Thursday 16 June 2011


Some days extraneous events conspire to run interference with your appreciation. Last night we were due to go to the concert as part of Spitalfields Music, where I Fagiolini and the English Concert were performing Purcell's King Arthur. We arrived at Christ Church Spitalfields to find the church closed up. A small huddle of puzzled people stood in front of the railings wondering where the concert was. After a little research we found it was at Shoreditch Church. Rather frustratingly, the tickets gave no venue information, which is a lesson to us all.

We managed to find a cab, and arrived at St. Leonard's Church, Shoreditch in plenty of time. The seating was pre-numbered and we were sitting in the centre of the nave. There was quite a bit of confusion, it looked as if someone was sitting in our seats and of course, in the confusion I managed to spill a glass of wine! It turned out that the seats had been allocated rather ambitiously regarding spacing, which meant that the audience had to sit alarmingly, uncomfortably close.

So what of the performance. Well, its a bit difficult to be certain as even when the performance started the lively and vocal enjoyment of one of my neighbours rather inhibited my own. So I felt rather grumpy and found it difficult to concentrate on the rather fine Purcell. Though it didn't help that the spoken drama had been replaced by a humorous narration by Kit Hesketh Harvey; Dryden and Purcell's King Arthur isn't a comic piece, but inevitably the audience found Hesketh Harvey rather funny and this spilled over into the performance. Exit one rather grumpy critic!

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