ENO: Iolanthe

Arthur Sullivan  William Schwenck Gilbert                                                           
Conductor, Timothy Henty
Director, Cal McCrystal

 

Cal McCrystal directs a joyful new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious satirical fantasy, Iolanthe.

Opens Tuesday 13 February at 7.30pm at the London Coliseum (14 performances)

Acclaimed comedy director Cal McCrystal – the mastermind behind some of the most celebrated comic scenes in theatre (One Man, Two Guvnors) and film (Paddington,Paddington 2, The Dictator and The World’s End) – makes his ENO debut with a new production of Iolanthe. Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious satire on British government, law and society features a stellar cast, including comedy legend Andrew Shore, who has performed some of ENO’s most memorable roles. ENO Harewood Artists Samantha Price sings in the title role and Barnaby Rea performs as Private Willis.

The first Gilbert and Sullivan opera that ENO performed in January 1962 (on the day on which the D’Oyly Carte monopoly ended) – Iolanthe is a brilliantly funny, satirical fantasy, revealing a typically Gilbert and Sullivan topsy-turvy worldview. Phyllis and Strephon wish to marry, but as she is a ward of court she requires the Lord Chancellor’s permission. He, however, wants her for himself. With madcap fairies in the Palace of Westminster and honourable members of The Lords in Arcadia, when Strephon turns out to be the son of The Lord Chancellor and the exiled fairy Iolanthe, all is cast into confusion. Iolanthe is a joyful show featuring flying fairies, quarrelsome lords, an ensemble of quirky characters and even stand-up comedy. This brand new production marries opera with theatre and comedy like never before.

Following the huge success of Mike Leigh’s The Pirates of Penzance (which broke ENO box office records upon its premiere in 2015) and the enduring popularity of Jonathan Miller’s The Mikado (a true audience favourite that has been revived 13 times in 28 years), ENO has become the foremost exponent of imaginative, witty stagings of these timeless British classics. Cal McCrystal’s new production ofIolanthe, with Gilbert and Sullivan expert Timothy Henty leading the ENO Orchestra, looks set to further bolster ENO’s reputation as the premier home for the works of this great comic pairing.

ENO’s international reputation for working with exciting directors from across a wide range of artistic disciplines has offered a fresh perspective and unique approach. Cal McCrystal is the latest artistic talent to apply his skills to the world of opera. Previous directors ENO has worked with include Mike Leigh, Terry Gilliam, Anthony Minghella, Rufus Norris, Carrie Cracknell and Fiona Shaw.

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra

What better way is there to spend a chilly winter’s afternoon than by attending one of the Brighton Phil’s enjoyable Sunday afternoon concerts at Brighton Dome and being entertained and moved by wonderful music played by some very talented professional musicians. We are now half way through our current season (which runs from October to March) and thanks to a generous grant from the John Carewe Brighton Orchestra Trust, we are already planning our next season.

Over the next four concerts the orchestra will whisk Dome audiences away on a musical journey around the world and back and forth through the centuries with glorious music by the likes of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Sibelius, Malcolm Arnold, Delibes and Saint-Saëns as well as less well-known composers such as Alexander Arutunian, an Armenian whose fabulous Trumpet Concerto (which we perform on 4 March) is a real show-stopper.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Our first concert of the New Year takes place on Sunday 28 January when we are joined by Michael Collins, one of the foremost clarinettists of his generation, as both conductor and soloist. Those of you with long memories may recall he won the woodwind prize in the very first Young Musician of the Year in 1978 at the tender age of 16.

The concert opens with one of Haydn’s London Symphonies, Symphony No.102, one of twelve symphonies written in 1794 on a visit to England. Rarely performed, it opens with stately grace and progresses to joyous vigour, and is regarded as one of his finest symphonies in both scope and scale.
Michael Collins is both soloist and conductor in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, a work of exquisite beauty that has become one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire. Completed just two months before Mozart’s death for his friend, the clarinettist Anton Stadler, its tender slow movement has featured in the soundtracks of films such as The King’s Speech and Out of Africa and often appears in the top 10 of Classic FM’s Hall of Fame.
Beethoven’s elegant and expansive Symphony No.1 which completes this concert is clearly influenced by the composer’s teachers, Haydn and Mozart. First performed in 1800 (in a concert he arranged himself) it impressed the Viennese public with Beethoven’s incredible talent. The form of the symphony pays homage to his teachers whilst at the same time pushing the boundaries of symphonic composition.

Tickets (from £12-£38) are available from Brighton Dome Ticket Office in Church Road, in person, by telephone (01273) 709709, or online at: www.brightondome.org

50% discount for students and under 18s.

 

 

Fantasia ! Spring 2018

45 Minutes of Music

The Meeting House at University of Sussex

A series of informal concerts by D’Arcy Trinkwon

Last Wednesday – every month @ 12 noon

January 31 February 28 March 21* April 25 May 30

FREE ADMISSION  everyone welcome

 

January 31
Fantasia & Fugue in F KREBS
Fantasia in G minor PACHELBEL
‘Echo’ Fantasia SWEELINCK
Fantasia: Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland BRUHNS
Sonata quasi una Fantasia, Op.129 PEETERS
Fantaisie et fugue BOËLY

 

February 28
Fantasia & Fugue in C minor, BWV537 BACH
Fantasia in G, BWV571 Trio Sonata in D TELEMANN
Deux fantaisies ALAIN
Fantasia & Fugue on BACH LISZT

 

March 21
please note this is the penultimate Wednesday of March – not the last
Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, BWV542 BACH
Fantasia in C, BWV570 Echo Fantasia SWEELINCK
Fantasia in F minor & Major, K594 MOZART
Troisième Fantaisie, Op.157 SAINT-SAËNS
Fantasia on Mozart’s Turkish March WEINER

Bath Camerata: Bach St John Passion

Bath Camerata to perform JS Bach’s ‘St John Passion’ with world-class Evangelist, James Gilchrist

On Saturday 3rd February 2018 Bath Camerata will be joined by leading soloists and instrumentalists to perform JS Bach’s dramatic masterpiece, the St John Passion, in St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol.

James Gilchrist, a frequent soloist at the BBC Proms and one of the world’s greatest Evangelists, will sing the central role in this performance, alongside soloists Elizabeth Cragg (soprano), Robin Blaze (countertenor), Joshua Ellicott (tenor) and Giles Underwood (bass), all widely regarded as the finest interpreters of this music.

Accompanying the performance will be some of the best baroque players in Europe , led by Kati Debretzeni, Leader of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The St John Passion tells the story of Jesus’ last days; His betrayal, the denial, His burial and resurrection. It captures the drama, sadness and anger of the crowds, setting movements of vivid excitement against moments of startling beauty and compassion.

St Mary Redcliffe is a masterpiece of Gothic Architecture. Sited on the ‘red’ cliffs above the floating harbour for over 800 years, the church’s ancestry at at the heart of the local shipping industry is reflected in the carved bosses, elegant 18th century ironwork, beautiful stained glass windows, and in more contemporary pieces such as the chapel altar dedicated to St John.

Tickets are priced at £28, £22, £15, £10 with under 25s half price. A £45 VIP ticket includes reserved seating at the front of the nave, a pre-concert drinks and canapés reception in the church vaults and a concert programme. Tickets are available from Bath Camerata’s website site www.bathcamerata.co.uk or from St George’s Bristol Box Office on 0845 402 4001.

ENO: Satyagraha

Philip Glass’s operatic masterpiece returns to English National Opera, with Toby Spence leading the cast in his role debut

Opens Thursday 1 February at 7pm at the London Coliseum (7 performances)

ENO revives an iconic piece of contemporary opera, Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, in February. This critically acclaimed production from visionary director Phelim McDermott and Associate Director / Set Designer Julian Crouch (co-founders of Improbable) broke box office records for 20th century opera on its UK premiere in 2007, making it the most popular contemporary work to be performed by ENO.

Satyagraha, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘truth force’, looks at Mahatma Gandhi’s early years in South Africa and his development of non-violent protests as a political tool. The story moves back and forth through Gandhi’s life, with the flow of time, words and music creating a hypnotic, almost ritualistic experience. Each of the three acts depicts a spiritual guardian who is linked to the Satyagraha philosophy. Act 1 features Tolstoy, Act 2 the Indian mystic and poet Tagore and Act 3 Martin Luther King Junior, representing the past, present and future of Satyagraha.

Performed in Sanskrit, Satyagraha is the second of Philip Glass’s trilogy of operas about individuals who changed the world. The first was Einstein on the Beach (1976) and the third Akhnaten (1984) which had its UK premiere at ENO in 1985, sparking a special artistic relationship between Glass and the company. Contemporary opera and ongoing work with living composers are central to ENO’s mission, with four world or UK premieres staged by the company in the last twelve months.

Director Phelim McDermott is famed for his success in bringing Philip Glass’s works to ENO. For Satyagraha, he is reunited with conductor Karen Kamensek following their hugely successful production of Akhnaten in 2016, which won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. Phelim is a founder member of Improbable. He has won various awards, including an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment, TMA Awards for Best Touring Production and Best Director and a Critics Circle Best Designer Award. He was awarded a National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts fellowship and an Honorary Doctorate from the Middlesex University.

Associate Director / Set Designer Julian Crouch – a founder member of Improbable –collaborated with innovate design studio 59 Productions to create the stunning visuals. 59 Productions, who make a welcome return to the Coliseum after their work on numerous ENO productions including Two Boys as well as 2009’s Doctor Atomic and 2017’s Marnie,are famed for the video projection in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Distinguished London-born tenor Toby Spence sings the principal role of M.K. Gandhi for the first time, taking over from Alan Oke who has performed the role since the 2007 premiere. An ENO regular, Spence returns to the Coliseum having recently performed Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) at the Liceu Barcelona; Captain Vere in the Teatro Real’s new production of Billy Budd; and Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) and Antonio (The Tempest) for the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

A new Carol for Battle

We are used to new carols each Christmas but it is always good to find one which is not only locally sources but locally set.

In the early sixteenth century a monk in Battle Abbey wrote a Christmas carol on a leaf in his service book. It was recently rediscovered in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and, through the chairman of the Battle Historical Society, Stephen Page was commissioned to create a new setting for the text. It was given its premiere performance by Battle Community Singers at the society’s December meeting, where their MD Ailsa Vinson welcomed their accompanist Stephen Page to conduct the premiere.

The text had been tactfully transcribed into modern English by Charlotte Moore. Where the monk wrote sorrow increaseth, and envye is bold?/ When chereti is skantye and waxethe colde she changed the second line to When charity is scanty and does grow cold. She thought that if she had written waxes, people would not have understood as too often today waxing is something people do in beauty parlours.

Otherwise, the carol flows as its author intended. The monk’s topics seem surprisingly relevant. All fancy talk is not worth a straw?/ Where there’s no love which fulfills the law?/ Therefore in meeting where ye resort?/ Belie no man with false report. The chorus shows that the Christmas message itself hasn’t altered much in 500 years, Be merry all with one accord?/ And be ye followers of Christ’s word.