Monday 6 May 2013

April on Planet Hugill - once more unto the breach with fireworks and damnation

In case you missed it.

April on Planet Hugill started with fireworks and finished with damnation. We opened with a visit to David Bruce's entrancing The Fire-work maker's daughter at the Linbury Theatre, and closed with Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust with Charles Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance so vivid it didn't need a staging. In between there was Michel van der Aa's Sunken Garden at the Barbican, with its amazing 3-D film, Walton's music for Henry V at the Temple Church on St George's Day and Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato at the London Handel Festival. There was a memorial concert for a much loved singer, Elizabeth Connell, at St. John's Smith Square.

In French mood, we went to Poulenc and Paris, one of City of London Sinfonia's CLoSer events at Village Underground, and Veronique Gens and Julius Drake gave us French song at the Inner Temple. Other recitals included Rustem Hayroudinoff at St. John's Smith Square, and Gaelle Arquez with James Baillieu in French and Spanish song.
We caught up with The Sixteen on their Choral Pilgrimmage at St. Alban's Cathedral, and both Alamire and Tenebrae appeared at Choral at Cadogan.
Feature articles included a look at the first piano in England and at Cherubini's reputation,
and I interviewed American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey who is appearing as the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne this year. I attended a fascinating one-day conference on What Makes a Good Libretto, organised by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Opera House, and went along to the inaugural Opera Awards. And I rejoined the Courtauld Gallery's pop up choir, performing Poulenc at the Picasso exhibition.
CD reviews included The Sixteen's Queen of Heaven boxed set, released to coincide with their Choral Pilgrimage, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu's disc of music for solo cello, Moto Perpetuo, Cherubini's influential but rarely performed rescue opera Lodoiska, Alessio Bax in Mozart Piano Concertos, Giles Swayne's magnificent organ solo Stations of the Cross and Rosenblatt Recitals from Lawrence Brownlee, Ailyn Perez and Anthony Michaels-Moore.

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