Thursday 6 March 2014

In case you missed it!

Giovanni David
Welcome to February on Planet Hugill

Candle Light Theatre

February opened with a trip to the theatre as we went to see Webster's Duchess of Malfi at the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe, highly atmospheric with its candle lighting and imaginative use of music.


English Touring Opera launched their spring tour at the Linbury Studio Theatre with two 20th century operas, Michael Tippett's King Priam and Britten's Paul Bunyan.

We had two views of ENO's new production of Verdi's Rigoletto, with Hilary attending the first performance, whilst I attended a later one.

Mainly Choral

The English Concert performed Handel's oratorio Theodora, with Rosemary Joshua and Sarah Connolly, and Choral at Cadogan continued with a visit from the Belgian choir Vox Luminis in a programme based around Scarlatti's Stabat Mater.

Recitals and More

At the Wigmore Hall the Aurora Orchestra were joined by Andrew Gourlay, Jane Irwin and Andrew Staples for a programme of chamber sized Mahler, Shostakovich and Britten, prize-winning pianist Mei Yi Foo gave a dazzling lunchtime recital, the distinguished vocal ensemble Cantus Colln made their Wigmore Hall debut in an all Bach programme.

I was also lucky enough to attend the ISM's evening with Felicity Lott when she sang a selection of favourite songs, and talked about her career.

Hilary's adventures

Our contributor Hilary went to ENO's revival of Peter Grimes with Stuart Skelton in the title role, heard Oliver Zefmann and the Melos Sinfonia playing Panufnik and Myaskovsky and Nicholas Collon conducting the Philharmonia in RVW, Britten and Ades. She attended Londinium's latest concert Chansonnerie, and went to the Barbican's Total Immersion day on Thea Musgrave. At the Barbican Theatre she saw Opus, a remarkable combination of circus, dance and Shostakovich quartet.

In a Welsh vein

Hilary made the trip to Cardiff and saw all three operas in Welsh National Opera's Fallen Women season, Puccini's Manon Lescaut, Verdi's La Traviata and Hans Werner Henze's Boulevard Solitude. Still in a Welsh vein, I interviewed John Metcalf the artistic director of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival.

Guest posting

We also had a fascinating guest posting on the synthesizer from Simon Smith, who plays with the Red Note Ensemble.

CD listened to

CD listened to included a rare outing for Alessandro Scarlatti's Carlo Re d'Alemagna. In Russian mood there was 150 years of Russian Orthodox music from Harmonia Sacra and the Joyful Company of Singers released Rachmaninov's All Night Vigil. A re-issue of the live recording of John Tavener's The Veil of the Temple commemorated his death. There were two Estonian CD's, new work from Estonian composer Helena Tulve, whilst harpsichordist Guillermo Brachetta looked at the development of the chaconne and Arvo Part's Pilgrim's Song from Voces Musicales. The Berkeley Ensemble's Clarion Call gave us British music for septet and octet. Bass Alastair Miles released a disc of lieder by Wolf and Brahms. Joseph Nolan's series of Widor symphonies reached its conclusion. Pianist Tom Poster's recital disc concentrated on music inspired by song and dance, from Grieg and Gershwin to Kurtag.


Books reviewed included two books on opera in the UK, Opera in the British Isles 1875 - 1918, and a book about the life, career and recordings of the great pre-war tenor Walter Widdop.

Travesty roles and Rossini operas

In print, my article on women playing travesty roles (with interviews with Helen Sherman and Sarah Connolly) appeared in Classical Music Magazine. And I gave a lecture on Rossini's Neapolitan opera serias for Masterclass and Company.


This month's header image is the tenor Giovanni David who sang leading roles in a number of Rossini's opera seria in Naples. Please click on the links to take you to the relevant story on Planet Hugill.

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