Petroc Trelawny previews English National Opera's production of Vaughan Williams' rarely performed opera, Sir John in Love, and he delves into the peculiar world of the trombone as a new book is published charting the idiosyncratic development of the instrument.
In This Edition
Sir John In Love
Ralph Vaughan Williams' comic opera Sir John in Love was first performed in 1929 at the Royal College of Music in London , but didn't receive its first professional performance until 1946. Not long before his death in 1958, Vaughan Williams attended a revival of his opera at Sadler's Wells - on that occasion he was accompanied by the critic Michael Kennedy, who joins Petroc to describe the experience and to explain the appeal of this opera.
As English National Opera's new production of Sir John in Love is about to open in London, Petroc went to the Coliseum to talk with the director, Ian Judge and the conductor, Oleg Caetani, about putting on this rarely performed work. The conversation soon turned to this production being the first in which the controversial English language surtitles will be provided. Both Judge and Caetani have passionate views.
English National Opera's production of Sir John in Love is at the Coliseum in London , 2nd March - 1st April, and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Performance on 3 on 20th May.
The trombone has been a vital member of the brass family for centuries. First documented in the 15 th Century, and surviving a period in the 18 th Century when it all but disappeared, the instrument has a colourful history. Trevor Herbert's new book on the trombone traces its development and Petroc talks to the author about this instrument's defining characteristics. The virtuoso trombonist, Christian Lindberg, jazz musician Annie Whitehead, and journalist - and self-taught trombonist - John Suchet, also explain their enthusiasm for the instrument and its repertoire.
Trevor Herbert: The Trombone. Pub. Yale University Press . Hb. £25.
Matthew Barley and IF:06
It's an instrument with no name, but the composers Peter Wiegold and John Croft have devised a new way to plug a cello into a computer and improvise together. The cellist Matthew Barley demonstrates this new instrument as his playing is fed into a programme which responds immediately and unpredictably to create real music. The device is so good that it can respond and sound like a real musician. Wiegold and Croft have written two new pieces for the instrument which can be heard at this year's If Festival in London .
You can hear the two cello pieces by Wiegold & Croft in Hear & Now on 18th March at 11 pm
If Festival - 29th February - 9th April.
Sir John Tusa
chairman of Wigmore Hall and used to be on the board of English National Opera. He also works full-time running London 's Barbican centre, and he celebrates his 70 th Birthday in March. His views on the arts and the problems faced by arts organisations are a key part of his work. He talks to Petroc about his defence of English National Opera's decision to remove its former Artistic Director Sean Doran. He also criticises the way Government funded arts administrators now have to battle against interfering civil servants, and he considers how hard it is to recreate the artistic excitement of the post-war years.
Sir John Tusa's 70 th Birthday Concert takes place at Wigmore Hall on 3rd March.