English Touring Opera bring their award winning production of Tippett’s King Priam to the Gala next week. Read my preview and watch ETO’s trailer here – then book your ticket, because this looks like something not to be missed.
On Saturday I’ll be going to hear Durham County Youth Choir singing Messiah in Durham Cathedral. I expect quite a few of the younger members of the choir will be singing their first Messiah, and so that got me thinking about how exciting it is to sing it for the first time, and then each time after that too…
A guide to the Lent and Passiontide concerts currently listed on Music in Durham.
It seems that all the musicians in Durham are coming out to play this weekend – I have five concerts listed on here, ranging from solo organ to full symphony orchestra, and performers from amateur to international super-star.
Durham University Choral Society will give the first performance of “Christus: A Passiontide sequence”, a major new work written for them by Ben Rowarth, at a concert in Durham Cathedral on 15 March. I spoke to Ben, and to Mike Summers, Musical Director of DUCS, to find out more about it.
If I weren’t out of town this weekend, I’d definitely be going Durham Choral Society’s performance of Beethoven’s monumental Missa Solemnis in the cathedral tomorrow night. It’s a fantastic piece of music, and a really big sing – Beethoven didn’t write much for singers, but when he did, he certainly makes them work hard. I haven’t been able to hear Durham Choral Society since Mike Summers and Clare Wills took over as conductor and assistant conductor respectively – I always seem to end up being away – but I’ve heard that they’re sounding great. The orchestra are made up of …
Now that St Matthew Passion is over and done with, and the stirring-up has been done, it’s time to clear my head and start thinking about Christmas. We don’t have a Christmas concert of our own this year, because St Matthew came so late in November, although we are doing a small carol service in the chapel at Auckland Castle, so I do get to sing a bit of Christmas music. The upside of this though is that I am free to go to everyone else’s Christmas concerts instead, and there’s a good selection this year.
Naturally, this is a very biased preview, as not only am I singing in this, I’m also running the publicity and ticket sales campaign. But I’m also, honestly, extremely excited about the Durham Singers St Matthew Passion this weekend, and I believe everything that I’ve written for our official communications. I’ve been in paid jobs where I’ve had to talk up something really dull, but when I write things for Durham Singers, I can allow myself to be genuinely enthused. This is now me writing as myself, with my personal preview for the concert.
If you’ve been following my series of posts about the Venetian operas that ETO are bringing to Durham next week, you’ll remember I said that at the end of Agrippina everything ended happily. Well, not for long, because in terms of plot, Handel’s opera is just a prequel to Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea and this time, things get nasty.
The idea of helping scientists by listening to music appeals greatly, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s Musicon concert by The Clerks. It’s called “Tales from Babel – Musical adventures in the Science of Hearing” and it looks at how we pick out voices and process information from a babble of sound.