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Dear Friends

Welcome to March on Planet Hugill, a month which saw two very different milestones - Bury Court Opera ended with one final production Britten's Turn of the Screw, whilst Dame Emma Kirkby celebrated her 70th birthday at the Wigmore Hall. Italian bel canto versions of Queen Elizabeth I were very much in evidence as English Touring Opera gave the UK stage premiere of Rossini's Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra as part of its enterprising Spring tour, whilst Welsh National Opera revived its production of Donizetti's Robert Devereux. Other rarities included Boito's Mefistofele, in London for the first time in near 20 years, and Halevy's La Juive in Antwerp.

This month's interviews include three very different conductors John Nelson talking about Berlioz, Desmond Early on his work creating the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin and David Hill on the challenge of reviving Bach's St Matthew Passion annually with the Bach Choir, plus pianist Clare Hammond on reviving the piano music of Josef Myslivecek.

▪ A very modern Robin Hood: Dani Howard's new opera at The Opera Story
▪ Brilliant revival of Peter Konwitschny's remarkably focused production of Halévy's La Juive in Antwerp
▪ One last show: Bury Court Opera's final performance ever presented Britten's The Turn of the Screw in a production vividly conceived to highlight the venue's distinctive qualities
▪ Late romantic journeys: opera by Ravel & Tchaikovsky in a highly satisfying double bill from Royal Academy Opera
▪ The road not taken: Boito's Mefistofele makes a rare London appearance with Chelsea Opera Group in terrific form
▪ Steam-punk & virtuosity: Donizetti's Roberto Devereux at WNO with Joyce El-Khoury & Barry Banks
A very modern Robin Hood: Dani Howard's new opera at The Opera Story
Brilliant revival of Peter Konwitschny's remarkably focused production of Halévy's La Juive in Antwerp
One last show: Bury Court Opera's final performance ever presented Britten's The Turn of the Screw in a production vividly conceived to highlight the venue's distinctive qualities
Late romantic journeys: opera by Ravel & Tchaikovsky in a highly satisfying double bill from Royal Academy Opera
The road not taken: Boito's Mefistofele makes a rare London appearance with Chelsea Opera Group in terrific form
Steam-punk & virtuosity: Donizetti's Roberto Devereux at WNO with Joyce El-Khoury & Barry Banks

English National Opera

▪ Daniel Kramer's new production of The Merry Widow
▪ A strong cast in a highly engaging revival of Mozart's The Magic Flute from Simon McBurney, ENO & Complicité
Daniel Kramer's new production of The Merry Widow
A strong cast in a highly engaging revival of Mozart's The Magic Flute from Simon McBurney, ENO & Complicité

English Touring Opera

▪ Neapolitan revival: Rossini's Elizabeth in a rare staging
▪ Pared-down production lets the music speak for itself: Mozart's Idomeneo (Ruth)
▪ Not yet down and dirty: rising to the challenge of Verdi's Macbeth (Anthony)
Neapolitan revival: Rossini's Elizabeth in a rare staging
Pared-down production lets the music speak for itself: Mozart's Idomeneo (Ruth)
Not yet down and dirty: rising to the challenge of Verdi's Macbeth (Anthony)

Various Venues

▪ Dame Emma Kirkby's 70th birthday concert at the Wigmore Hall
▪ Haydn’s The Seasons at the Royal Festival Hall by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Choir, Vladimir Jurowski (Tony)
▪ Children's Hour: Gareth Brynmor John and William Vann at Pizza Express Live
▪ From Renaissance to Contemporary: the Gesualdo Six at Cadogan Hall
▪ Almost music theatre: Dominick Argento and Schumann song cycles about Virginia Woolf and Mary, Queen of Scots, expanded with dramatic texts from Sarah Connolly at Wigmore Hall
▪ Iestyn Davies & the viol consort Fretwork in Michael Nyman & Henry Purcell at Temple Church
Dame Emma Kirkby's 70th birthday concert at the Wigmore Hall
Haydn’s The Seasons at the Royal Festival Hall by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Choir, Vladimir Jurowski (Tony)
Children's Hour: Gareth Brynmor John and William Vann at Pizza Express Live
From Renaissance to Contemporary: the Gesualdo Six at Cadogan Hall
Almost music theatre: Dominick Argento and Schumann song cycles about Virginia Woolf and Mary, Queen of Scots, expanded with dramatic texts from Sarah Connolly at Wigmore Hall
Iestyn Davies & the viol consort Fretwork in Michael Nyman & Henry Purcell at Temple Church

Interviews & feature articles

▪ Creating a contemporary choral tradition in Ireland: Desmond Earley and The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin
▪ A sincerity running through it: I chat to John Nelson about Berlioz' Requiem
▪ Man, myth and magic: how story telling has come back into opera
▪ Known for her performances of contemporary music, Clare Hammond's latest project includes the premiere of a different kind, a concerto by 18th century composer Josef Myslivecek
▪ Keeping it fresh: conductor David Hill on the challenges of performing Bach's St Matthew Passion annually with the Bach Choir
Creating a contemporary choral tradition in Ireland: Desmond Earley and The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin
A sincerity running through it: I chat to John Nelson about Berlioz' Requiem
Man, myth and magic: how story telling has come back into opera
Known for her performances of contemporary music, Clare Hammond's latest project includes the premiere of a different kind, a concerto by 18th century composer Josef Myslivecek
Keeping it fresh: conductor David Hill on the challenges of performing Bach's St Matthew Passion annually with the Bach Choir

CDs we have listened to

▪ Thrilling dynamism: Taverner's Missa Gloria tibi trinitas from Owen Rees, Contrapunctus & the Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford on Signum
▪ Intimate conversations: the young Jubilee Quartet in three quartets spanning 20 years of Haydn's maturity
▪ Virtuosity and intimacy: Flauguissimo duo A Salon Opera
▪ A remarkable work of reconstruction: Opera Rara's world premiere recording of Donizetti's L'ange de Nisida
▪ Rarities by Lalo & Milhaud in Hee-Young Lim's imaginative disc of French cello concertos on Sony
▪ Magnificent original: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake restored in a superb performance from Vladimir Jurowski on Pentatone
▪ Period charm & fizzing performance: Messager's Les p'tites Michu from Palazzetto Bru Zane
▪ The French 20th century saxophone: Tableaux de Provence from Dominic Childs & Simon Callaghan
▪ Not heard since its 1956 premiere: Eugene Bozza's Le chant de la mine, with its hints of Florent Schmitt and Honegger, makes a fascinating revival
▪ Into the harem and beyond: the richness & exoticism of the music of Fazil Say
▪ Dance Maze: new chamber music by Tom Armstrong on Resonus Classics
▪ Emotional soundscapes: the music of young Australian composer Brendon John Warner on his debut album La fonte
▪ Political piano and terrific technique: Adam Swayne's (speak to me)
Thrilling dynamism: Taverner's Missa Gloria tibi trinitas from Owen Rees, Contrapunctus & the Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford on Signum
Intimate conversations: the young Jubilee Quartet in three quartets spanning 20 years of Haydn's maturity
Virtuosity and intimacy: Flauguissimo duo A Salon Opera
A remarkable work of reconstruction: Opera Rara's world premiere recording of Donizetti's L'ange de Nisida
Rarities by Lalo & Milhaud in Hee-Young Lim's imaginative disc of French cello concertos on Sony
Magnificent original: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake restored in a superb performance from Vladimir Jurowski on Pentatone
Period charm & fizzing performance: Messager's Les p'tites Michu from Palazzetto Bru Zane
The French 20th century saxophone: Tableaux de Provence from Dominic Childs & Simon Callaghan
Not heard since its 1956 premiere: Eugene Bozza's Le chant de la mine, with its hints of Florent Schmitt and Honegger, makes a fascinating revival
Into the harem and beyond: the richness & exoticism of the music of Fazil Say
Dance Maze: new chamber music by Tom Armstrong on Resonus Classics
Emotional soundscapes: the music of young Australian composer Brendon John Warner on his debut album La fonte
Political piano and terrific technique: Adam Swayne's (speak to me)

Robert Hugill in Focus at Conway Hall

Mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley, baritone James Newby, viola player Rosalind Ventris and pianist William Vann will be performing my song cycles Quickening (setting Christina Rosetti) and Winter Journey (setting Rowan Williams) as part of the Conway Hall Sunday Concerts on 5 May 2019, and I will be talking about the songs at a pre-concert talk and taking part in the post-concert Q&A. More information from Conway Hall website.

Help The Gardeners to Grow

Joanna Wyld and my new opera The Gardeners premieres at Conway Hall on 18 June 2019, conducted by William Vann. We are currently crowd-funding to help us to enrich people’s lives through culture, increase awareness of the effects of global conflict, and entertain people through critically acclaimed opera. Please do visit our Crowdfunder page.

Credits

Our header image this month is Oliver Brignall, Cliff Zammit Stevens, Nicholas Merryweather in Dani Howard's Robin Hood with The Opera Story (Photo Robert Workman).

Click on any of the links to take you through to the relevant story on Planet Hugill.

Regards

Robert

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