Thursday 10 April 2014

In case you missed it - March on Planet Hugill

Arianna in Creta at London Handel Festival c. Chris Christodoulou

Musical March

March started in prison as we visited HMP and YOU Bronzefield for Pimlico Opera's terrific production of Sister Act, performed largely with a cast of prisoners. Still in a music theatre vein, we went to the Rosemary Branch Theatre to hear the premiere of Riptide: The Slasher Musical by Mark and Simon Nathan.

Operatic excursions

I returned to Covent Garden to catch the latest revival of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment with Juan Diego Florez and Patrizia Ciofi (along with a guest appearance from Kiri Te Kanawa). And I also caught the opening of English Touring Opera's Magic Flute, in Hackney as part of their spring tour. Chelsea Opera Group's took us to Verona for Bellini's re-telling of the story of Romeo and Juliet, I Capuleti et i Montecchi. Borodin's opera Prince Igor made a rare visit to London in the production by Novaya Opera. We also caught a look at Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten

Handel opera

One of Handel's operatic masterpieces Rodelina made it to the London Coliseum in a new production by Richard Jones inspired by film noir. One of his lesser works, Arianna in Creta, was performed at the London Handel Festival in a rather sympathetically imaginative production by Sarah Cadell.

A Puppet and a Goose

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama performed one of their largest scale opera productions with Jonathan Dove's Pinocchio. And ETO premiered their new schools' production at Kew Gardens, with Borka the Goose with No Feathers Russell Hepplewhite's opera based on the children's book.

Lunchtime concerts

Lunchtime concerts included pianist Sally Wigan's Wigmore Hall debut, and mezzo-soprano Hagar Sharvit at the London Handel Festival. At the National Portrait Gallery, the Portrait Choir performed Handel choruses interleaved with readings from soldiers in the First World War and the Zenobia Consort, with conductor Rupert Damerell, made a visit from their native Madrid to sing Victoria.

Recitals, a Hedgehog and a Centenary

At the Wigmore Hall, Florilegium celebrated CPE Bach's centenary, and tenor Giuseppe Filianoti gave a recital for Rosenblatt Recitals. Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and pianist Gary Matthewman were at Lied in London. Soprano Gillian Keith and pianist Stephen Barlow helped perform My Dearest Hedgehog, Henrietta Bredin's musical entertainment about Richard Strauss and his wife Pauline. At the Foundling Hospital Museum, tenor Rupert Charlesworth and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings gave a recital of arias and suites by Handel.

First Time Live and more in Grimsby

On a trip to Grimsby I managed to take in Alexandra Dariescu's performance of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto with Benjamin Pope and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Orchestras Live's First Time Live - Youth event there too (also with Pope and the RPO).

Things choral

John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers made a rare live appearance at the Cadogan Hall, whilst Scott Inglis-Kidger and the Platinum Consort performed at Holy Trinity Sloane Street.

From our contributor Hilary

Hilary attended Welsh National Opera's Fallen Women series in Cardiff, with a revival of David McVicar's production of Verdi's La Traviata, and new production of Hans-Werner Henze's Boulevard Solitude. She also caught up with ETO's Magic Flute catching an alternative cast to the one I heard, and Pop-Up Opera's lively performance of Bizet's Le Docteur Miracle. Classical Opera's latest foray into Mozart was his late masterpiece, La Clemenza di Tito as well as Covent Garden's new production of Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten.

Hilary also heard Flow my Tears by contemporary Scandinavian composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Elgar's Dream of Gerontius with Hilary Davan Wetton conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and massed choirs for his 70th birthday, Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo

CD's reviewed

CD's reviewed included Harrison Birtwistle's The Moth Requiem, Iestyn Davies and Richard Egarr in Purcell, a celebration of CPE Bach's centenary with his Magnificat, and music for two flutes with a French influence. There was a pair of counter-tenors in 18th century repertoire, with Max Emanuel Cencic exploring Johann Adolf Hasse, and Filippo Mineccia exploring Leonardo Vinci. Ina Siedlaczek and Hamburger Ratsmusik explored baroque cantatas by Telemann and his contemporaries, whilst La Petite Bande continue their survey of Bach's cantatas. The Tenebrae Consort performed a fine programme of plainchant combined with Thomas Tallis. Naive re-issued a brace of recordings of baroque Stabat Maters. Classical Opera's The A to Z of Mozart Opera also made a welcome re-appearance.
I explored the recorded legacy of soprano Isobel Baillie, remembered conductor Gerd Albrecht's recordings and attended the live launch of an historic recording of Andrzej Panufnik's Bassoon Concerto.

Further afield

I was featured in an exhibition at the crypt gallery at St Martin in the Fields, the Music Makers, which included photography by Joshua Hayes and artworks by Philip Surey. And my article on Rossini's Neapolitan operas was published, in French.

Competitions and Credits

Our March competition was to win tickets for Thierry Huillet's recital at the Institut Francais as part of It's All About Piano! Our current competition is to win a signed copy of Rosalind Plowright's new recital disc La belle Dame sans merci do visit our competition page to enter.

Our header photo this month is Tai Oney and Elliott Ross in the London Handel Festival's production of Handel's Arianna in Creta (photo credit Chris Christodoulou).

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