Sunday 22 February 2015

2015 Aldeburgh Festival

Snape Maltings
Three major contemporary composing talents form the centre-piece of this year's Aldeburgh Festival. The Cure a new opera by Harrison Birtwistle (80 last year) receives its premiere in a double bill with his opera The Corridor which was premiered at the 2009 festival. The festival also features a retrospective of music by Pierre Boulez, celebrating his 90th birthday, whilst George Benjamin (a mere 55) is artist in residence.

Both Birtwistle's operas have librettos by David Harsent, and both operas feature singers Mark Padmore and Elizabeth Atherton, and will be designed by Alison Chitty and directed by Martin Duncan.

There is a three-day celebration of Pierre Boulez's life and work, including the Piano Sonata No. 3 from Florent Boffard, Livre pour quatuor from Quatuor Diotima, Barry Gavin's film Pierre Boulez - Living in the Present and Gerard McBurney's A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez which mixes live performance with interviews and film footage.

George Benjamin's residency will feature not just his music, but he will be conducting the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the London Sinfonietta with premieres of music by Tom Coult and Saed Haddad, plus his own A Mind of Winter and At First Light. As a pianist he joins Pierre-Laurent Aimard (artistic director of the festival) for a chamber recital.

Of course, Benjamin Britten's music features strongly too with performances of Phedre with Christine Rice, Alice Coote performing songs, excerpts from The Prince of the Pagodas from the Britten-Pears Orchestra plus a film of Kenneth McMillan's magical stage version of the ballet. 

Full information from the Aldeburgh Festival website.

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