London, Norwich, Saffron Walden, Birmingham, Leeds, Basingstoke and in communities across the East of England
Opera rarities and artistic partnerships are to the fore in Britten Sinfonia’s 2022 spring concerts.
Artistic collaborators and soloists include:
Sir Mark Elder; singers Mark Padmore; Kathryn Rudge; Anna Dennis; tabla virtuoso Kuljit Bhamra and guitarist John Parricelli; percussionist Vivi Vassileva; violinist Philippe Honoré; composer/conductor Gregor A. Mayrhofer; young artists, trumpeter Matilda Lloyd and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen; choreographer Urja Desai Thakore; Pagrav Dance Company; Royal Opera House Jette Parker Singers; Ex Cathedra conducted by Jeffrey Skidmore; Opera Rara conducted by Carlo Rizzi; singer songwriter Father John Misty and conductor Jules Buckley; composer Alissa Firsova; Oscar nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
Concert highlights include:
Performances of three rare operas:
- A re-imagining of Holst’s Sāvitri, with Pagrav Dance Company (4 May)
- 100 years after its premiere, Stravinsky’s Mavra, in a double bill with Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, with Royal Opera House Jette Parker Singers (12-22 May)
- First performance of Mercadante’s Il proscritto since its 1842 premiere, with Opera Rara (28 June)
Concerts as Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden and in Norwich:
- New work by composer Alissa Firsova features in a programme of impassioned music by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev
- Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch and soprano Anna Dennis join Britten Sinfonia soloists in a performance marking the centenary of T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land as part of Charleston Festival, Sussex (19 May)
- Vaughan Williams’s Five Tudor Portraits at Norfolk and Norwich Festival, a piece written by the composer for the festival and conducted by him at its premiere in 1936 (29 May)
- Recycling Concerto, a new piece for orchestra and an array of percussion crafted from tuned and untuned rubbish, and a concert featuring Beethoven’s Symphony, No 6, Pastoral Symphony, Brett Dean’s orchestral piece written in response to it and the first UK performance of a work by Bushra El-Turk feature in a Britten Sinfonia double-bill at Aldeburgh Festival (19 June)
Full details of concerts can be found in the month-by-month calendar below, with links through to individual venues for further box office and ticket information in the date line for each concert, and at www.brittensinfonia.com
Britten Sinfonia Spring 2022: Month-by-month calendar
Father John Misty with Britten Sinfonia
Thursday 7 April at 8pm, Barbican Hall
Backed by a full orchestra in his only European performance for 2022 – one of only two performances of this project worldwide – Father John Misty’s brooding, delicate music is given new layers with Britten Sinfonia conducted by Jules Buckley. His fifth album and first new material since 2018, Chloe and The Next 20th Century (released in April 2022) includes the upcoming single ‘Funny Girl’, a swirling ditty to the small characteristics we fall in love with, with emotive strings and a rolling vintage feel.
A prolific writer of raw, vulnerable songs about love, despair and dark beauty, Father John Misty is one of America’s most celebrated indie artists. His songwriting abilities have seen him write songs for the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.
мир / Peace
Friday 22 April at 7.30pm, St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich
Saturday 23 April at 7.30pm, Leeds Town Hall
Sunday 24 April at 4.00pm, Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
Tuesday 26 April at 7.45pm, The Anvil, Basingstoke
Thomas Gould directs an impassioned, melodic programme with rising stars pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen and trumpeter Matilda Lloyd. Shostakovich’s virtuosic Concerto for piano, trumpet and strings is paired with Prokofiev’s whimsical Visions Fugitives, the original solo piano version alternating with Barshai’s transcriptions. Tchaikovsky’s glorious Serenade for Strings and a new work, Stages, by Alissa Firsova complete the programme. Alissa Firsova’s work for trumpet and strings draws inspiration from the poem of the same name by Hermann Hesse.
Jette Parker Young Artists: Stravinsky’s Mavra and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire
Thursday 12 May – Sunday 22 May 2022, Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre
Britten Sinfonia returns to the ROH Linbury Theatre, joining the Jette Parker Young Artists in a mixed programme bringing together Igor Stravinsky’s rarely performed one-act opera Mavra, 100 years after its 1922 premiere, and Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 melodrama Pierrot Lunaire, Sprechstimme setting of texts by Albert Giraud on subjects ranging from love, sex and religion to violence, crime and blasphemy. Michael Papadopolous conducts. The double-bill marks 20 years of the Jette Parker Young Artists scheme.
Ex Cathedra and Britten Sinfonia
Sunday 1 May at 4pm, Birmingham Town Hall
Tenor Mark Padmore, violinist Philippe Honoré and conductor Jeffrey Skidmore join Britten Sinfonia and Ex Cathedra to explore the shared ground between Indian classical and choral music. The performance culminates with The Traveller – a meditation on the cycle of life by composer Alec Roth, with texts curated by Vikram Seth – and Child of Heaven and Unending Love, two works by Roxanna Panufnik that brilliantly fuse both sound worlds. The Traveller, an oratorio for solo tenor, solo violin, mixed choir (Ex Cathedra Choir and Academy of Vocal Choir) children’s choir (students from Nishkam High School) and orchestra, was premiered by Britten Sinfonia, Padmore and Honoré in 2008.
with Pagrav Dance Company
Wednesday 4 May at 7.30pm, Barbican Hall.
Britten Sinfonia and Sir Mark Elder join forces with Pagrav Dance Company, which fuses classical Indian Kathak styles with contemporary storytelling, and leading kathak choreographer Urja Desai Thakore, to bring to life Holst’s chamber opera Sāvitri. Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge takes the title role in this new interpretation of Holst’s musing on love and death that takes inspiration from the Mahabharata tale of Sāvitri’s battle to save her husband. The programme also features Holst’s setting of hymns from one of Hinduism’s most important works, the Rig Veda, alongside music by Grace Williams and Benjamin Britten, who were contemporaries at the Royal College of Music.
Jacqueline Shave’s longstanding trio with tabla virtuoso Kuljit Bhamra and guitarist John Parricelli completes the programme and marks the end of an era, as Shave steps down as Britten Sinfonia Leader after 17 years (a position she has shared with Thomas Gould since 2016). Jacqueline has been a central part of Britten Sinfonia’s development as Leader, director and soloist. As one of the country’s leading chamber musicians she is also well known for her wide ranging musical interests which she will further develop, whilst continuing to collaborate with Britten Sinfonia in a less formal, emeritus role.
TS Eliott’s The Waste Land set to music by Anthony Burgess
Thursday 19 May at 1pm, Charleston as part of the Charleston Festival
One hundred years after it was published, award-winning actor Benedict Cumberbatch, Britten Sinfonia and soprano Anna Dennis breathe new life into one of the greatest works of modernist literature, T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land.’ In 1978, Anthony Burgess, best known for writing ‘A Clockwork Orange’, set the poem to music.
Britten Sinfonia at Norfolk and Norwich Festival
Sunday 29 May at 7.30pm, The Halls Norwich
Britten Sinfonia and Norwich Philharmonic Chorus join forces to crown Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s 250th anniversary with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Tudor Portraits in the composer’s 150th anniversary year. Commissioned by the Festival and premiered in St Andrew’s Hall in 1936 in a performance conducted by the composer, Five Tudor Portraits sets words by John Skelton, one-time tutor to Henry VIII. William Vann conducts, and the soloists are Rebecca Afonwy-Jones and Ross Ramgobin. Vaughan Williams’s Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1, written in 1906, draws on songs the composer collected from the King’s Lynn fishing community. Completing the programme, Mozart’s Divertimento in D was written in 1772, the very first year of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
Britten Sinfonia: Music on Your Doorstep
Friday 10 June 11am, 3.30pm and 7.30pm, Bourne, Corn Exchange
Britten Sinfonia’s new strand of work takes music into the heart of market towns in the East of England, from daytime ‘pushchair playlist’ concerts and post-school music and craft drop-in sessions to a relaxed evening concert for all, with low ticket prices throughout and tea, biscuits and drinks very much allowed – and all in a single day. This June, the orchestra brings its music to the historic market town Bourne in Lincolnshire.
In developing Music on Your Doorstep, the Cambridge-based orchestra is expanding its existing work in the region, where its Creative Learning programme engages with primary schools, young musicians, people living with dementia and their carers, and community groups each year. It is also working in partnership alongside established local arts organisations and venues to get a keen insight into specific local audiences and the barriers that might exist to concert going for people of all ages in those locations. And it’s listening to the communities themselves, with careful on-going development of the project informed by their responses to pop-up days during winter/spring 2022.
Britten Sinfonia at Aldeburgh Festival
Sunday 19 June at 5pm and 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall
Percussionist Vivi Vassileva and composer-conductor Gregor A. Mayrhofer join forces with Britten Sinfonia for two concerts. Mayhofer’s Recycling Concerto features hundreds of pieces of rubbish collected and created into an array of tuned and untuned percussion instruments (19 June at 5pm). The second concert later that evening features Bushra El-Turk’s new percussion concerto, Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony No. 6 and Brett Dean’s much-acclaimed orchestral piece written in response to it (19 June at 7.30pm).
Britten Sinfonia and Opera Rara: Mercadante’s Il Proscritto
Tuesday 28 June at 7.30pm, Barbican HallBritten Sinfonia joins forces with Opera Rara for the first performance in over 150 years of Il Proscritto by the prolific – and in his day, popular – Italian composer Saverio Mercadante (1795 – 1870). Opera Rara Artistic Director and 19th century opera specialist Carlo Rizzi conducts Britten Sinfonia and an exceptional cast in the first performance of Mercadante’s score since its Naples premiere in 1842. Restored from its original manuscript, Il proscritto (one of 60 operas Mercadante composed) weaves a tragic tale of lost love and political treachery during the rule of Oliver Cromwell.