Bath, Brighton, Chipping Campden Festival, Stour Music, Cheltenham, St Endellion, Dartington International Summer School
When: 11-27 May
Bath & North East Somerset
Tel: +44 (0)1225 463362
There’s nothing new in festivals seeking to broaden their appeal. When Sir Michael Tippett stepped in as director of the Bath Festival he introduced a Blues Weekend with Led Zeppelin headlining. Fifty years on, the band’s former lead singer Robert Plant returns to the Recreation Ground as Bath celebrates its 70th birthday with an extended festival, eclectic as ever and boasting some 160 events.
In recent years it’s been launched by a free ‘party in the city’ channelling some 2,000 performers across more than 30 venues and open spaces. Last year over 20,000 people visited the seven-hour extravaganza which this year is relocated to the middle weekend on 18 May. Around it a programme with strikingly completist ambitions takes over the Georgian Assembly Rooms, fanvaulted Abbey and Art Deco Forum. The Gould Piano Trio looks after Schubert, ten ‘Coffee with Haydn’ concerts find Roman Rabinovich braving the complete piano sonatas, Lars Vogt and the Royal Northern Sinfonia tackle Beethoven’s five piano concertos across two days and baritone Roderick Williams enlists pianist Iain Burnside for all three Schubert song cycles.
Glorious one-offs include the conductor-less Spira Mirabilis performing Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, while Bernstein’s West Side Story lends a dash of Upper West Side New York to the Forum and the Marian Consort wraps Misereres by Allegri and James Macmillan around Palestrina, Victoria and a setting of the Stabat Mater by Gabriel Jackson. Add in piano recitals remembering the Debussy centenary from Jean-efflam Bavouzet and Stephen Hough and Bath makes quite a splash.
14 May Beethoven Symphony No. 7; Spira Mirabilis
15 May Macmillan Miserere, Allegri, Victoria, Jackson; The Marian Consort 17 May Debussy, Schumann; JeanE am-bavouzet (piano)
18, 20 & 22 May Schubert: the song cycles; Roderick Williams (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano)
18 & 19 May Beethoven complete piano concertos; Lars Vogt (piano, director), Royal Northern Sinfonia
Roman Rabinovich is set to play Haydn piano sonatas in Bath; (below) the city’s Georgian Assembly Rooms