Tuesday 9 November 2021

Dr Haydn's London Academy: Sir Roger Norrington bid farewell to the podium with a final concert with the Royal Northern Sinfonia

Sir Roger Norrington (Photo Manfred Esser)
Sir Roger Norrington (Photo Manfred Esser)
In the early 1980s I went to a performance in the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh where Roger Norrington conducted the London Classical Players in Heinrich Schütz's Musikalische Exequien. It was one of the defining performances of my early concert-going, and helped consolidate my love of historically informed performance. In London in the 1980s, Norrington's weekend experiences at the Queen Elizabeth Hall would be ways of exploring repertoire deeper, from Purcell's King Arthur to Mozart's The Magic Flute to Berlioz and Wagner (when the soprano booked to sing the Liebestod famously did not turn up!). Throughout these events, Norrington's was an engaging yet informed presence, his enthusiasm encouraging us to explore. This sense of exploration continued as he worked with other ensembles.

Now, Sir Roger Norrington has announced his final public concert. On 18 November 2021, he conducts the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage Gateshead in Dr Haydn's London Academy, a recreation of one of Haydn's London concerts from the 1790s, where symphonic movements are broken up with songs and chamber music.

Joining Norrington and the orchestra in this evocation of 18th century concert going will be soprano Susan Gritton and forte-pianist Steven Devine, who will perform two sets of Haydn's Canzonettas, written in London during his visit. The movements of the ‘Drumroll’ Symphony will be broken up not only by songs, but also Haydn’s String Quartet Op.76 No.5 featuring players from the orchestra. Bringing the academy to a close will be one of the composer’s best loved symphonies, No.101 ‘The Clock’.

The concert will be streamed live and available for 48 hours following the broadcast. Full details from the Royal Northern Sinfonia website.

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