fri 19/07/2019

Baroque

Franco Fagioli, Il Pomo d’Oro, Birmingham Town Hall review - flair and flamboyance

For the final, and only UK, date of his Vinci Arias tour, virtuoso countertenor Franco Fagioli gave an animated and arresting recital of baroque arias at Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday afternoon with the Italian period instrument group Il pomo d’oro...

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Berenice, Royal Opera/London Handel Festival review - luminous shenanigans in the Linbury

It might be the nature of Handel's operatic beasts, but performances tend to fall into two camps: brilliant in the fusion of drama and virtuosity, singing and playing, or boring to various degrees. If this handsome opening gambit in the 2019 London...

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital. Our core charitable and artistic...

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The English Concert, Bicket, Wigmore Hall review – small-scale Bach

It’s Christmas already at Wigmore Hall. Or advent at least – this concert of Bach Advent cantatas was presented by the English Concert without apology or qualification, despite it still being the middle of November. But it proved a welcome fillip...

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The Triumph of Time and Truth, Higginbottom, Kings Place review – time well spent, despite the words

You can always depend on Handel to turn verbal dross into musical gold. The chasm between lumbering doggerel and soaring sound can seldom have yawned wider, though, that in several numbers from the third, English version of The Triumph of Time and...

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Radamisto, English Touring Opera review - propulsive, lively Handel

Baroque repertoire doesn’t seem to register on most British opera company’s schedules these days, so it is good to see ETO devoting their autumn season to Handel, Purcell and Bach, with some additions from Carissimi and Gesualdo for good measure....

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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 2, Hewitt, Wigmore Hall review – high drama in 24 short acts

Bach specialists like to explain that the second book of preludes and fugues in The Well-Tempered Clavier, composed around 1740 and thus almost two decades after the first, draws on more of the fancy and daring “modern” music of its time than its...

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Dido and Aeneas, Academy of Ancient Music, Barbican review – prosthetic passions

 “War Horse has a lot to answer for,” grumbled, or joked, my neighbour as the white-draped and white-faced puppet of the Queen of Carthage lay crumpled on the floor at the close of Thomas Guthrie’s semi-staged production of Dido and Aeneas....

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'I wanted a juke box that plays nothing but flip-sides' - Jeremy Sams on The Enchanted Island

I have many files, in bulging boxes and dusty corners of my computer, of projects that, for whatever reason, never came to fruition. To be honest I’ve forgotten most of them. And I wrongly assumed that The Enchanted Island would be one of those...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2018 - canaries in front of a Périgord altar

Brits are the folk you expect to encounter the most in the rural-England-on-steroids of the beautiful Dordogne. In my experience they outnumber the French, at least in high summer, not just as visitors and retired homeowners but also as artisans...

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival 2018 - choral music to the fore

With – unusually – no visiting orchestra at this year’s St Magnus International Festival in far-flung Orkney (the fall-out from delayed funding confirmations, we’re assured), there was a danger that the annual midsummer event might have felt a...

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Partenope, Iford Arts review - a midsummer night's dream of a Handel comedy

Rejected by London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1726 on grounds of frivolity, Partenope is the ultimate Handelian rom-com – a comedy whose intriguing is carried out with a smile, a swagger and a sparkle in the eye. But what raised eyebrows in the...

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