Baroque and early music highlights as part of the Barbican Presents 17-18 season

Picture of Cecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta with a cocktail

Baroque and early music highlights as part of the Barbican Presents 17/18 season

As part of the 2017-18 Barbican Presents programme, early and Baroque music concerts feature throughout. The influential works of composers including Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and more will be bought to the stages of the Barbican Centre and its neighbouring venues, featuring performers and ensembles from France, Germany, Italy, South Africa and more.

Concerts include:

  • King Arthur, a semi-staged Purcell Opera with the Academy of Ancient Music - the second in a three-year Purcell opera cycle (3 October 2017, Barbican Hall)
  • Mezzo-Soprano Cecilia Bartoli joins forces with cellist Sol Gabetta for an evening of Baroque arias (1 December 2017, Barbican Hall)
  • Two visits from Les Arts Florissants: Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale with William Christie at the helm (9 December 2017, Barbican Hall), followed by a celebration of 18th century English song with singers from Le Jardin des Voix (8 June 2018, Barbican Hall)
  • Baritone Christopher Purves sings Handel, accompanied by the ensemble, Arcangelo (7 January 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall)
  • A half-day exploration titled François Couperin: lumière et ombre, celebrating the 350th anniversary of the composer’s birth with Les Talens Lyriques (14 January 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall)
  • Countertenor Iestyn Davies visits on two occasions, first in Handel’s Rinaldo with The English Consort (13 March 2018, Barbican Hall), plus performances of Purcell and Michael Nyman alongside viol consort, Fretwork (28 May 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall)
  • A visit from the Venice Baroque Orchestra and celebrated counter-tenor Franco Fagioli (4 June 2018, Barbican Hall)
  • Sir John Elliot Gardiner, celebrating his 75th year in 2018, curates a rich weekend of Bach (15, 16 & 17 June 2018, Barbican Hall, LSO St Luke’s & St Giles’ Cripplegate)

Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) – Music Director Richard Egarr opens the season with King Arthur (3 October), the second in the semi-staged Purcell opera cycle co-presented by the AAM with the Barbican and directed by Daisy Evans. Soloists including Louise Alder, Charles Daniels and Peter Harvey join forces with the Choir of the AAM to tell tales of both a nation in flux and a celebration of national pride. However, Evans’ reimagining of King Arthur will embrace the opera’s ambiguities to evoke the current political climate. Ray Fearon, renowned actor of both stage and screen who has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will take the role of Narrator for this performance. Fearon’s recent credits include Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh.

Mezzo-Soprano Cecilia Bartoli and Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta join forces for an evening of Baroque arias at the Barbican on 1 December 2017. The combination of this Grammy Award-winning vocalist alongside a former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year makes for a particularly promising evening. A programme skilfully selected by Bartoli will feature gems and rarities from the likes of Antonio Caldara, Domenico Gabrielli, Luigi Boccherini and more. The typically Baroque pairing of cello and voice, and the friendly duelling of the two demanded by these compositions, will be an entertaining spectacle for this concert’s audience.

Baroque musical ensemble Les Arts Florissants and founder/conductor William Christie give a rare performance of Monteverdi’s comprehensive anthology of sacred vocal music, Selva morale e spirituale on Saturday 9 December 2017 - fittingly in the year that marks the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth. Published at the end of his career in 1641, the collection is regarded as Monteverdi’s most significant anthology of liturgical works since the Vespers in 1610. The event features an outstanding cast, including sopranos Lucia Martin Caron and Emmanuelle De Negri, countertenor Carlo Vistoli, tenors Cyril Auvity and Reinoud Van Mechelen, and basses Marc Mauillon, Cyril Costanzo, and John Taylor Ward. The ensemble return to the Barbican on 8 June 2018, this time with members of Le Jardin des Voix Academy, under the direction of Paul Agnew, for a celebration of 18th century English song, to include music by Gibbons, Dowland, Purcell, Handel, Boyce and Arne.

On 7 January 2018 at Milton Court Concert Hall baritone Christopher Purves appears in a recital of works by Handel; accompanied by the ensemble Arcangelo. With many plaudits for his stage presence, characterisation and musicality, Purves will present masterful renditions of, amongst others, Gelido in ogni vena from Siroe, re di Persia, Opprest with never ceasing grief’ from Belshazzar, and O ruddier than the cherry from Acis and Galatea. Opera aficionados will be familiar with Purves’ impactful performance of recent years as the lead in Handel’s Saul, performed at Glyndebourne 2015.

Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset explore the music of François Couperin, celebrating the 350th anniversary of his birth in a half-day celebration at Milton Court Concert Hall on 14 January 2018. The programme is formed of three parts, two concerts (2:00pm and 7:00pm) and a Panel Discussion (4:30pm). In the final concert the performance will end with a candlelit rendition of the Trois Leçons de ténèbres.

Continuing their acclaimed series of Handel operas, The English Concert (13 March 2018) conducted by Harry Bicket returns to the Barbican with Handel’s Rinaldo featuring Iestyn Davies in the title role. Furthermore Davies, a countertenor praised for his finesse both on the opera and concert hall stage, will perform select works of Purcell and Michael Nyman alongside the viol consort, Fretwork on 28 May 2018 at Milton Court Concert Hall.

June 2018 sees a return visit from the illustrious Venice Baroque Orchestra (4 June), following their acclaimed performance of Vivalid’s Juditha Triumphans on the Barbican stage in November 2016. Here directed by Gianpiero Zanocco, the orchestra joins celebrated counter-tenor Franco Fagioli for a performance of arias by Vivaldi and Handel, plus instrumental music from both composers and a rediscovered orchestral work from Florentine master Francesco Veracini.

To celebrate the 75th birthday of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Barbican has invited him to curate a Bach weekend on 15-17 June 2018. It incorporates highlights from the Bachfest Leipzig, where Gardiner is president, including a three-concert cycle of cantatas performed by the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, as well as featuring an outstanding line-up of artists in motets, violin sonatas, cello suites, and the Goldberg Variations.

Also presenting Goldberg Variations, however in a very different fashion, are Scottish Ensemble and Andersson Dance in the Barbican Theatre, 5 – 7 July 2018. Goldberg Variations: ternary patterns for insomnia will see both dancers and musicians choreographed as one entity in a euphoric interpretation of Bach’s celestial harmonies. Inventively and at times surreally reimagined as something joyful, moving and human, choreographer Örjan Andersson describes the alchemy of the piece: ‘It’s magical when music and movement become something greater than themselves.’

 

Listings:

 

Purcell: King Arthur

Academy of Ancient Music/Egarr

3 October 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:00
Tickets £10 - £50 plus booking fee

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Cecilia & Sol

Dolce Duello: Baroque arias for voice and violoncello

1 December 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £25 – £85 plus booking fee

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Les Arts Florissants / Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale

9 December 2017 / Barbican Hall / 19:30
Tickets £15 - £45 plus booking fee

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Christopher Purves sings Handel

7 January 2018 / Milton Court Concert Hall / 19:30

Tickets £15 - £30 plus booking fee

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Les Talens Lyriques/François Couperin: lumière et ombre

14 January 2018 / Milton Court Concert Hall / 14:00

Tickets £25 - £45 plus booking fee

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Handel’s Rinaldo/The English Concert

13 March 2018 / Barbican Hall / 18:30

Tickets £15 - £55 plus booking fee

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Iestyn Davies and Fretwork

28 May 2018 / Milton Court Concert Hall / 19:30

Tickets £17.50 - £35 plus booking fee

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Franco Fagioli sings Vivaldi & Handel

4 June 2018 / Barbican Hall / 19:30

Tickets £15 - £45 plus booking fee

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Les Arts Florissants: Jardin des Voix

An English Garden

8 June 2018 / Barbican Hall / 19:30

Tickets £15 - £45 plus booking fee

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Bach Weekend/Monteverdi Choir

Cantatas 1: Easter to Ascension

15 June 2018 / Barbican Hall / 19:30

Tickets £15 - £45 plus booking fee

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Bach Weekend/Back Violin Sonatas

16 June 2018 / LSO St Luke’s / 11:00

Tickets £17.50 plus booking fee

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Bach Weekend/Motets

16 June 2018 / St Giles’ Cripplegate / 15:00

Tickets £17.50 plus booking fee

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Bach Weekend/Monteverdi Choir

Cantatas 2: Trinity Season

16 June 2018 / Barbican Hall / 19:30

Tickets £15 - £45 plus booking fee

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Bach Weekend/Cello Suites

17 June 2018 / Milton Court Concert Hall / 15:00

Tickets £17.50 plus booking fee

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Bach Weekend/Monteverdi Choir

Cantatas 3: Advent to Christmas

17 June 2018 / Barbican Hall / 19:30

Tickets £15 - £45 plus booking fee

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Goldberg Variations

Ternary patterns for insomnia

5- 7 July 2018 / Barbican Theatre / 19:45

Tickets £16 – 35 plus booking fee

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