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FAIR ORIANA: Divine Songs of Passion

A programme based around Couperin’s "Leçons de ténèbres" , originally depicting the desolation of Jerusalem, but applied allegorically to the three days of mourning between His Crucifixion and resurrection. Following the course of Christ's suffering, this programme features excerpts from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, depicting Mary’s emotions as she witnesses her son’s suffering on on the cross, as well as Henry Purcell's and John Blow’s expostulations on the passion of Christ.

Angela Hicks and Penelope Appleyard (sopranos)

David Wight (keyboard)

"Bright, fresh voices and an exceptionally skillful blend"

- Brian Robins earlymusicworld.com

Described as "pure vocal beauty "by Classic FM, Fair Oriana are a soprano duo known for the purity of their voices and trade-mark blend. They specialise in singing historical repertoire, and perform chamber concerts with a hint of theatre. 


Both members of Dame Emma Kirkby's ensemble Dowland Works, specialist early music sopranos Angela Hicks and Penelope Appleyard joined forces in 2019 to form Fair Oriana, a duo that mixes their passion for historical music with entertaining staging, contemporary influences and, at times, a dash of folk, medieval and jazz. The two singers have a natural rapport on stage, a love of musical creativity and ornamentation, and a mutual penchant for doing things a bit differently! 


In 2019 they launched their 'Trials & Triumphs of Oriana' and 'Silver Baroque' chamber programmes in concert series around the UK and in Europe. They have appeared in Early Music Today, on Women's Radio Station's Future Classic Women Awards, BBCRadio 3, and are played regularly on Ancient FM. Their video of Handel's 'Eternal Source of Light Divine', was posted online by Classic FM in their 'Hall of Fame' (Find it here.) In the autumn of 2019 they premiered a new collaboration with Opera Settecento: an historically informed performance of Handel's Aminta e Fillide, supported by the London Handel Friends, for which they have enjoyed learning the art of baroque gesture. In January 2020 they made their debut at Vienna's Konzerthaus with their folk-inspired programme A Noble Thief: The Legend of Robin Hood and are due to return in 2022. They were delighted to be selected for Musica's International Young Artist Presentation and to be current Making Music Selected Artists. 

In 2021 they emerged from the national lockdown with a bespoke spring programme for the Ryedale Festival, and released their debut album Two Voices with VOCES8 Records. It is an intimate collection of chamber music from Renaissance to Baroque, with occasional folk, medieval and contemporary influences. The singers enjoy collaborating with composers and commissioned three new works for the album, by Fraser Wilson and Owain Park. Where possible they include new works in their concert programmes.