Friday 20 January 2023

Out of the Shadows in Estonia: our programme of Robert Hugill's songs to be performed at the Glasperlenspiel Festival in Tartu in 2024

St John's Church, Tartu - home of the Glasperlenspiel Festival
St John's Church, Tartu
home of the Glasperlenspiel Festival
I am pleased to announce that Out of the Shadows will be presented in Estonia in 2024 at the  Glasperlenspiel Festival in Tartu. The evening of my songs including two new cantatas, performed by Ben Vonberg-Clark (tenor), James Atkinson (baritone) and Nigel Foster (piano), premieres at Hinde Street Methodist Church, London on 3 February 2023, and at the invitation of the festival's artistic director, Peeter Vähi, the programme will be presented in Tartu on 5 July 2024. Tartu is the European Capital of Culture 2024 and we are proud and privileged to be presenting this programme of my work (all Estonian premieres) at the festival.

Out of the Shadowsan evening of Robert Hugill's songs for LGBT History Month, features two cantatas, which receive their world premiere at our concert on 3 February 2023 alongside a programme of my songs creating something of a retrospective. The cantata Out of the Shadows takes us from the earliest tentative admissions of same-sex attraction, to cruising in a bath house in Imperial Russia to Walt Whitman's unashamed admission of his sexuality. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum moves between the certainty of the Latin creed, to explorations of cryogenics, the body-snatching of Burke and Hare and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, before resolving in the homoerotic pantheistic transcendentalism of Walt Whitman with its celebration of Death itself. Alongside these two will be a selection of my songs, from love songs and settings of Michaelangelo’s sonnets to a depiction of an AIDS candlelit memorial in Memorare.

The Glasperlenspiel Festival was founded in Tartu by composer Peeter Vähi and its name, which translates as 'The Glass Bead Game' comes from the novel by Herman Hesse. The festival, which is presented annually by Vähi's company Estonian Record Productions (ERP) is four days of classical and contemporary music presented in Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia and the home of the country's oldest university, the University of Tartu which was founded in 1632. It is also the birthplace of the Estonian Song Festivals, the first of which was held in Tartu in 1869 and they continue to be held every five years in Tallinn.

You can hear Out of the Shadows in London on 3 February 2023, full details from the EventBrite page.

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