Divine Comedies - a double-bill
Gluck Philemon and Baucis (UK première)
Arne The Judgment of Paris
7pm, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July 2016, The Deanery garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire
5pm, Monday 29 August 2016, The Orangery, Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
7pm, Tuesday 13 September, St John's Smith Square
Conductor Paul Wingfield
Director Jeremy Gray
Continuing its enterprising exploration of Gluck’s little-known shorter operas, Bampton Classical Opera pairs the supremely lyrical Philemon and Baucis with a rare masterpiece by the greatest English eighteenth-century composer for the stage, Thomas Arne. Philemon and Baucis lead a simple but contented pastoral life, devoted to each other – but can they withstand the devastating appearance of mighty Jupiter, whose moodiness could well presage unexpected severe weather? How will Paris, a lowly shepherd, manage to choose between the rival beauties, Pallas Athena, Juno and Venus, and so award the glittering prize of the golden apple? Fasten your seat-belts for a supersonic ride to Mount Olympus, as the gods intervene in the lives of mortals!
Divine Comedies - pre-performance talks
Bampton - 4.30pm Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July, in St Mary's Church.
Westonbirt - 4.30pm Monday 29 August, in the Library.
St John's Smith Square - 6pm Tuesday 13 September, in the concert hall.
For who can wield like Shakespeare's skilful hand...?
A concert to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death
Benda Romeo and Juliet (excerpts)
Linley Shakespeare Ode
7.30pm, Tuesday 15 November
St John's Smith Square
The quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death in April 1616 is marked by rarely-heard music by two of the most expressive composers of the age of Mozart.
Thomas Linley the Younger (1756-1778) was a precocious composer who became known as the ‘English Mozart’: the two 14-year old composers met in Italy in 1770 becoming good friends. In his masterpiece, the remarkable Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare he evokes the supernatural atmosphere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth with music of extraordinary variety and exuberance. The Bohemian-born Georg Benda (1722-1795) composed perhaps the first and most controversial operatic setting of Romeo and Juliet. Again Mozart championed his delicate and sensitive lyricism and confessed with warm admiration that he kept Benda’s scores close by him. The company gave the UK première of this remarkable opera in 2007 and now presents an appealing selection of its glorious and sensuous music.