Various composers

Kokoschka's Doll

Sir John Tomlinson

Label: Champs Hill
Format: CD
Barcode: 5060212591579
Catalog number: CHRCD 150
Releasedate: 07-02-20
- A uniquly inspired release by the ever-popular Sir John Tomlinson, Rozanna Madylus and Counterpoise. 

The inspiration for Kokoschka’s Doll derived from the exhibition Silent Partners, featuring the role of mannequins in art, at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, in 2014. There, Sir John Tomlinson and Rozanna Madylus saw photographs of the life-size doll Oskar Kokoschka commissioned to help him to come to terms with the absence of Alma Mahler after their tempestuous relationship had come to an end. They felt that a work exploring the way women have been objectified sexually throughout history – as models and muses, as objects rather than as real women – might prove a fruitful addition to the repertoire we had been building for Counterpoise since its inception in 2008.

Sir John Tomlinson was born in Lancashire. He gained a BSc in Civil Engineering at Manchester University before winning a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music. He was awarded a CBE in 1997 and knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2005. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Singer in 1991, 1998 and 2007 and in 2014 their Gold Medal. He has sung for the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Deutsche Oper and Staatsoper, Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Geneva and Paris, the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Munich and Glyndebourne festivals and all the leading British companies. He made his Bayreuth Festival debut in 1988 as Wotan (Der Ring des Nibelungen) under Daniel Barenboim and went on to sing there every summer from 1989 to 2006. His repertory has included Boris Godunov, Bluebeard, Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier), Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande), Claggart (Billy Budd), General (The Gambler), Philip II and the Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlo), Méphistophélès (Faust), the four villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), the title role of Ivan Susanin, Jacopo Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Tommaso Becket (Assassinio nella cattedrale), Boris Ismailov and Moses (Moses und Aron). He also created Green Knight (Gawain) and the Minotaur (The Minotaur) for Harrison Birtwistle. Tomlinson’s wide discography includes CDs of works by Handel, Mozart, Wagner and Stravinsky and DVDs of The Minotaur, Parsifal and Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Rozanna was born in Leicestershire, England, of Ukrainian descent. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, Rozanna decided to dedicate herself to classical singing. She won a place to continue her vocal studies on the postgraduate course at the Royal Academy of Music with Anne Howells and Jonathan Papp in September 2011, where she was recipient of the Kohn Foundation Award. A year later, she became a member of the internationally acclaimed Royal Academy Opera School and Academy Song Circle, where she was recipient of the Karaviotis Scholarship, the Sir Charles Mackerras Award and the Carr-Gregory Trust Award and was a finalist in the prestigious Royal Academy of Music Patrons Award. Rozanna was also awarded the Karaviotis Prize at Les Azuriales Young Artist Competition, Nice, in August 2012 and, in the summer of 2013, attended the Solti Accademia in Castiglione della Pescaia. In May 2012, Rozanna was awarded a place on the prestigious Young Artist Platform at the Oxford Lieder Festival. Since then, she has been invited to perform in various concert halls around the UK and abroad, including the Holywell Music Room, Kings Place, the Mendelssohn-Remise Berlin, the Prokofiev Hall at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Small Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonia. Previous roles include Prinz Orlofsky in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (Berlin Opera Academy), Mother Goose in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (cover for Festival d’Aix-en-Provence), Second Woman/Second Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Birmingham Opera Company), Jezebel in Goehr’s Naboth’s Vineyard (Melos Sinfonia), Beggar Woman in Britten’s Death in Venice (Garsington Opera), Smeraldina in Dove’s The Little Green Swallow (British Youth Opera), the title role in Handel’s Ariodante (Royal Academy Opera), Madame de la Haltière Cendrillon (RAO), Fidalma in Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage (cover for BYO), the title role in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (RAO and the BBC Symphony Orchestra), Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (Sinfonia d’Amici) and Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto (Stanley Opera).


Counterpoise is a highly acclaimed ensemble consisting of some of the most sought-after instrumentalists in the UK. It was formed in 2008 to give the first performances of a new work, On the Edge, commissioned from the outstanding young English composer Edward Rushton. Its programmes cross musical genres and explore the relationship between music, poetry and visual elements, seeking also to develop aspects of narrative and other extramusical influences. The unconventional line-up of violin, trumpet, saxophone and piano enables composers to create new soundworlds and to experiment with challenging fusions of music, text and visuals. Since Counterpoise was inaugurated, the ensemble has worked with distinguished artists such as Sir John Tomlinson, Sir Willard White and Eleanor Bron, and with leading composers in addition to Rushton, notably John Casken, David Matthews, Charlotte Bray and Jean Hasse. Counterpoise has appeared at the City of London, Cheltenham, Buxton and Newbury Festivals, as well as other significant venues up and down the country including Kings Place, London, and St George’s Brandon Hill. The ensemble’s debut recording, Deadly Pleasures, made in 2013, was highly acclaimed. Future plans include Medea’s Cell by David Blake and Keith Warner with Susan Bullock, and another work by John Casken: a Lear project, again featuring Sir John Tomlinson.