sat 27/05/2017

Baroque

Hipermestra / La Traviata, Glyndebourne

 A Saudi princess in her white wedding dress digs her own grave as men pile up stones to hurl at her head — next, an Isis fighter is stabbing a knife at her neck to decapitate her. Ah, the fate of the heroine of the average baroque ...

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Ariodante, The English Concert, Bicket, Barbican

To hear The English Concert playing Handel is to arrive in technicolour Oz after a lifetime of black and white baroque in Kansas. We’re not short on period bands in the UK, but few bring this music into anything like the kind of focus that Harry...

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L'Incoronazione di Poppea, EBS, Gardiner, Colston Hall, Bristol

Whatever musicologists may tell us about the patchy authenticity of Monteverdi’s last two operas, they unquestionably make a pair. Il ritorno di Ulisse is all about fidelity and ends with a love duet between the reunited husband and wife. L’...

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Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria, EBS, Gardiner, Colston Hall, Bristol

“Never give one concert if you can give a hundred” might stand as a motto for the conductor who once hauled his choir and orchestra round the world performing all 200 or so of Bach’s cantatas. And mathematically Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s latest...

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Ormisda, St George's Hanover Square

The annual London Handel Festival is dutifully working its way through every one of Handel’s operas in a cycle that will eventually take us from Alcina to Xerxes before, presumably, starting all over again. But each year, alongside these headliners...

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Andreas Scholl, Accademia Bizantina, Barbican

Marian devotions have given us some of sacred music’s most striking works, from graceful Ave Marias to anguished settings of the Stabat Mater. Andreas Scholl and musicologist Bernardo Ticci have recently gone in search of some less familiar ones –...

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Gauvin, Le Concert de la Loge, Chauvin, Wigmore Hall

Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin has one of the most beautiful voices in the business – a glinting crystal blade sheathed in velvet. She wields it with skill, darting swiftly with coloratura one minute, before stabbing deep with emotion the next. In...

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Alcina, RAM, Round Chapel, Hackney

Handel’s Alcina is about sex, certainly. But unlike Olivia Fuchs’s new production for the Royal Academy of Music, it’s about an awful lot of other things as well. Power, illusion, ageing, love, gender, family, intimacy – all these themes find...

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Beyond Caravaggio, National Gallery

Cheekily bottom-like, their downy skin blushing enticingly, these must be the sexiest apricots ever painted. If you held out your hand, you might just be able to touch them, there in the foreground of what is thought to be Caravaggio’s earliest...

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Remembering Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

2016 began with the passing of Pierre Boulez, arguably the doyen of modernism in the field of classical music. Now, only a couple of months later, it is the turn of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a musician occupying a similar level of singular elevation but...

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The Return, Circa, Barbican

If you thought circus acrobats and Shostakovich were a daring combination, try circus acrobats and Monteverdi. While the spiky harmonies and vivd dynamics of 20th-century Russian string quartets sit pretty nicely with circus show-offery, surely...

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Michael Palin’s Quest for Artemisia, BBC Four

For his latest journey Michael Palin, actor, writer, novelist, comedian, Python, traveller, has gone beyond geography in search of the visual arts with his characteristic enthusiasm, eclectic curiosity, and sense of discovery.With his usual...

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