Rehearsals are underway for a performance in February of Purcell’s ground-breaking Dido and Aeneas by the University Cecilian Choir,String Sinfonia and soloists.
Driven by characterful choruses, the Chorus has a significant role to play throughout each of the acts. Whether courtiers to the Queen, a coven of witches or lusty and infidelious sailors, the Choir will have a major part to play in the gradual unfolding of the witches’ nefarious scheming to come between the Queen of Carthage and the Trojan prince…
The Choir has been working hard in rehearsals each week, and is here captured getting into character as palace courtiers for the start of Act I.
Soloists in the opera are drawn from the Choir, including third-year Music Scholar, Fleur Sumption and first-year Felicity Bourdillon, seen here in an earlier rehearsal for Acts I and II.
Next week brings a brace of Baroque performances from some renowned musicians to Colyer-Fergusson.
Our new Lunchtime Concert series launches next Wednesday with a recital from Baroque recorder specialist, Naomi Okuda Wooderson, accompanied by Tom Foster; the programme includes Bach, Telemann and Handel, and features our new harpsichord in its first formal outing. Admission is free, with a retiring donation.
The Baroque theme continues at the weekend with a performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas under the direction of distinguished performer and conductor, Trevor Pinnock, in a preview of the concert which will be appearing at London’s Wigmore Hall the following week. The chorus for the performance is none other than Tenebrae, one of the country’s foremost vocal ensembles; the concert also promises a Purcellian miscellany of songs and dances.
Details about both concerts can be found on our What’s On page online here. To whet your appetites, here’s Sarah Connolly singing that famous lament…
The University Camerata and Cecilian Choir teamed up for yesterday’s final lunchtime concert of the term, with Vivaldi’s Winter and Purcell’s ‘Frost Scene’ from King Arthur.
Soloist in the Vivaldi, Jeremy Ovenden brought out the brittle, biting aspect of the piece in a strong, confident reading, and the Camerata responded with suitable fragility in the sul ponticello passages.
Making her debut at the Gulbenkian, Music Scholar Paris Noble cast a bright flame as Cupid, scolding the Cold Genius (a welcome return for alumnus Piran Legg) and bringing on a chorus of Cold Revellers to warm them up and spread love throughout the arctic countryside.
The Cecilian Choir, looking suitably chilly in winter hats and coats (there had been a fire-alarm that morning, so the musicians ended up waiting outside the Theatre for a while – true method-acting, as one of the altos wryly observed), shambled on before casting aside their winter attire for a heroic closing chorus.
Pictured also is the fine harpischord brought in for the concert (Christmas truly came early for me this year), a Ruckers-Hemsch copy by Ian Tucker, based on an instrument from 1763, which had a soundboard decorated identically to one owned by Handel. Many thanks to Edmund Pickering for delivering and tuning the instrument.
Bravo to all involved: a concert to ‘warm’ the heart…
Next Monday, the University Camerata and Cecilian Choir join forces to perform Vivaldi and Purcell in the last of this term’s Lunchtime Concerts.
The Red Priest’s enduringly-popular Winter, a vivid depiction of the season in its brittle textures, moves in its three movements from shivering amidst winter’s harsh wind to the warmth of sitting by the fire, whilst the last movement portrays racing across the ice before it cracks, seeking refuge behind a bolted door whilst winter’s chill fingers reach through the cracks. The violin soloist will be Jeremy Ovenden, leader of the Symphony Orchestra.
The Cecilian Choir will then join the Camerata for the ‘Frost Scene’ from Purcell’s King Arthur, in which Cupid (sung by second-year Music Scholar and soprano, Paris Noble) battles the Cold Genius (baritone and alumnus, Piran Legg) and his wintry revellers to bring warmth and dance to the frozen scene.
The concert begins on Monday 5 December in the Gulbenkian Theatre at 1.10pm; admission is free, with a suggested donation of £3.
Here’s a little taster of the Vivaldi, featuring a live performance by the Trondheim Soloists…
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.