Brighton Early Music Festival taps into topical theme with 2018 programme celebrating Europe


“If it’s Early Music you’re looking for, then get yourself down to Brighton”   Classic FM
Brighton Early Music Festival is bringing 700 years of music from 17 European countries to Brighton this autumn*.  Taking its inspiration from a somewhat topical theme, the 2018 Festival explores Britain’s long and often tempestuous relationship with the rest of the European continent from medieval times onwards.  Artistic Director Deborah Roberts says: “In this of all years it seems only right to celebrate and explore Britain’s relationship with Europe over the centuries, through programmes highlighting important events, collaborations and even conflicts of the past.  Some of these stories will have a striking familiarity, and we are hoping to spark stimulating discussion and a sense of exploration as well as presenting a glorious selection of music from around Europe.”
Festival highlights include music from the 13th-century Lewes Priory Breviary performed by Spanish ensemble Resonet and BREMF Community Choir (St Bartholomew’s Church, 28 October); music by Reformation Remainers Tallis and Byrd from BREMF Consort of Voices (St Bartholomew’s Church, 10 November); festive music for an 18th-century  Swedish royal wedding (St George’s Church, 2 November); and choral & orchestral music for peace by Charpentier, Handel, Purcell and Delalande to celebrate Armistice Day, with a stellar line-up of young soloists including Handel Singing Competition winnerHelen Charlston (St Martin’s Church, 11 November).  Royal Wedding soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny will perform songs reflecting Elizabeth I’s marriage prevarications in a ‘Game of Thrones’ (St Paul’s Church, 27 November).
Continuing the Festival’s track record of staging early operas (recently featured in BBC Four documentary Unsung Heroines presented by Danielle de Niese), the 2018 Festival includes a double bill of early Italian and English opera.  Monteverdi’s Ballo delle ingrate and Blow’s Venus and Adonis are directed by Thomas Guthrie, with a cast of some of the best young vocal talent emerging on the scene, and street dance choreographed by J P Omari(The Old Market, 6-8 November).
Strongly committed to developing and mentoring young artists, the Festival features a showcase of emerging ensembles who are part of the Festival’s Early Music Live! young artists’ scheme (St Paul’s Church, 3 November), as well as appearances by ensembles whose early careers were developed by the scheme (Fieri Consort, 9 November; Lux Musicae London, 4 November; Flauti d’echo, 10 November).
Tickets on sale from 10 September at or 01273 709709.  See full concert listing at or call 01273 833746 to join the mailing list.