Walking in the Dark is anchored by two large-scale orchestral works – an aria from El Niño and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 – both recorded with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. Throughout the 2023-24 season, Bullock will be the orchestra’s Featured Artist, for which she undertakes two residencies.
The first is in November, when she rejoins the Philharmonia for a pair of American-themed programs conducted by Canada’s Jordan de Souza. They reprise Barber’s “lyric rhapsody” – a longtime staple of her repertoire – in the English town of Bedford, on a program with Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony and William Grant Still’s First Symphony, “Afro-American” (Nov 22). The orchestra repeats both symphonies the following night at London’s Royal Festival Hall, now contextualized with Bullock’s renditions of three songs by George Gershwin and two Langston Hughes settings by the poet’s friend and fellow Harlem Renaissance luminary Margaret Bonds (Nov 23).
The singer reunites with the Philharmonia early next year for Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été, which she recently described as “the piece that turned me on to classical music.” Under the baton of Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, she performs the orchestral song cycle in the orchestra’s Bedford series (Jan 31) and again at the Royal Festival Hall (Feb 1). The following night, Bullock completes her Philharmonia residency with a special program at the same venue (Feb 2); details will be announced this fall.