Saturday 15 December 2012

Classical Opera - Messiah and More

Next Sunday, 23 December, Classical Opera will be performing Handel's Messiah at Wigmore Hall with a strong line-up of soloists. The advance information doesn't say which version they are performing, but whichever it is, there is the chance to hear the company's fresh and lively approach to a familiar work. And the scale will be right, Wigmore Hall being far closer in size to the sort of venue Handel first performed the work in. Soloists are Sophie Bevan, Christopher Ainslie, Allan Clayton and Jacques Imbrailo. Fitting them, the orchestra and chorus of Classical Opera onto the Wigmore Hall platform sounds rather a squeeze, but rather fun. The concert is the second in the company's enterprising 2012/13 London season under the direction of conductor Ian Page.

In January 2013 they will be back at Wigmore Hall with a programme based on Mozart's castrati. Mozart worked with a number of the leading castrati of his day and Classical Opera will be performing arias from Ascanio in Alba, Lucia Silla, Exsultate Jubilate, Mitridate re di PontoLa Finta giardiniera, Il re pastore, Idomeneo and La Clemenza di tito plus a concert aria, making us realise quite how much Mozart worked with the castrato voice even though it is not something that we associate him with. (Interesting nerd-ish fact, Meyebeer's Il Crociato in Egitto from 1824 was the last opera to ever feature a castrato). Their cast includes soprano Sarah Fox and mezzo-soprano

In March, Classical Opera migrate to St. George's Church, Hanover Square for a performance of Telemann's opera Orpheus as part of the London Handel Festival. The cast includes Eleanor Dennis, Jonthan McGovern and Alexander Sprague. Telemann wrote the score for Hamburg in 1726 and, as with most operas written for the Hamburg opera house at that period, it uses a variety of languages with arias sung in German, Italian or French depending on the context.

For their final London concert of the season they return to Wigmore Hall for Tales from Ovid. A fascinating programme of Dittersdorf, Gluck, Haydn and Mozart each covering a different tale from Ovid's influential metamorphoses with soprano Anna Devin, counter-tenor Christopher Ainslie and tenor Benjmain Hulet.

Further information from the Classical Opera website.

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