wed 15/08/2018

Baroque

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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The Courtesan’s Gaze, Fieri Consort, Handel House review – historical female composers in context

From an early age, Barbara Strozzi would have entertained the guests of her father’s Venetian academy with songs, including her own works. A similarly intimate room at London’s Handel House museum provided a suitable setting for Strozzi’s work to be...

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Acis and Galatea, English National Opera, Lilian Baylis House review - Handel for the hashtag generation

If you go to ENO’s Acis and Galatea expecting a grassy knoll draped decoratively with a Watteau shepherdess or two then you may be disappointed. Launched in 2017, the company’s reliably punchy Studio Live strand (stripped-back, small-scale, off-site...

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Franco Fagioli on performing the Baroque: 'a challenge is to interpret beyond the musical notation'

I started singing when I was nine years old in my primary school choir. I sang plenty of solos there before moving on to another children’s choir; that was a formative experience for me. At this point, I was singing the soprano part and from here I...

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Amy Sackville: Painter to the King review - portrait of the artist in shadow and light

Inevitably, the story begins and (almost) ends with Las Meninas. Inspired by the art and life of Diego Velázquez, Amy Sackville tops and tails her third novel with his endlessly enigmatic group portrait from 1656. It shows the Spanish royal...

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theartsdesk in Kraków - Easter music with a British focus

Held annually every Holy Week, Kraków’s Misteria Paschalia is one of the continent’s most vibrant early music festivals. With an increasing focus on international collaborations, the 2018 edition welcomed Edinburgh’s Dunedin Consort as artists in...

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Vivaldi's The Four Seasons: A Reimagining, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - a gentle exploration of life, love and death

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: A Reimagining – it’s not a title that trips off the tongue. Nor one, frankly, that inspires much excitement, with its clunky functionality and on-trend buzzword. But set that aside and buy a ticket immediately, because...

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Rinaldo, The English Concert, Barbican review - Bicket's band steals the spotlight

It was the work with which Handel conquered London, the Italian opera that finally wooed a suspicious English audience to the charms of Dr Johnson’s “exotic and irrational entertainment”. Three hundred years later, neither Rinaldo nor London’s...

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Orlando, La Nuova Musica, SJSS review - Handel painted in primary colours

The advertising for La Nuova Musica’s Orlando billed it as “Handel’s most psychologically complex opera”. Whether or not you agree (and there are plenty of heavyweight rivals – Alcina, Giulio Cesare and Agrippina just for starters) there’s also the...

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Kožená, LSO, Rattle, Barbican Hall review – springing surprises from Schubert and Rameau

Cheers and huzzahs greeted the arrival of Sir Simon Rattle on the Barbican stage last night before the London Symphony Orchestra had even played a note. The 10-day festivities to open his tenure as principal conductor evidently worked a treat. The...

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Orpheus Caledonius, Brighton Early Music Festival review - a thrilling meeting of musical clans

In 1725 a collection of some 50 songs was published by one William Thomson. You might not know his name, or even the names of the songs, but given the first bar of most I’m betting you could hum them from beginning to end. The work? Orpheus...

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