Friday 1 November 2013

November at the Barbican - Britten, Berlioz and more

Illuminating Britten
Britten is the main theme of November at the Barbican with a chance to hear a remarkable range of his music including two of his operas, Curlew River and Albert Herring plus new dance works to his music from Richard Alston. Valery Gerghiev and the London Symphony Orchestra embark on an odyssey through Berlioz's music, whilst the BBC Symphony Orchestra gives their first concert under their new director Sakari Oramo. The Guildhall School of Music and Drama presents an operatic double bill of Debussy and Donizetti, whilst their new Milton Court plays host to visits from Thomas Ades, Graham Johnson, Anne Sofie von Otter and their friends.

Illuminating Britten is the title of the Barbican's weekend of talks, films, discussions and performances celebrating Britten's centenary (8-10 Nov). Ian Bostridge is singing Britten's Our Hunting Fathers in a programme of Britten, Tippett and Purcell with Paul Daniel conducting the Britten Sinfonia (8/11). Bostridge is also performing in the staged version of Britten's Curlew River being performed at St Giles Cripplegate in a multi-media production directed by Netia Jones and conducted by William Lacey with Britten Sinfonia (14-16/11). Britten's War Requiem is performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Semyon Bychkov with soloists Sabina Cvilak, Andrew Kennedy and Roderick Williams (10/11, at the Royal Albert Hall).

Mark Padmore sings Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Pekka Kuuisto in a remarkable programme which includes music by Nico Muhly, Bartok, Erkki-Sven Tuur, Nordheim, Arvo Part, George Crumb and Berg arranged by Schnittke (24/11)

The Sixteen, conductor Harry Christophers, celebrate Britten's birthday with a concert of his unaccompanied choral music including Hymn to the Virgin (written when he was still at school) and Sacred and Profane (one of the last major choral pieces he wrote), plus the Five Flower Songs and the Hymn to St Cecilia. (22/11, at the Union Chapel)

Britten's opera Albert Herring is being given in a semi-staged performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steuart Bedford, with a strong cast including Christine Brewer, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Kitty Whately, Marcus Farnsworth, Adrian Thompson, Roderick Williams, Gilian Keith, Gaynor Keeble and Andrew Staples in the title role (23/11)

The Richard Alston Dance Company joins forces with the Britten Sinfonia to present an evening of dance to Britten's music with Richard Alston choreographing Britten's Les Illuminations, Lachrymae (in the version for string orchestra), Holderlin Fragments and Phaedra. The latter two have been commissioned specially by the Barbican (6-9 Nov)

The Aurora Orchestra will be performing Imogen Holst's orchestral version of Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb with Andrew Staples and the choir of Clare College Cambridge. They will be pairing it with Glen Cortese's arrangement of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (16/11). The full version of Mahler's song cycle will be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding, with Chistianne Sotijn and Burkhard Fritz (20/11) Harding also conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in the second act of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with Peter Seiffert, Katarina Dalayman and Christianne Stotijn (28/11)

Valery Gargiev and the London Symphony Orchestra are engaged on a Berlioz odyssey, performing works including  The Death of Cleopatra (with Karen Cargill), Harold in Italy (with Antoine Tamestit), The Damnation of Faust (with Olga Borodina, Michael Spyres and Ildar Abdrazakov), Romeo et Juliette, Symphonie fantastique, Les nuits d'ete (1,3,6,7,12,13,14 Nov)

Sakari Oramo gives his first concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra performing a new work by Tristan Murail, plus music by Shostakovich and Mahler (2/11)

The music that Nino Rota wrote for the films of Federico Fellin is celebrated in Armarcord Nino Rota with Carla Bely, Mike Gibbs, Karen Mantler, Kate St. John and many more (22/11).

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama are presenting an operatic double bill with Debussy's L'enfant prodigue (in fact a scena written for the Prix de Rome) and Donizetti's comic gem Francesca di Foix. Dominic Wheeler conducts and Stephen Barlow directs (4, 6, 8, 11 Nov) They are also presenting Iain Burnside's play, Journeying Boys about Britten's creation of Les Illuminations based on the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud. (8-10 Nov).

The Guildhall School's Milton Court is the venue for their Alumni Recital Series. On 5 November Thomas Ades is joined by Anthony Marwood (violin), Louise Hopkins (cello) and Matthew Hunt (clarinet) for a programme of Britten, Stravinsky, Gerald Barry and Ades's own music. And in the same venue, Graham Johnson is joined by Dame Felicity Lott, Adrian Thompson and Stephen Varcoe (7/11), Anne Sopfie von Otter is joined by Bengt Forsberg (piano) and Bengan Janson (accordion) (23/11)

Anna Projaska joins the Academy of Ancient Music directed by Richard Egarr at Milton Court for a programme of music by Locke, Purcell, Arne and Handel. (21/11)

Elsewhere on this blog:

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