BBC Music Magazine

Live choice

Paul Riley picks the month’s best concert and opera highlights in the UK


LONDON Handel’s Semele

Alexandra Palace Theatre, 2 May Tel +44 (0)871 220 0260


Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi celebratio­ns in 2017 must have whetted his appetite for touring opera. This spring the conductor takes Handel’s Ovidinspir­ed Semele around Europe, including to the newly restored Victorian theatre at Alexandra Palace (see ‘Venue of the month’, left). Louise Alder sings the title role in a concert-staging by Thomas Guthrie.

Le Concert de l’hostel-dieu

St John’s Smith Square, 11 May Tel: +44 (0)20 7222 1061


As part of London Festival of Baroque Music, this Lyonbased ensemble celebrates the 400th birthday of the Venetian composer, poet and singer Barbara Strozzi with a lateevenin­g postscript to The Bach Players’ earlier dance-themed concert. Laments and songs by Strozzi are set alongside music by near-contempora­ries including Francesca Caccini and Isabella Leonarda.

Henze’s Phaedra

Royal Opera House, 15-20 May Tel: +44 (0)20 7304 4000


The seismic fall-out from

Cretan princess Phaedra’s love for her stepson Hippolytus furnished Hans Werner Henze with the material for his final opera, premiered in 2007. Noa Naamat’s production showcases the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists, and Edmund Whitehead conducts Southbank Sinfonia.

Sound Unbound

Barbican, 18, 19 May

Tel: +44 (0)20 7638 8891


As if May visitors such as the Santa Cecilia Orchestra or mezzo-soprano Joyce Didonato weren’t enough, the Barbican spills out across Culture Mile for a free festival straddling some 100 sessions, over 800 years of music and artists ranging from The Academy of Ancient Music to Chineke!, and singer Nora Fischer to pianist-composer Thomas Adès.

Stockhause­n’s Donnerstag aus LICHT

Royal Festival Hall, 21, 22 May Tel: +44 (0)20 3879 9555

Web: www.southbankc­ Not seen in the UK for over 30 years, the ‘Thursday’ episode of Stockhause­n’s epic LICHT opera-cycle brings together the London Sinfoniett­a and the

Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble under Maxime

Pascal with his own chamber orchestra from Paris, Le Balcon. The production is directed by Benjamin Lazar, and the central role of Archangel Michael is shared between tenor Damien Bigourdan, trumpeter Henri Deléger and dancer Emmanuelle Grach (see Composer of the Month, p62).

Bournemout­h Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Lighthouse, Poole, 15 May

Tel: +44 (0)1202 280000


‘This is the best of me’ wrote Elgar (quoting Ruskin) when he completed the score of his oratorio The Dream of Gerontius. Conductor Kirill Karabits invests it with a strong line-up, mustering American tenor Paul Appleby as Gerontius, Alice Coote as the Angel and James Rutherford as the Priest and the Angel of the Agony.


Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, 18 May

Tel: +44 (0)1865 980980


With last year’s 85th-birthday celebratio­ns behind him, Krzysztof Penderecki heads to Oxford to conduct a programme devoted entirely to his own music. Gábor Boldoczki plays the recent Trumpet Concertino; the Oxford Philharmon­ic’s concertmas­ter Yuri Zhislin tackles the Viola Concerto (originally premiered by his father); and in between comes the Sinfoniett­a for Strings.

Piotr Anderszews­ki

Assembly Rooms, Bath, 25 May Tel: +44 (0)1225 463362

Web: www.bathfestiv­ Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and Polish pianist Piotr Anderszews­ki have long enjoyed a special relationsh­ip, not least at the 1990 Leeds Piano Competitio­n and in a memorable recording in 2000. For Bath Festival, he offers a half-dozen preludes and fugues from JS Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier by way of warm-up.

Bryn Terfel

Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, 8 May

Tel: +44 (0)845 548 7650

Web: www.saffronhal­

Fresh from Wagner in Munich and Puccini’s Tosca at Covent Garden, the Welsh bass-baritone makes his Saffron Hall debut with pianist Annabel Thwaite. Their recital wraps folksong arrangemen­ts by Britten and Copland around Schubert Lieder, English and Welsh songs, and Ibert’s Quatre Chansons de Don Quichotte.

Sollazzo Ensemble

Trinity College Chapel and

Little St Mary’s Church, Cambridge, 9, 10 May

Tel: +44 (0)1223 357851

Web: www.cambridgee­ Across two concerts as part of Cambridge Festival of the Voice, the BBC Music Magazine Awards-nominated early music group Sollazzo Ensemble takes the musical pulse of 14th-century Florentine humanism and explores

Court life in 15th-century Burgundy – including the influentia­l contributi­on of blind fiddlers Jehan Ferrandes and Jehan de Cordova.


NORTH AND WALES BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, 18 May Tel: +44 (0)333 666 3366

Web: valeofglam­organfesti­ Composer Steve Reich is patron of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival’s 50th edition and his 2018 Music for Ensemble and Orchestra receives its Welsh premiere in the company of new works by Mark David Boden and John Metcalf. Graham Fitkin’s Metal, which includes untuned scaffoldin­g, engineers a clangorous close.

The Hallé

Bridgewate­r hall,

Manchester, 23 May

Tel: + 44 (0)161 907 9000

Web: www.bridgewate­ Conductor Mark Elder has chosen a work he describes as direct and viscerally thrilling with which to conclude his last Hallé concert of the season: Mahler’s Resurrecti­on Symphony. Alice Coote is the mezzo dispensing the balm of ‘Urlicht’, and she’s joined in the finale by soprano Anne Schwanewil­ms.

Ensemble 10/10

St George’s Hall,

Liverpool, 23 May

Tel: +44 (0)151 709 3789

Web: www.liverpoolp­ Liverpool’s flagship contempora­ry music ensemble rounds out its 21st-birthday year with one of Liverpool’s own: composer and clarinetti­st Mark Simpson (see interview, p40). He appears in both guises, and opens the concert with Straw Dogs, his 2010 reflection on reverence and destructio­n. To end, his clarinet takes centre stage in Henze’s Miracle of the Rose. And in between are works by Gary Carpenter and Gavin Higgins.

Los Angeles Master Choral

Sage, Gateshead, 25 May

Tel: +44 (0)191 443 4661

Web: www.sagegatesh­ Director Peter Sellars’s first foray into the staging of an a cappella work couldn’t have found a more searing subject. Orlando di Lasso’s swansong madrigal sequence Lagrime di San Pietro considers, in 75 exquisitel­y anguished minutes, Peter’s grief after denying Christ following the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.


AND N IRELAND Hebrides Ensemble

Concert Hall, Perth, 6 May

Tel: +44 (0)1738 621031

Web: Soprano Ailish Tynan (see p122) joins the Hebrides Ensemble for Ravel’s sultry Les chansons madécasses – judiciousl­y twinned with Judith Weir’s companion piece, Nuits d’afrique. Works by Rebecca Clarke and Rosalie Burell flank Jean Françaix’s String Trio.

Ulster Orchestra

Ulster Hall, Belfast, 24 May

Tel: +44 (0)28 9033 4455

Web: www.ulsterorch­ The orchestra doesn’t just bid farewell to the 2018/19 season but also to its principal conductor Rafael Payare (see Backstage with… above), who’s heading for pastures new in San Diego. They part company in fine style with Mahler’s darkness-tolight Symphony No. 5, and before it Inon Barnatan is the soloist in Mozart’s turbulent Piano Concerto in D minor, K466.


 ??  ?? Handel with care: Louise Alder takes the title role in Semele at Alexandra Palace
Handel with care: Louise Alder takes the title role in Semele at Alexandra Palace

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