Baroque opera has been a surprisingly recent discovery for me. It’s so obviously the sort of thing I would like — there’s an intoxicating mix of passion, bad behaviour, sex, tragedy, strong female characters, lots of semiquavers, and, sometimes, recorders — that I wonder what took me so long. There’s more of it about these days, which helps, but what’s really made a difference for me is the internet; I can listen to performances on Radio 3, watch streamed productions and explore things on Spotify. I’m getting quite a taste for it, but I’ve never seen any live performances,
It’s been hard to miss the presence of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham this summer, and naturally there have been plenty of events celebrating the book’s temporary return home.The beautiful gospels book was created to honour St Cuthbert, and the exhibition in Durham has placed the gospels in the context of Cuthbert’s life and legacy, surrounded by other treasures relating to our greatest northern saint, so it seems only right that he should also be the focus of the concert that marks the end of the exhibition.
I always enjoy the new-year feeling of September, when everything gets going again, and since I started concert reviewing, I’ve had the the extra excitement of thumbing through Sage Gateshead’s classical season brochure, filling up my diary and getting exciting about the coming year’s musical treats.
I’m a little disappointed that this year I won’t be able to make it to Miranda Wright’s Samling Academy Opera production – they’re doing Britten’s comic opera Albert Herring and having seen Miranda’s previous two productions at the Sage (Marriage of Figaro and Dido and Aeneas), I can guarantee it will be a really entertaining evening.