A delightful set of circumstances combined to produce the beloved masterpiece, Babar. The journey began in 1930 when Laurent and Mathieu, sons of French author and illustrator Jean de Brunhoff were told an enchanting bedtime story by their mother, Cécile. So moved were the young boys by the curious tale of the young elephant’s adventures, that they asked their father to create illustrations. The resulting book initiated a series that was to be the crowning achievement of Jean de Brunhoff’s short professional life, and that of his son Laurent, who added further volumes following his father’s death in 1937.
In a heart-warmingly similar situation ten years later, Poulenc was spending time with the granddaughter of one of his cousins. Noting that she became bored with the music he was playing, Poulenc put Brunhoff’s Babar on the piano and began to improvise, to the great delight of the young girl. The musical ideas born that day were to simmer away at the back of Poulenc’s mind until he completed the work in 1945. It was premiered on French radio the following year.
Miriam Margolyes OBE is a veteran of stage and screen. Winner of the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award in 1993 for The Age of Innocence, Best Supporting Actress at the 1989 LA Critics Circle Awards for Little Dorrit and a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress in 1993 for Oliver Twist. Career highlights include: Film: Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films, Yentl, Little Shop of Horrors, End of Days, Scorsese's The Age of Innocence, Cold Comfort Farm, Magnolia. Her voice has been heard on many premium brand commercials and Audio books.
Simon Callaghan performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. His recent tours have taken him throughout Asia, Canada and Europe. He has performed at all of the UK’s major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall Birmingham Symphony Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, St David’s Hall Cardiff and Manchester’s Bridgewater and Stoller Halls. Simon puts great value on teaching and regularly gives masterclasses.