|Joyce DiDonato, Manuel Palazzo & Il Pomo Doro in In War & Peace at the Barbican. Photo credit is Mark Allan/Barbican|
Welcome to November on Planet Hugill, a month when rare opera seemed to be particularly to the fore. At the Guildhall School of Music & Drama there was a double bill of Stravinsky's Mavra and Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, whilst the first UK staging of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Simplicius Simplicissimus from Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells made for thrilling yet disturbing theatre. Less rare but no less welcome was the elegance and anxiety of Der Rosenkavalier at Opera North, conducted by the company's new musical director Aleksandar Markovic.
Brighton Early Music Festival
This year in Brighton we saw the spectacular, Gaia: Three intermedi for a living planet and heard Trio Goya in Springtime for the pian' e forte.
Simone Piazzola gave us a climax really worth waiting for at Rosenblatt Recitals, and we celebrated 20 years with Samling Artists new and old celebrate with The Seven Ages of Man. There was a highly theatrical & musical performance of Cavalli's La Calisto from La Nuova Musica.
In All Blood Runs Red, London Song Festival explored composers and poets from World War One, and the City Bach Collective celebrated 40 years of Bach cantatas in the City at the church of St Mary at Hill. There was beautifully musical account of Handel's Serse from the Early Opera Company at St John's Smith Square and a radical re-invention of the concert format in Joyce DiDonato's In War and Peace at the Barbican.
From our correspondent
Ruth went to two events at a weekend of exceedingly good taste at Kings Place. There was lots of taste but not much excess in music for Louis XIV, but the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier was the starting point for a concert of rare treats from Eamonn Dougan & friends.
Features and Interviews▪ From Tom & Jerry to Madama Butterfly and beyond, I chat to conductor John Wilson.
▪ Goehr, Knussen, Pelleas & more: I chat to conductor Jonathan Berman before his Ensemble Modern debut.
▪ Infinite variety: I chat to Anneke Scott about the French horn.
▪ From social realism to fairy tale: the background to Rimsky Korsakov's opera The Snow Maiden.
▪ An important waypoint in British operatic history: Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers.
CDs we have listened to▪ From Advent to Epiphany, my seasonal miscellany with carols, motets and more.
▪ Sisters are doing it for themselves, two discs of music for cathedral and collegiate girls choirs.
▪ BravurA: Gabriella di Laccio in Handel and Vivaldi.
▪ Boxwood and Brass: Music for a Prussian Salon - Franz Tausch in context.
▪ Re-discovering the saxhorn: The Celebrated Distin Family.
▪ Klaus Tennstedt conducts Wagner: Die Walküre live from the Royal Festival Hall.
▪ Concerto debut: Alexandra Dariescu in Tchaikovsky.
▪ The wit, charm and style of Fritz Kreisler recaptured by Daniel Röhn.
▪ Purer than Pearl: RVW rarities and discoveries.
▪ As the composer intended: Stravinsky's Mass from St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh.
▪ Roy Harris & John Adams: The American violin concerto from Tamsin Waley-Cohen.
▪ Sudden Light: Orchestra music by Mark Bowden on NMC
▪ Scientific theory: Magnetite, music by Emily Howard on NMC.
▪ Songs from our Ancestors: Ian Bostridge and Xuefei Yang.
I spent a lovely couple of days in Suffolk recording my songs with William Vann (piano), Anna Huntley (mezzo-soprano), Rosalind Ventris (viola) and Johnny Herford (baritone) for a disc to be released on the Navona label next year.
And on December 8, London Concord Singers, conductor Jessica Norton, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a concert at the Priory Church of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell, with a programme including world premieres of pieces by myself, Jessica Norton and Alison Willis.