Donald Maxwell in Conversation with Ilona Domnich

Join us 'live on Zoom' as Scottish operatic baritone Donald Maxwell interviews Russian soprano Ilona Domnich, followed by a short audience Q&A.

The Festival is delighted to host this unique 'virtual' conversation on Sunday 23 May between Perth's very own Donald Maxwell and Russian soprano Ilona Domnich, who is performing in Russian Soul: the Story of Rachmaninov in Song (Thu 27 May).

Enjoy Donald's memories of Perth Festival of the Arts in its early days in the 1970s and an introduction to Ilona, her journey and international influences. Setting the scene for Ilona's festival performance, the conversation will also explore the life and works of Rachmaninov.

The free event (approx 1 hour) will take place on Zoom and is an exclusive opportunity to meet Donald and Ilona. Includes a short Q&A after the conversation.

Booking is now open. You must book a free ticket for the event (even if you have a Full Festival or Classical Pass). We will email you the Zoom login details approximately 24 hours before.

Donald Maxwell

Donald Maxwell was born in Perth and graduated in Geography from Edinburgh University. He  made his professional debut with Perth Choral Society in 1970 {!} whilst teaching geography at Perth Academy. He left teaching in 1976 to join Scottish Opera and has since sung with all the major British Opera companies, at the BBC Proms and abroad at La Scala Milan, Vienna Staatsoper, The Metropolitan Opera New York, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Théâtre Musical de Paris and Salzburg Easter Festival.

He has a repertoire of over 100 roles ranging from Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus to Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and including Balstrode, Iago, Wozzeck, Flying Dutchman, Rigoletto, Nick Shadow, Golaud, Faninal and Don Alfonso. He is particularly noted for his portrayal of Falstaff, which he has sung at the Edinburgh International Festival and in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Milan and Vienna. He has also created several world premieres in works by Holt, Manoury, Harle, Berio, O'Regan and Eotvos.

Donald Maxwell’s recordings include Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Falstaff in Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love, Carmina Burana, Kismet, and several Gilbert and Sullivan operas. He has had a long association with the Buxton International Festival since its inception, including directing The Beautiful Galathea and Pimpinone for the Festival. He has also been involved with the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival for over fifteen years, singing a variety of baritone roles  and directing Patience, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and The Sorcerer for the National G&S Company.

Donald was Director of the National Opera Studio in London from 2001 to 2008 and is now a vocal tutor at the Royal Welsh College in Cardiff as well as giving regular masterclasses, adjudicating at vocal competitions and lecturing on operatic tours.

Although he gave a farewell performance at the Perth Festival of the Arts in 2018 he still manages to get out from time to time to play the odd role for an elderly baritone... notably Benoit and Alcindoro in La Boheme at The Met.

Ilona Domnich

Ilona Domnich

Ilona Domnich is a lyric soprano (leggero), described by critics as ‘A memorable voice of silken beauty with a luminous edge to the tone, a sensitive musician and an actress of magnetic presence’.

She was chosen by Opera Now as Top 10 high flyers, “new generation of sopranos who are destined to have impressive careers”. The Artist of the Month in Opera and is a Telegraph’s choice of best British-based talent December. 

Originally a pianist, Ilona was plucked by a legendary singing teacher Vera Rosza at one of the master classes. She went on to win the prestigious Wingate Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music. Her career is growing steadily world-wide.

Operatic highlights include Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Mimi (La Boheme), Gilda (Rigoletto), Olympia/Antonia/Giulietta (Tales of Hoffmann), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), (Fortunio), Elle (La Voix Humaine), Melisande (Pellease et Melisande), Magda (La Rondine), Tatyana (Onegin), Zerlina( Don Giovanni), Eurydice (Der neue Orpheus), Venus (Judgement of Paris), Madam Herz (Der Schauspieldirektor), Blondchen (Die Entfuhrung).

Ilona developed close collaboration with English National Opera, BBC Concert Orchestra, Grange Park Opera, Buxton Opera Festival, English Touring Opera, Northern Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, Festival de Musique de Menton, Trasimeno Music Festival and Anghiari in Italy, Chopin Festival in Mallorca, Aldeburgh Festival, London Song Festival, Jersey International Festival.

Ilona appeared in concerts in London at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican, Westminster Cathedral, St. Johns’ Smith square, St. Martin in the Fields and internationally in Paris, Menton, Segura, Rome, St.Peterburg, Jerusalem, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.