Thursday, 6 June 2013

May on Planet Hugill - Silent lakes, rare Wagner and a great Handelian tenor

May on Planet Hugill was holiday month as we spent nearly two weeks walking in Montenegro to help set us up for what is proving to be a very busy June.
We started the month visiting Cambridge to see Handel's Atalanta performed by Cambridge Handel Opera, the performances being the group's swansong in their present form. And we finished by popping upstairs to the Cock Tavern in Covent Garden for Pop Up Opera's uproarious take on Donizetti's Don Pasquale.
Having heard Handel's L'Allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato at the London Handel Festival, it was fascinating to encounter Handel's setting of Milton again at the opening of this year's Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, performed by Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players. The Tallis Scholars celebrated both their 40th anniversary and Gesualdo's 400th anniversary with the final concert in this season's Choral at Cadogan.
The Arensky Chamber Orchestra made an auspicious debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Jennifer Pike as the soloist.
Nigel Foster's London Song Festival gave us an opportunity to hear all of Richard Wagner's songsincluding many of his rarely performed early ones, sung by Elisabeth Meister and Matthew Hargreaves.
Our guest reviewer Hilary Glover attended a selection of concerts at Nico Muhly's A Scream and an Outrage event at the Barbican.
We attended the launch of Voces8's new education facility, the Gresham Centre, and interviewed conductor Stephen Barlow to talk about the forthcoming Buxton Festival. The young pianist Viktor Bijelovic launched a kickstarter project for his striking new CD.
CD's reviewed included a disc of orchestral works by Stephen McNeff, violinist James Ehnes in violin concertos by Britten and Shostakovich with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kyrill Karabits, Sir Colin Davis conducting the LSO in Weber's Der Freischutz with Christine Brewer and Simon O'Neill, Riccardo Muti conducting Mercadante's comic opera sequel to Le nozze di FigaroI due Figaro, Jill Kemp performing music for recorder by English 20th century composers and Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch performed by Joan Rogers, Roderick Williams and Roger Vignoles.
Handelian's will be fascinated by Neil Jenkins' new biography of the great tenor John Beard, who created many roles for Handel.

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