Archives for April 2009

Dream on ...

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Jessica Duchen Jessica Duchen | 10:54 UK time, Monday, 27 April 2009


Quarrel_of_Oberon_and_Titania_Paton_c1849.jpgI've been cheated out of this spring by the worst dose of flu I've ever had - hence long silence here on Felixcitations. Incidentally, I've developed a technique for making an olbas pastille last the entire length of Mahler's First Symphony.

Midsummer always falls earlier than you think, and though it's only April, the inevitable appearance in concert programmes of the Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream is becoming more frequent. And what a dream it is. This astonishing score, full of skittering insects, haunted groves and glimmering magical figures, remains, to my ears, as fresh and delicious today as it did when I first fell under its spell at the age of six or seven. I'm just back from a performance of the orchestral numbers by the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski, who would make rather a good Oberon himself! Beside Mendelssohn's perfectionism, concision, élan and focus, the Shostakovich Second Piano Concerto sounded like a harmless romp and Mahler's First Symphony - olbas pastilles or none - like an overblown Freudian case study at least half an hour too long!

It is, however, extraordinarily rare these days to hear the music together with the play. Every production wants to offer something new, usually with a brand new score, which of course is fair enough. But as Shakespeare's words and Mendelssohn's music work so very perfectly together it is - well, a pity that they're not presented in tandem more often.

So here's a date for your diaries: 5 May performance, 10 May broadcast. Well, 10 May broadcast, since the performance has been sold out for months - but Radio 3 will be conveying it to the widest possible audience, and there'll be a 'visualisation' (ie video webcast) as well.

In Middle Temple Hall, A Midsummer Night's Dream will blaze into light and context. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will be playing the music and actors will be performing the Shakespeare. Tim Carroll directs, Charles Hazlewood conducts - and Shakespeare himself is known to have performed in this venue in 1602. The evening is a reconstruction of a collaboration that brought the house down at the Royal Festival Hall four years ago.

The producer tells me: 'The problem for anyone trying to stage this amazing combination of words and music is that any attempt to evoke the forest visually seems doomed to failure beside the job that the writer and composer have already made of it. The Scherzo that takes us from Athens into the wood conjures up the scene so much better than any painted scenery could ever do. Thus this production makes no attempt to create a forest, but rather uses the one that is already available: the orchestra itself. Weaving in and out among the source of all these astonishing sounds, the eight actors will flit between the mortal and magical spheres at the flick of a switch - literally.'

The mind boggles - but they're letting me in to see it, so I shall report back afterwards. Meanwhile, do make a note to listen in on 10 May at 20:00, when the performance will be a high point of the BBC Radio 3 Mendelssohn celebrations. Of which, more very soon - the wall-to-wall Felix weekend is now coming up fast.

Purcell on film

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Rick Jones Rick Jones | 09:54 UK time, Monday, 27 April 2009


lucy_speed_as_nell_gwyn_sml.jpgNell Gwyn (1650-1687) has a meaty part in Tony Palmer's 'biopic' about Henry Purcell (1659-1695) -England, My England - which has just been released on DVD by Warner. It was made 15 years ago for Purcell's 300th anniversary but it is fatally slow in coming to the point in Charles Wood's and the late John Osborne's often eloquent but convoluted script. Michael Ball, the star of West End musicals, plays the grown-up composer, but doesn't appear until an hour has gone by.

Up to then it is all scene-setting with Simon Callow's sleazy King Charles swanning between the court, the theatre and the brothels in Restoration London. Lucy Speed pIays Nell Gwyn with the right sort of sharp-tongued, down-to-earth backchat for which the public loved her. An actress called Antonia da Sancha, who was mistress of a government minister at the time, also appeared as one of the king's mistresses - art mirroring life.

In fact the film further frustrates the story by occasional references to contemporary political events (Harold Wilson, an urban riot, some flag-burning) and a play-within-a-play device requiring us to watch actors playing actors putting on a performance of Bernard Shaw 's Good King Charles' Golden Days. Confused? You will be.

Problem is, there is just too llittle information about Purcell's non-musical life to create a film that uses his music as a backing score but resists actually talking about it except in the elementary layman's terms. 'Tis a catch Master Locke! The boy hath writ a catch!'

The music is beautifully performed by John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, the English Chamber Orchestra and others, but there is a constant tussle for prominence with the spoken word and the demands of the plot. It seems an attempt has been made to give everything equal weight at the cost of brevity.

This tendency to include all ideas is apparent even in the score where the Fire of London scene is accompanied not with Purcell, one realises with a jolt, but by abrasive, modern orchestral music. One thinks one has nodded off and woken in some disaster movie until one realises this is a DVD with nothing to follow. The credits reveal this was Walton's Symphony of the Air from his rejected Battle of Britain filmscore conducted by Neville Marriner on a Chandos disc. It is a bizarre intrusion.

Meanwhile, at Thursday's Shakespeare Birthday celebration in Southwark Cathedral, Arthur Smith drew a link from Nell Gwyn not to Purcell but to the Bard himself through her first lover, an actor and son of Shakespeare's nephew. The pianist James Rhodes, the dancer Amy Button and I then illustrated Arthur's narrative with three Purcell songs, a gavotte by Bach and an arrangement, again by Bach, of the slow movement of Marcello's Oboe Concerto. A crowd of a hundred turned up, laughed a few times and clapped enough for two bows at the end. K was there. Thank you to anyone else who came. I think we got away with Oh Solitude just about.

A feast of Handel

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Suzanne Aspden Suzanne Aspden | 16:50 UK time, Thursday, 23 April 2009


handel_fireworks.jpgI'm still recovering from Handel Week, and trying to catch up on all the listening that I inevitably missed. What a feast of Handel we've had - ingeniously and richly varied with something (one hopes) for every Handel-loving palate: something the gourmand Handel would himself surely have appreciated.

I've enjoyed listening to colleagues' contributions in The Essay, and the various other discussions and debates, but still more to the wealth of music. Performance on 3 has reminded us just how much Handel is being performed in all sorts of venues and by all sorts of groups this year. Choral Evensong on the 15th, which featured the massed choirs of Cambridge in Ely Cathedral recalled to my mind (in rather more refined fashion!) the vast choral festivals of the 19th century, where choirs and orchestras of thousands would gather to sing Messiah (and other oratorios) in celebration of the composer and of British organisational might!

We might think we've moved away from that religious/oratorio-dominated view of Handel, but I find the "Top 10" Handelbars particularly intriguing in that regard. Look at the list of 10 (14, because of all the tie-breakers), and you'll see that most of them are English-language, religious pieces. There are just two instrumental works (The Harmonious Blacksmith and the Water Music), and three from opera. Interestingly, one of these is present in an English version: no. 6 is 'Silent worship', really 'Non lo dirò col labbro' from Tolomeo. It was common even in Handel's days for certain popular airs (particularly instrumental minuets) to be 'Englished'. Later in the century, quite a few Italian opera arias were reworked in English, either for circulation as independent songs or to be inserted in composite 'new' 'Handel' oratorios. It's nice to see that practice reflected here. Otherwise, the two operas featured are stalwarts: Giulio Cesare and Xerxes. With stalwart singers too: Dame Janet Baker and Kathleen Ferrier.

Fortunately (I think!) the feast of Handel is not completely over. We continue throughout the year with the opera cycle. And we've reached that stage where we get to those great, well-known works. Last week it was Giulio Cesare - a work again featuring on Glyndeborne's programme this year. This week, it's Tamerlano, a work that is doubly curious for having a tenor in the important role of Bajazet, and for being substantially re-written before its premiere. Actually the two were probably linked: the tenor Borosini arrived in England after Handel had written the first version, with a different version of the libretto in hand, and Handel evidently took the opportunity to rewrite the work. Most notably and unusually, the new version avoids the standard lieto fine (happy ending) of opera seria, making for a powerful drama indeed. I won't give any more away...

After Dido ...

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Rick Jones Rick Jones | 16:58 UK time, Tuesday, 21 April 2009


after_dido.jpgI used to complain that the obtrusive camera spoiled concerts. Audiences became unduly excited about 'being on telly' and concerts which were not destined for broadcast by the visual media were somehow inferior. In the current production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas by English National Opera (ENO) and the Young Vic there are cameras all over the stage, transmitting the live action on to a screen above the proscenium arch.

The film however does not tell the story of Dido and Aeneas; that would be too easy. The action takes place in a drab, dingy flat somewhere in London. Purcell's opera comes out of a cheap radio, while the anonymous cast prepares a meal, lies depressed on a bed, washes up, sits listlessly at a desk, silently weeps real tears, or takes an overdose of sleeping pills at the moment Dido stabs herself.

Impressively, the actors are also the singers, the stage hands and the camera operatives. They sing the chorus numbers while fiddling with props and preparing for future scenes. One sees the faked reality on the screen and that reality faked on the 'live' stage below. This is an interesting, even engaging conceit at first but the novelty palls, the extraneous action, not to mention sound effects (everyone would have been livid if the audience had rustled paper bags over the music as the cast did) become an irritation and one longs for the straight unencumbered rendition. Susan Bickley sings Dido's Lament while being upstaged by someone setting up a camera. This is no way to treat the world's favourite Baroque aria.

The singing is good but one imagines it could be better without the all-too-clever staging, which was used incidentally for February's production of Blow's Venus and Adonis at Wilton's Music Hall. Concentrating on their duties - which is not the same as choreography - the singers' ensemble is poor at the entry to 'Cupid Only'. Bickley is in authoritative form, like a mother hen surrounded by eager chicks. Among these are Katherine Manley as a bright-toned, compassionate Belinda and Madeleine Shaw an enchanting First Witch. Adam Green is a warm baritoned Aeneas but one gives up even trying to understand how his role, insignificant in straight productions, fits the overall scheme. He is just an actor singing a song, a voice from the radio that we are only half listening to as we do the washing up and dream of suicide. If Purcell's opera cannot make the cast stop what they are doing and listen, it is hardly likely to have a better effect on us. It runs until Saturday with no show on Thursday, St George's Day.

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No joy with Odes ...

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Denis McCaldin Denis McCaldin | 11:21 UK time, Monday, 20 April 2009


Jane Anderson's section in Radio Times for 18-24 April is running a listeners' competition with Classic FM about which favourite 60 pieces of music are guaranteed to lift our spirits. The trouble is that she has asked six radio 'personalities' to kick-start the process!

There are six categories, some of which don't immediately connect with Haydn. Song from a musical, Aria from an opera, Film or TV soundtrack are categories that wouldn't be likely contenders. But more worrying is Jamie Crick's selection for Orchestral Music, which has none of the four composers being celebrated by Radio 3 this year.

At least Margherita Taylor's selection for Choral & Vocal music has two pieces of Handel - Zadok the Priest and Messiah and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's Chamber music & Concertos has Mendelssohn's Octet and Handel's Harmonious Blacksmith variations.

The shame is that no works by either Purcell or Haydn are suggested by these presenters. Listeners and bloggers can surely do better than this! We are all invited to vote for our own favourites in each category online at Nominations close on Monday May 11th. Let's do it!

Haydn after Handel

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Denis McCaldin Denis McCaldin | 00:45 UK time, Saturday, 11 April 2009


dennis_brain.jpgIt's quite natural that this first full week following the actual anniversary of Handel's death on 3rd April 1759 should be dominated by his fine music. Radio 3 seems to be doing him proud, which is OK - but it also means there is less room for others!
Haydn, for instance, gets nothing until Through the Night after Easter Monday - after which things pick up a little.
Wednesday's Classical Collection begins at 10.00 am with a Nikolaus Harnoncourt recording of Symphony No 30 in C - and by the end of the week, there is much more to enjoy, including two versions of No 31.

For example, two of my favourite Haydn quartets appear on Thursday - The Sunrise, and the Lark. We travel to last year's Music@Menlo festival for the Lunchtime Concert which concludes with the Escher Quartet playing Haydn's Op 76 No 4 (The Sunrise). I've talked about the business of nicknames for Haydn's works before, but this is one of the most appropriate. When you hear the leader's melody travel from the low G string to the top of the instrument, it's easy to imagine the sun climbing upwards in the morning sky, and see therefore how the quartet got its name. And as so often with Haydn's mature music, that's only the beginning! The theme is put through its paces, with a mirror version in the cello used as the 'second' theme, and a wonderfully doleful solo for the viola in the coda. If you're a night-owl, Through the Night has the other work I mentioned, Op 64 No 5 (The Lark) at 3.42 am.

Horn players are well served on Friday, with two versions of Haydn's famous Symphony No 31 (The Hornsignal). They begin and end the morning's Classical Collection.
I'm hoping James Jolly will have some interesting things to say about this amazing four-horn piece, and about the pioneering recording by Dennis Brain that opens the programme. Haydn at his imaginative best!


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Rick Jones Rick Jones | 11:47 UK time, Thursday, 9 April 2009


Having threatened to sing Purcell's Oh Solitude in Southwark Cathedral on Shakespeare's Birthday in three weeks, and in the absence of teaching supply work now that the Easter hols are here, I have begun to rehearse the immortal song. The words are by Katherine Philips and express the poet's yearning for 'places remote from tumult and noise', as if that were much of a problem in the 17th century. Could horses clopping and street traders shouting get on your nerves? What else was loud? Battle? The cannons of the Civil War? They still fought in fields back then. It is at least comforting to know that poets have always had similar concerns. Time is only relative.

The poet is hardly well-known. She was born Katherine Fowler in Buckerlersbury, London EC4, on 1st January 1631 and soon proved to be a prodigious scholar at the famed Mrs Salmons Presbyterian School in Hackney. She had read the whole Bible by the time she was 5, was brilliant at languages - particularly French - and could quote the vicar's sermon back at him when they met at church every Sunday. As the daughter of a devout Presbyterian she prayed regularly and aloud, perhaps so that her father could hear her. He died when she was eight and after her mother remarried a Welshman, a baronet dont'ya know, she found herself living in the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire, Wales. 'What content is mine to see those trees,' she writes in Oh Solitude.

At 17, she marrried James Philips, a Welsh Parliamentarian MP living in Cardigan, just up the coast. At about 20, she and her husband formed the Society of Friendship, a literary salon, what we would call a book club, in which the members discussed 'poetry, religion and the human heart'. These were hot topics in 1651, when the country, after a long and bloody Civil War, was just getting used to being called a Commonwealth with no king and only Parliament in charge.

Half the members of the Society of Friendship, it seems, were Londoners, some of them old girls from Mrs Salmon's educational establishment who found themselves in a similar position to Katherine Philips. Even the school's music teacher, the composer Henry Lawes was peripherally involved. Everyone adopted a Latin name - Orinda, Antenor, Lucasia, Ardelia, Rosania, Regina, Valeria, Polycrite (which was probably promounced perlickritty), Palaemon, Silvander, Poliarchus - which gave them anonymous equality. The group was productive. Rosania (Mary Dering) was the frirst Englishwoman to publish music in her name. Orinda (Katherine Philips) wrote poetry and letters in profusion, especially to Poliarchus (Sir Charles Cottrell) who had confessed his love for Calanthe (identity unknown) and Lucasia, (Anne Owens of Landshipping) whose intended marriage was called an 'apostasy' by Orinda. The letters are passionate, but the feelings noble. The Platonic relationship was a Renaissance theme enthusiastically discussed and upheld as an ideal by the group.

The matchless Orinda, as the literary world knows her, made the long trip to London occasionally, generally in company with her husband while he was at Parliament, but later alone in pursuit of business affairs which he had neglected. Her poetry was known if not published. She wrote movingly about the death of her child in 1654. She was compared with Aphra Behn, albeit at the other end of the scale of respectability.

Although she had been brought up by and married to puritans and parliamentarians, she had become convinced of the royalist cause which stood her in good stead at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1659 when she was 28. Charles and his brother the Duke of York may have preferred the bawdy theatre but the Duchess was impressed with Orinda's work and called for more to be written. A large collection of her poems came out in 1663 but Philips complained that it was full of mistakes and it was withdrawn and published only posthumously.

Henry%20Vaughan admired her and so did Keats 150 years hence. She tapped a profitable seam in translation and her English version of Corneille 's Pompee was staged in Dublin in 1662 when she was there on another extended business trip. In 1664, after a protracted argument about the postal service in West Wales, she caught smallpox and died. Her career was just taking off.

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Handel walks

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Suzanne Aspden Suzanne Aspden | 15:14 UK time, Monday, 6 April 2009

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I'm very pleased Handel week occurs when it does (geared around the actual anniversary we're marking - the 250th of his death on 14 April 1759). It's terrific, of course, to celebrate Handel's music at Easter time, which marked the culmination of his Lenten oratorio season, which was in turn so strongly associated with the composer's posthumous reputation.

But my reasons for appreciating this choice of dates are entirely selfish, to do with the glorious spring sunshine we're having at present. Last week I spent two long days walking the streets of London, recording a set of ten 'Handel calling cards', at various locations which would have been significant to the composer. These are to be played between the concerts in the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) Handel Day on 19 April, as five-minute vignettes on the composer's life.

One thing that struck me in the process is just how small London was in those days. When Handel moved to Brook Street (just below Oxford Street, in Mayfair) in 1723, it was part of a new building project on the outskirts of the city: it was still possible to shoot game birds at the end of Handel's street! From there, it took us a few minutes to walk to St George's, Hanover Square, and only another ten or so to get to the Royal Academy (Burlington House, home of Handel's patron in the 1710s, the Earl of Burlington). Again, from there it was just a few minutes to the Haymarket, and about ten minutes to St James's... And so on.

Of course, Handel may not actually have walked very much of this route: as John Gay recounted in his Trivia: or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London (1716), these were perilous places to wander, with the lack of pavements, the open sewers, and the crowds of hawkers and beggars (or worse). But it must also have been exhilarating. Why else would a composer with globetrotting tendencies have chosen to stay?

The Third Piano Concerto hits London

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Jessica Duchen Jessica Duchen | 11:36 UK time, Monday, 6 April 2009


roberto_prosseda_photo-multigram.jpgIt turns out that R Larry Todd isn't the only person who has had a go at resuscitating and rounding off Mendelssohn's Third Piano Concerto. On Saturday night the piece enjoyed its UK premiere in the form given to it by the Italian Felixophile composer and conductor Marcello Bufalini, with a stunningly beautiful and sympathetic performance from the pianist Roberto Prosseda. The London Philharmonic was conducted by its new principal guest maestro, Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

So what's it really like? I can hear Larry's point about the opening movement's resemblance to the Violin Concerto theme: the contours are similar, though the piano concerto's is less sinuous and atmospheric, instead appearing in march-like mode that resembles some of Mozart's opening movements. Mendelssohn and Bufalini keep their soloist exceedingly busy: there are as many notes as you'd expect in either of the two complete concertos, a challenge to the best virtuoso. The transition to the second movement is similar to the Violin Concerto, but takes place rather more rapidly.

The second movement itself is by far the highlight: a haunting, Italianate gondola-song that appears first on two oboes, later returning on two clarinets. Hear this movement if you get the chance: it's so beautiful that, if Mendelssohn had placed it among his Songs Without Words rather than in an incomplete concerto, it might have become one of his most popular.

While Larry lifted the Violin Concerto finale to complete the concerto, Bufalini has gone down a different route, taking what few sketches Mendelssohn left and working them out himself into a high-spirited, fingerglittering finale that wouldn't feel out of place in a film of a Jane Austen novel. Masterfully accomplished, all things considered. And so great to have a chance to hear it.

It's intriguing to learn that apparently Prosseda has exclusive access to the performance of the Bufalini version; apparently it was the pianist who viewed the manuscript in the Bodleian Library and persuaded Bufalini to take on the task of reconstruction. Imagine being the only pianist permitted to play what is effectively a brand-new work by Mendelssohn! He deserves it: he's a superb performer and has made the piece entirely his musically as well as contractually. After this, and his appropriate encore of the F sharp minor Song Without Words (also a Gondola number), I would very much like to hear him again.

Meanwhile Radio 3 is gearing up towards the highlights of Mendelssohn year, with major events on 23 April and over the first weekend of May... Check back here soon for the details.

The BBC Philharmonic meets Haydn

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Denis McCaldin Denis McCaldin | 10:46 UK time, Monday, 6 April 2009


Haydn_Seven_Last_Words_manuscript.jpgDiscovering Music on Sunday 5th April devoted 90 minutes to two wonderful later works by Haydn, the Symphony No 98 in B flat and the F minor variations for piano. Stephen Johnson is always a very perceptive guide in this programme strand and with the BBCPO, they explore this fine work written towards the end of the composer's first London visit. The premiere was on 2nd March 1792. Nicholas Kraemer conducted, and, as a well-known harpsichordist, also performed (actually on a fortepiano) the unexpected 11-bar keyboard solo in the finale just as Haydn himself did at the premiere. No one knows quite why he added this feature, so any ideas would be more than welcome.

Also in the same programme, the fortepianist Matthew Halls played the Variations in F minor. One of Haydn's last works for solo keyboard, it is a magisterial set of variations based on his favourite model, in which major and minor alternate. The last pages are an astonishing coda, extending the scope and harmonic range of the music well beyond the good-mannered conventions of the genre.

At 2.00 pm through the first part of the week, the BBCPO are the featured orchestra, reprising performances of Symphony No 8 (Le Soir) under Kraemer on Monday, the curious Overture: Windsor Castle conducted by Grant Llewellyn on Tuesday, and Symphony 88 in G on Wednesday.

Finally, in Holy Week, there is nearly always a chance to hear some of The Seven Last Words. I shall definitely be listening out for the rather enterprising choice of items for string quartet/fortepiano/orchestra by Sarah Walker in Classical Collection on Maundy Thursday, April 9 at 10.08 am.

Hearing loss at Royal Opera Dido

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Rick Jones Rick Jones | 11:15 UK time, Wednesday, 1 April 2009


roh_acis_deniese_workman_photo-bill_cooper.jpgIt is always slightly awkward to be caught in the wrong seat, at Covent Garden especially, although when this happened to me last night, my real place was actually an improvement so it felt like I'd been upgraded to Business Class when the real owner arrived. In fact, I was now in line with two Conservative former office-bearers whose mistresses had embarrassed their governments, a coincidence that helped set a distinctly Restoration atmosphere!

A pity then that this production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas lacks bawdiness. It was all rather sober. The chorus sang 'bouzy' to rhyme with 'lousy' when everyone knows it's boozy rhyming with floozie. Are we suddenly ashamed of drunkenness? Purcell's contemporaries were proud of it. The sailors' touching demeanour as they 'took their leave of their nymphs on the shore' was too warm and tearful to suggest they were 'never intending to visit them more'.

The designs are drab. Everyone is clad in shades of grey. This is especially hard on Aeneas who has little enough in his part to suggest anyone might commit suicide for love of him and could do with a few peacock feathers. Added to this, American baritone Lucas Meachem in the role has rather woolly tone. Sarah Connolly as Dido, suffering from a throat infection, sang on gamely and did her best to convince us of her desperation but she seemed more tired of life than of love. She achieved a real pathos in 'When I am Laid' but even this was spoiled for people in my vicinity by the high-pitched whistle of a malfunctioning hearing-aid.

The star of the show was soprano Lucy Crowe as Belinda who sang deliciously, ornamented her runs with a conniving smile and showed genuine, sobbing compassion for her mistress at the awful moment. Hard on her heels was Sara Fulgoni's Sorceress with Eri Nakamura and Pumeza Matshikiza as scary First and Second Witches made up as Siamese twins. The dancers of the Royal Ballet were dressed in 1930s gym kit and were a delight to watch throughout, their moves owing as much to jazz dance, disco, robotics, circus contortionism as classical ballet.

Handel's Acis and Galatea overfills the second half. It is not an opera at all, but a sequence of themed numbers connected by the briefest recitative intros. Director Wayne MacGregor runs out of ideas as to how to stage these after a while, the idea of a singer singing them while a solo dancer dances them sufficing for item after item. Several should have been cut. Soprano Danielle de Niese sings Galatea but we have to wait for the final number for her to display her double talent as a dancer too. This was how she made her sensational name in Glyndebourne's Julius Caesar three years ago. One could not believe a leading soprano could be so lissome and agile. It did not help that she and her Acis, sung by Charles Workman in a querulous tenor, were dressed in overcoats at the start for no good reason. They looked somewhat at odds with the corps de ballet who wore nothing but flesh-toned body-stockings to the initial tittering of a section of the crowd. Matthew Rose sang Polyphemus with less force than he will when he is over his throat infection for which he too begged understanding.

Christopher Hogwood conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in both the Purcell and the Handel and in truth they are the real winners of the evening even if the dancers do not allow them to play at quite the lick they would like to in some of the dances. It's a long evening and quite a serious one with neither boozy fun on stage, buxom orange-sellers in the interval or cards or conversation in the boxes anymore.

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