If there were any doubts that it was soon to be curtains for Verdi’s titular, tubercular heroine then the tortured gasps of laboured, languishing breath which preceded Rodula Gaitanou’s new production of La traviata for Opera Holland Park would have swiftly served to dispel them.
Here is a little-known opera that, like an opera by the Swedish composer
Laci Boldemann that I have reviewed here, and like
Ravel’s amazing L’enfant et les sortilègesá, utterly bypasses the usual categories of comic and grand/tragic by
cultivating instead the rich realm of fantasy and folk tale.
‘Music for a while/Shall all your cares beguile’. Standing in shadow, encircled by the five players of the viol consort Fretwork, as the summer storm raged outside Milton Court Concert Hall countertenor Iestyn Davies offered mesmeric reassurance to the capacity audience during this intriguing meeting of the baroque and the modern.
A musical challenge to our view of the past
As a whole, this concert proved a curious affair. It probably made more
sense in the context of Thomas Adès’s series of Beethoven and
Barry concerts with the Britten Sinfonia. The idea of a night off from the
symphonic Beethoven to turn to chamber works was, in principle, a good one,
but the sole Gerald Barry piece here seemed oddly out of place – and
not in a productive, provocative way. Even the Beethoven pieces did not
really seem to fit together especially well. A lovely performance of the
op.16 Quintet nevertheless made the evening worthwhile.
Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam play Audrey Mildmay and John Christie in David Hare’s play The Moderate Soprano which is currently at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London.
Le Concert Royal de la Nuit with Ensemble Correspondances led by SÈbastien DaucÈ, the glorious culmination of the finest London Festival of the Baroque in years on the theme “Treasures of the Grand SiËcle”. Le Concert Royal de la Nuit was Louis XIV’s announcement that he would be “Roi du Soleil”, a ruler whose magnificence would transform France, and the world, in a new age of splendour.
Seven, they are Seven , op.30; Violin Concerto no.1 in D minor, op.19; Cantata for the Twentieth Anniverary of the October Revolution, op.74. David Butt Philip (tenor), Pekka Kuusisto (violin), Aidan Oliver (voice of Lenin, chorus director), Philharmonia Voices, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (military band), Philharmonia Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor). Royal Festival Hall, London, Sunday 20 May 2018.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier Histoires sacrÈes with Ensemble Correspondances, conducted by SÈbastien DaucÈ, at St John’s Smith Square, part of the London Festival of the Baroque 2018. This striking staging, by Vincent Huguet, brought out its austere glory: every bit a treasure of the Grand SiËcle, though this grandeur was dedicated not to Sun God but to God.
Revolution, repetition, rhetoric. On my way to meet countertenor Iestyn Davies, I ponder if these are the elements that might form connecting threads between the music of Henry Purcell and Michael Nyman, whose works will be brought together later this month when Davies joins the viol consort Fretwork for a thought-provoking recital at Milton Court Concert Hall.