The Lottery was a smash hit in its day and when the period instrument group L'Avventura London put on a concert performance of music from ballad operas in 2013, it was received enthusiastically. The Lottery tells the tale of a beautiful but foolish country girl who is seduced by the bright lights of London, defrauded by a crooked stockbroker and taken in by a confidence trickster. The subject was probably close to Fielding's heart as his family were almost bankrupted by a dishonest stock-broker.
|Hogarth's frontispiece to|
The Tragedy of Tragedies
Perhaps because of its mongrel background, mixing new plots with existing music, ballad opera does not get much of a look-in nowadays with the exception perhaps of The Beggars Opera. But it was a lively and popular form, something of a staple for many London theatres in the 18th century. Ballad operas were the staple of the great Handelian tenor John Beard (for whom Handel wrote the title roles in Samson and Jephtha). Beard performed the role of Lovemore in The Lottery at Drury Lane in 1738 and the piece would feature regularly in Beard's performances throughout his career.
So it is highly welcome that Bury Court Opera and L'Avventura London are giving us a prime example. The Lottery is being performed at Bury Court Opera, on the Hampshire/Surrey borders, on 28 February and 2 March. They are also presenting Purcell's The Fairy Queen in a production directed by Julia Burbach and with the Southbank Sinfonia (22 Feb, 26 Feb, 1 March).
Further information from the Bury Court Opera website.
Elsewhere on this blog:
- Clarion Call: Music for Octet and Septet - CD review
- See it if you can: ETO in Tippett's King Priam
- Mei Yi Foo: Lunchtime recital at Wigmore Hall
- Chansonnerie from Londinium
- Dance away: Ciaccona from Guillermo Brachetta - CD review
- Luminous: Vox Luminis at Cadogan Hall
- Forgotten tenor: Walter Widdop - Book review
- Three generations: Philharmonia Orchestra in RVW, Ades and Britten
- Arboles lloran pro lluvia Music from Estonia composer Helena Tulva - CD review
- Serenade: Aurora Orchestra at the Wigmore Hall
- Fine inner life: Handel's Theodora at the Barbican
- Women as Men, my article on Classical Music Magazine
- Astonishing: Tavener's Veil of the Temple - CD review