night was amazing and then after the third or fourth one I just thought I’ve got to join in, I cannot stand there and listen and not now express myself and perform to my neighbours. So we started to do different songs and arias each night ranging from Tosca to Aretha Franklin to REM to… a mixture of everything and it’s really brought our community together. It’s been an incredible thing. Obviously, people just seemed quite low and quite down and actually this gave people a chance to come out of their houses, a chance to meet neighbours they’d never really met or spoken to before and a chance to sort of look forward to something. And that, you know, we had a lot of people sending us cards and bottles of wine, which was amazing! And people saying thank you for keeping us sane in Lockdown, you really helped and saved us.