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Celebrated classical singer to perform in FRIDA by Queen Mary’s Paul Edlin

Celebrated classical singer Katie Bray will sing the role of Frida Kahlo in FRIDA by Paul Edlin, Queen Mary’s Director of Music. Katie will perform alongside the East London Music Group on Sunday 10 July 2022 in Queen Mary University of London’s Octagon.

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FRIDA first premiered at the Oxford Festival of the Arts in 2019, and the revival will include three brand new pieces from up-and-coming young composers.  It sets text from the diary of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in twelve tableaux, exploring different episodes of her life and her turbulent relationship with muralist Diego Rivera. The text is lifted directly from Frida Kahlo’s diary.

At the heart of the performance will be the Magnetic Resonator Piano (MRP), a revolutionary instrument created by Dr Andrew McPherson from Queen Mary’s Centre for Digital Music. The MRP is a hybrid acoustic-electronic instrument which - when you alter pressure, position and other elements - allows you to keep shaping the sound even after pressing down. This comes from electromagnets on the piano strings that bend the sound and create new music in the process.

The MRP features in all the new works included, created by three recent graduates of the Royal College of Music. These came after they received a demonstration of the instrument in 2019 by Professor McPherson and then spent time experimenting with and mastering it.

Paul Edlin, composer and Queen Mary’s Director of Music said: "Katie Bray and East London Music Group gave the magnificent premiere of Frida, with Katie 'becoming' the great artist and Matthew Hardy and his brilliant musicians making light of all the work's challenges.

“It's wonderful to know that after the pandemic, they can all bring the piece to life again - and on what is for me home territory.”

Matthew Hardy, conductor and Artistic Director of the East London Music Group said: “This programme explores a fascinating sound world that has the Magnetic Resonator Piano at its centre. Katie Bray is a singer who brings true emotional depth and variety to her work and the Octagon at Queen Mary provides the perfect setting.”

Lead performer Katie Bray, reprising her role in the 2019 premiere of FRIDA, previously represented England in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2019, where she won the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize.

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