Richard Dowling (photo by Ben Durrant)


Wild Arts is delighted to announce  a Spring Concert Series in the Old Library, behind Colchester Town Hall. It is a beautiful space with great acoustics and free parking nearby. We look forward to sharing some inspiring and uplifting music with you!

“A joy beyond all expectation – sassily delivered and outstandingly well-sung.” Michael White

“A complete delight.” Robert Hugill

Wild Arts is the organisation behind the Roman River Festival (24th to 29th September 2024), now in its 24th year. It also runs the Essex Summer Opera Festival, the largest opera festival in East Anglia, at Layer Marney Tower (18th to 23rd June 2024).



This is Concert II in Wild Arts’ Spring Concert Series in the Old Library, and features Richard Dowling, tenor and Michael Butten on guitar.


The evening will take you on a musical journey ranging from Elizabethan composer John Dowland, the lute song from Britten's opera Gloriana and songs by Walton on lyrics by 16th and 17th Century poets. The musicians will then turn to Italy with Rossini and Donizetti. Next, they will take us to Scotland with Britten's O Waly Waly and will finish with Purcell.


Richard Dowling is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music's Opera Course, where he performed as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress. Richard has been a key member of Wild Arts since its creation, playing a crucial part in its growth and ambitions. He performed as Ferrando in our production of Così fan tutte in 2022 and will be returning in 2024 for its revival. Richard also performed with English Touring Opera in Benjamin Britten’s John Donne Sonnets, Mozart’s Così fan tutte as Ferrando, Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions and a triple bill including a mixture of Purcell, Carissimi and Gesualdo.

Internationally, Richard travelled to Tokyo with Diva Opera to perform as Pedrillo in Mozart's Entführung aus dem Serail. He has collaborated with various opera companies including Garsington Opera and Mid Wales Opera, portraying roles in operas by Britten, Rossini, and Donizetti. Before pursuing a career in music, Richard completed a PhD in Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester.

Michael Butten studied at Junior Academy, where he twice won the Lower Strings Prize, before being awarded a scholarship at the Academy to continue his studies with Michael Lewin. In his first year he won the Julian Bream Prize, adjudicated by Julian Bream, and, shortly afterwards, gained the Nervi/Bodrato Prize as the youngest semi-finalist at the Michele Pittaluga Guitar Competition in Alessandria. On completing his BMus degree with first class honours, he received from the Academy one of the Regency Awards and in June 2014, as a postgraduate, became the first guitarist to win the R.A.M. Club Prize. He won the 1st prize in the 2016 Ivor Mairants Guitar Award, and is a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Upon leaving the Academy in 2016 he also won the David Russell Prize.

Of particular interest to Michael is the often neglected guitar music of British composers, British renaissance lute repertoire and the link often found between the music of both periods. He is currently preparing a solo recording devoted to the music of John Dowland.

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Wild Arts Spring Concert Series: Concert II – Songs from the Sea

Type:Music - Classical

The Old Library, 65, West Stockwell Street, Colchester, CO1 1HE

Opening Times

Season (18 Apr 2024)