Ian Rosenblatt’s Double Life

Ian RosenblattThe founder of the eponymous corporate law firm has a Saturday job – keeping shop in Muswell Hill, where he dispenses advice to music students, lovers and collectors.

And if this raises a few eyebrows, it likely fits in well with his subtle and gently self-deprecating sense of humour.

The shop is no ordinary shop – Les Aldrich is more of an institution that’s over a century old – and Ian Rosenblatt is the man who rescued it from closure in 2013.

It isn’t quite clear when or even how the transition from being a passionate music lover to a patron/philanthropist took place in Rosenblatt’s life, simply because it was likely a natural and inevitable progression.  The inevitability note was keyed in by his opera-mad family (his father may well be Verdi’s greatest living fan, having started each day with the same recording of La Traviata for many years).

Somewhere along the line, the highly successful lawyer with a passion for the greatest instrument nature has given us, the human voice, became one of its greatest patrons in the grand tradition of Archduke Leopold, Prince Anton Esterházy and of course Gaius Maecenas, whose name has entered the dictionary with the word mecenate (patron of the arts).

Ian Rosenblatt founded and funds the Rosenblatt Recitals, world-class series of opera recitals in a concert hall setting that are so successful as a platform for emerging talent that they have launched the career of a number of star singers (José Cura, Carlos Álvarez , Juan Diego Flórez, Ailish Tynan, Joseph Calleja, among others). What began as corporate sponsorship (Rosenblatt’s law firm stepped in when the original sponsor of José Cura’s debut London concert pulled out) has grown into the X Factor of bel canto. The Recital series’ talent spotting record has grown in importance to such an extent that the Royal Opera House is now a partner and for a singer to be invited is a benchmark of recognition. The Rosenblatt Recitals now release their own albums, expanding their audiences globally. Their physical home is Wigmore Hall where Londoners are treated to monthly performances by both future operatic stars and established artists that the British public would not necessarily get a chance to hear live. Singers can choose their repertoire outside the straight jacket of stage productions, directors or budgets.

The mission of the Recitals is thus two-pronged: offer an alternative and dedicated platform to operatic talent and give opera-lovers/would-be lovers subsidised access to this talent. The subsidiser is Ian Rosenblatt but his patronage of music goes well beyond the Recitals. He launched a music festival in Branscombe, Devon where he has a home, serves as Honorary Co-Treasurer of the Royal Philharmonic Society, one of the most venerable institutions in the world, and is a trustee of the Susan Chilcott Scholarship Fund for young singers.

And while many philanthropists eye immortality through good works, he seems to care primarily about the enjoyment good music and musical talent give him and others.

The longevity, credibility and importance of the recitals on the global music circuit are a legacy that will transcend the man’s life and that, above all else, is the hallmark of a true patron. We salute him for reviving the lost art of patronage and for keeping the spirit of music alive.

Forthcoming Events

The stunning Devonshire village of Branscombe once again hosts some of the world’s top musicians with the fourth Branscombe Festival from Friday 29 – Sunday 31 July 2016, with a packed weekend of opera, classical music and, for the first time, cabaret, all in this beautiful beachside setting.

Javier Camarena at Wigmore Hall (14 April 2016, 7.30pm)

Javier Camarena is back at the Rosenblatt Recitals following a critically acclaimed debut last season. The tenor is joined by pianist Angel Rodriguez for a concert balancing Rossini, Mozart, Massenet, Donizetti and Bellini with Serrano, Chapí, Lara, Alcaráz, Tata Nacho and Moral.

Mariella Devia at Wigmore Hall (14 June 2016, 7.30pm)

Italian soprano Mariella Devia, renowned as the ‘queen of bel canto’ and with a career stretching back over four decades, brings a programme of arias by Ravel, Liszt, Bizet, Bellini and Verdi to the Rosenblatt Recitals, accompanied by Giulio Zappa.