King Charles has revealed the music he would like at his coronation in Westminster Abbey on 6 May 2023 – and it includes the West End’s Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The composer of The Phantom of the Opera is set to write the main choir anthem for the coronation, scoring the piece for the Westminster Abbey choir and organ, plus the ceremonial brass and orchestra.
Lloyd Webber is no stranger to composing choral music, with his 1985 piece Pie Jesu from his Requiem proving a big hit.
Lloyd Webber said that he was “incredibly honoured” to have composed the anthem, and that it would include words “slightly adapted from Psalm 98”, which begins “O sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath done marvellous things”.
He also said that he hopes “my anthem reflects this joyful occasion.”
Phantom is playing at Lloyd Webber’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, and following the death of The Queen in September last year, Lloyd Webber said that Her Majesty’s Theatre would be renamed to His Majesty’s Theatre. Timing on the name change is still unclear, but the coronation might be good timing.
Six new pieces of music for orchestra will be composed for the coronation, plus five new choral works and a new piece for the organ. Composers of the new music include Lloyd Webber, Patrick Doyle, Iain Farrington, Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams and Debbie Wiseman.
Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director for the Royal Opera House, will be conducting the Coronation Orchestra, with Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey, overseeing all musical arrangements and directing the music during the Service.
Soloists at the coronation will include bass-baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel; soprano, Pretty Yende and baritone, Roderick Williams. The organ will be played by Sub-Organist, Westminster Abbey, Peter Holder, and Assistant Organist, Westminster Abbey, Matthew Jorysz.
The Service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, together with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast and from Truro Cathedral Choir. The Ascension Choir, a handpicked gospel choir will also perform as part of the Service and The King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations.
Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force.
Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House and Conductor of the Coronation Orchestra, said in a press statement: “I am deeply honoured to have been chosen by His Majesty to participate in the musical presentations that will embrace the historic occasion of his Coronation. His Majesty has chosen a most beautiful and varied programme that I believe will enhance the splendour of this very special celebration.”
As well as having Phantom currently playing in the West End, Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Aspects of Love is also making a return to London this year. The new production, which features the hit song “Love Changes Everything” will star Michael Ball and Jamie Bogyo, and starts previews at the Lyric Theatre on 12 May 2023.
Lloyd Webber’s new musical Bad Cinderella started previews on Broadway on Friday, playing at the Imperial Theatre in New York.
His Majesty's Theatre,