Ahead of baritone Mark Stone’s performances with Britten Sinfonia conducted by Thomas Adès in Gerald Barry’s Beethoven (part of our our Beethoven Symphony Cycle series) we asked him a few questions;
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Jumping in to sing Tom Adès’ Totentanz with the New York Phil, and Tom conducting, was quite a thrill: a combination of being petrified, honoured and astonished, but also having great fun.
When are you happiest?
When I’ve finished learning a new piece of music.
What is your greatest fear?
Not having learnt the music properly.
What is your earliest musical memory?
Group guitar lessons at primary school. I was unbelievably bad.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Neil Kinnock. He led the Labour Party at a formative time in my political awakening, and fought a valiant fight on both sides against the Conservative government and the Militant Tendency.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
The most embarrassing moment I’m prepared to divulge was when I nearly passed out as my wife was given an epidural injection shortly before my son’s arrival.
What is your most treasured possession?
I’m a bit of score anorak, so it would have to be a toss-up between by facsimiles of the manuscripts of Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro” and Berg’s “Wozzeck”
What would your super power be?
I’d like to be able to stop time, so that I could catch up on my in-tray.
If you were an animal what would you be?
I am an animal. If I could be a different animal, I’d like to be a chimpanzee. Chimps have the most fun.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Pedantry. I’m learning to silently correct people’s grammar these days, but sometimes it just comes out.
What is your favourite book?
It’s a toss up between 1984 and Brave New World, so definitely something dystopian.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
TV comedy marathons. I’ve just discovered “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” of which there are 134 episodes.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party
I’d like to invite my best friends from school, university, accountancy training, music college, and the world of opera and see what that chose to talk about.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
The 1980s. I enjoyed it so much the first time round.
How do you relax away from the concert platform?
I never listen to music. I listen to Radio 4, I watch sitcoms (see my previous answer) and I run long distances.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The London Marathon.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
We are all capable of doing anything if we set our minds to it.
In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?
Talent is a myth.
Hear Mark Stone perform with Britten Sinfonia this May and June in Gerald Barry’s Beethoven in London, Norwich and Saffron Walden. Click here for more info