Tuesday, 17 July 2018

John Blow's Venus and Adonis in the North-East.

Samling Academy Opera - Venus and Adonis
John Blow's Venus and Adonis is considered as the first English language opera, written for performance at the court of King Charles II in 1683 when the role of Venus was played by the actress (and Charles II's former mistress) Moll Davies, and Cupid was probably played by Lady Mary Tudor (Charles' daughter by Moll Davies). The text, which has something of a feminist slant to it and uses Cupid's comic scenes to critique behaviour at court, is probably by the poet Anne Kingsmill (who became Countess of Winchilsea) or the poet and playwright Aphra Behn.

The work is an important pre-cursor to Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. But it has plenty of delights in its own right, and audiences in the North-East will get chance to sample them when Samling Academy Opera presents a double bill of Blow's Venus and Adonis and Purcell's Come ye sons of art, alongside the Dunedin Consort, conductor John Butt. Performances are at The Witham, Barnard Castle (20/7/2018) and at Sage Gateshead (26 & 277/2018).

The show will be directed by Samling Artist Miranda Wright, with choreography by Mandy Demetriou and lighting by Alex Edwards, and we are promised sumptuous period costumes.

Founded in 2012 in partnership with Newcastle and Durham universities and Sage Gateshead, Samling Academy is developing the next generation of classical singers in the North East of England. Young people growing up in the area as well as those who have chosen to study in the region benefit from training and performance opportunities, and the Academy aims to reach young singers who might otherwise never have their potential recognised and nurtured.

Full details from the Samling website.

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