Reviews

From the beginning a remarkable musical talent and sensitive feel for the music showed clearly from Elizabeth Rossiter’s recital… [she] interpreted Granados’ melancholic vision of ‘The Maiden and the Nightingale’ with great expressive intensity…

— Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

…accompanied by the ever-sentient piano playing of Elizabeth Rossiter

— Hilary Finch, The Times

Rossiter was an excellent accompanist throughout… but her finest moment came in the piano-only ‘Entr’acte’ from Woolwich’s A Paper of Black Lines, the third chord of which descended with the dark, smothering weight of a concrete duvet. Nothing else in the recital could match this moment for me but, in that asphyxiated second, everything was brought suddenly into sharp focus.

— Tim Rutherford-Johnson, musicalpointers.co.uk

…With the rock-solid underpinning of Elizabeth Rossiter at the piano [soprano Kiri Parker] gave the world premiere of John Woolwich’s quirky A Paper of Black Lines, willing the audience to sit up and take notice.

— Stephen Pritchard, The Observer

When Sulki Yu performs she owns the stage… The audience was immediately riveted. She appears completely at ease performing, her whole body honed to expressing the music. Elizabeth Rossiter was equally assured and the two played Bartok’s monumental sonata with character and poise. The pair seemed to have true understanding of the Bartok’s folk idioms…

— Anna Michel, musicalpointers.co.uk

The piano solo in Act II proved especially memorable: rather than miming at the keyboard, the boy stood behind the pianist (the excellent Elizabeth Rossiter), whipping her along like a champion jockey.

— Yehuda Shapiro, Opera

Max Key’s beautifully orchestrated production gives us echoes of Sorley’s cultural inheritance through the use of songs by everyone from Schubert to George Butterworth, immaculately sung by Hugh Benson accompanied by Elizabeth Rossiter on piano. Tom Marshall and Jenny Lee play Sorley’s parents with great dignity but the chief burden falls on Alexander Knox, who captures the young poet’s campaigning zeal and quicksilver intelligence in a way that left me much moved.

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 5*

Max Key’s unfussy production, which originated at the Finborough Theatre, ensures the language stays centre stage, and boasts an excellent central performance: Alexander Knox honours Sorley with a deeply sympathetic portrayal, finely balancing passion and poise. Tom Marshall and Jenny Lee as his grieving parents successfully conjure the dilemma of being torn between granting their son posthumous fame and keeping his words for themselves. And Elizabeth Rossiter’s deft music direction, accompanied by Hugh Benson’s singing, appropriately combines British and German songs.

— Theo Bosanquet, Time Out

The music, sung exquisitely by Hugh Benson and accompanied on piano by Elizabeth Rossiter, hauntingly underscores Sorley’s conviction in the beauty of German culture.

— Claire Allfree, The Telegraph

Interspersed with the text are songs sung by Hugh Benson at a piano played by Elizabeth Rossiter. There’s Vaughan Williams, Schubert and poems from Goethe and Brooke put to music. It brings a lovely rhythm to the show, which probably would have felt a little too biography-heavy without them… It’s sad, but the music and the journey of Sorley’s parents – the way they slowly come to terms with their loss – fills the stage with hope. It Is Easy To Be Dead is a little gem.

— What’s On Stage

…accompanied by a delightfully nuanced pianist, Elizabeth Rossiter. It’s thrilling to hear the passion of those old musical settings brought to life so vividly here, and it elevates the action nicely.

— Aura Simon, Musical Theatre Review

Musical accompaniment, encompassing German lieder and period British compositions from, among others, George Butterworth and Ivor Gurney, amplifies the spoken text while giving the singer Hugh Benson a workout, alongside Elizabeth Rossiter at the piano.

— Matt Wolf, New York Times

Alexander Knox is stunning as Sorley, giving him the bonhomie of a young thing, the clear-sightedness of an old soul. Whether generating uneasy sexual heat with his German hostess (Elizabeth Rossiter, also the pianist) or shouting an account of battle against a barrage of sound effects — the director, Max Key, keeps the atmosphere vivid throughout — Knox has a radiant ease about him. He joins in with the show’s singer, Hugh Benson, on some powerful musical moments too.

— Dominic Maxwell, The Times

As directed by Max Key… its smooth dovetailing of song, dialogue and recitation, with the warm lighting by Rob Mills accentuating this small theatre’s cosiness. The tenor Hugh Benson and pianist Elizabeth Rossiter provide a splendid recital’s worth of the appropriate numbers: George Butterworth’s setting of A. E. Housman’s “On the Idle Hill of Summer”, a jolly “Gaudeamus Igitur” for Sorley’s mixing with German students.

— Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement