Ahead of Early Opera Company’s ‘Charpentier at Christmas‘ concert at Wigmore Hall on Friday 8 December, we caught up with some of our busy soloists.

Mhairi Lawson, Samuel Boden and Nick Pritchard regale us with tales of wrapping presents, childhood performances and Eurovision favourites. It’s Christmas!

What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

Nick: I love pretty much everything about Christmas, so I can’t possibly pick one… the food, presents, family, friends, music, Christmas knitwear… anything really. The only thing I don’t enjoy is wrapping presents, as I’m not very good at it, but I combat that by always doing it late on Christmas Eve after a few drinks, while watching one of the greatest films ever made: The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Turkey or Fish or Goose?

Sam: I’m pretty much veggie these days, so you can’t go far wrong with a dirty nut-roast.
Nick: I confess to never having eaten goose, so it’s got to be turkey – a much maligned meat, but great when done properly.

What’s your most dread carol?

Sam: Vorderman

And your most memorable Christmas gathering?

Mhairi: Watching my child and his cousins opening presents whilst drinking sherry at 7.30am
Nick: My family and I are pretty good at Christmas, so it’s always memorable in various ways, particularly since my little nephew came along. This year, I’m spending Christmas Day with my fiancée for the first time, and I’m very excited about that.
Sam: Round an open fire with family, roasting chestnuts. Cheesy.  (Not cheesy chestnuts)

Where would you love to perform the Charpentier Te Deum?

Mhairi: In the House of Commons whilst waving European flag…
Nick: Wigmore Hall, with some world class early music ensemble, like Early Opera Company or something… that would be nice.

When was the first time you stood on stage to sing?

Mhairi: Singing in church.
Sam: Singing competition at my first school, aged 7 yrs.  I sang “I’m a pink toothbrush, you’re a blue toothbrush.”  Classic.  I didn’t win.
Nick: One of my earliest memories of singing on stage was when I played Michael Banks in an amateur production of Mary Poppins when I was about 7 or so. There is photographic evidence, unfortunately.

If you had to name just one person, what would your biggest musical influence?

Mhairi: Doris Day
Sam:  I recently saw ‘Moonwalker’ for the first time and was reminded of the total passion, talent, commitment and tragedy surrounding Michael Jackson’s life. It was an incredibly inspiring moment and translates easily to any kind of performance and artistry, in my view.
Nick: Probably the head of music at my secondary school – we’re very much still in touch, and without any doubt, he massively influenced what I’ve done with my life since leaving school.

Who would play you in the biopic film of your life?

Mhairi: Doris Day
Sam: Chris Hemsworth, but he’d need to get some work done first.  And lose the hammer.
Nick: I’d like to think Robert De Niro c. 1980, but it’s probably Maggie Smith c. now.

As the Marche en Rondeau from Charpentier’s Te Deum is the Eurovision theme, who’s your favourite Eurovision artist?

Mhairi: Conchita Wurst
Sam: I’m almost ashamed to say it must be Katrina and the Waves.

Join Mhairi, Sam and Nick as they summon in the Christmas season at Wigmore Hall on Friday 8 December, with a festive concert of some of Charpentier’s most beautiful works, which move from the darkness of the world before the birth of Jesus to the splendour of the celebrated Te Deum. Book here!