Seen and Heard International hopes for the happiest of outcomes for all those who are ill due to the current coronavirus pandemic. We share the optimism of those experts who hope that all those in otherwise good health will be able to resist its worst effects.
With the worldwide restrictions on travel and gatherings of significant numbers the world of classical music and many other entertainment events are currently subjected to a wave of changes, postponements, or cancellations, and it is unlikely normal recreational life will be resumed in the foreseeable future.
Seen and Heard International will continue to post reviews of concerts, operas, dance, theatre, and broadcasts for a long as we can, but bear with us if our content is not refreshed as often as readers have become used to over recent years.
We are not a listings site so if you are checking for news of whether performances have been postponed, cancelled, or might be restarting, please go direct to the websites of the venues concerned.
Attempts are being made to provide online live music and other performances – live or recorded – during this ongoing situation. Below are a few of the announcements and please also look elsewhere on Seen and Heard for more news. None of this is intended to be comprehensive or regularly updated but might be added to in coming days:
Birmingham Royal Ballet – has taken the difficult decision to move their 2020 adapted version of The Nutcracker online. The magical Christmas production will be streamed live from The Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday 18 December at 7.30pm, giving audiences an experience as close to watching it live in the theatre as is possible. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The REP will be available to watch as a livestream event at 7.30pm on Friday 18th December. It will then be available to view as a video-on-demand recording from Saturday 19th to Thursday 24th December. Video-on-demand sales close at midnight on 21st December, but can be viewed until midnight on Christmas Eve.
Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta said ‘I guess you could say we’re trying to look on the bright side at the moment! By live streaming this new adapted version of our famous and much-loved production we can proceed with confidence and focus on making the event as special as possible for our wonderful audiences and now, wherever you are in the world, you can be part of it. I can’t deny it’s disappointing not to see everyone’s happy faces in the theatre, but we will plan to end the year on a Christmas high, finding ways of celebrating is important right now.’
In light of the performances being cancelled the Company has again focused on finding solutions and decided to tackle uncertainties by enabling audiences to enjoy the world premiere of this new adaptation from home. After the cancellation of this year’s full production at the Royal Albert Hall, this will be the one chance to experience Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Christmas classic this year.
The full-length Nutcracker will be shortened to an 80-minute magical experience that will retain all of the most enchanting moments and characters you would expect and hope for and features the cherished Tchaikovsky score performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy. Ticket holders for this pay per view production will also be able to enjoy some extra treats the Company have tied together with a seasonal red bow to make the experience as special as possible.
Two performances featuring two different casts will be captured at The REP. The second film will feature three third year students from The Royal Ballet School performing Trepak, the Russian dance, and students from Elmhurst Ballet School dancing Snowflakes will be available for audiences to watch online in early 2021. Birmingham Royal Ballet is committed to offering performance opportunities for students of the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School, especially at this time when such opportunities are so rare for students starting out in their careers.
Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s social media pages will reflect a celebration of The Nutcracker throughout the run, including exclusive new dance footage, ballet lessons for the very young and behind-the-scenes insights and the premiere of a new animated film inspired by The Nutcracker created with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s second company, Freefall, whose exceptionally talented dancers have learning disabilities.
For more information CLICK HERE.
Snape Maltings – Live music-making will resume at Snape Maltings from 11 December with regular concerts for live audiences. Britten Pears Arts will continue to offer short concerts with outstanding performers, some of whom would have performed during this year’s Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms. The Christmas programme at Snape Maltings also includes Christmas food markets, outdoor visual art, storytelling with Father Christmas, and evenings of pizza and live music in Snape’s heated Tipi.
4 – 6 December
Christmas food market on Saturday 5 December
Pizza and live music in the Tipi
Late evening shopping
8 December, 2pm
Virtual Tea Dance: Britten Pears Arts is inviting care homes, community groups and individuals of all ages and abilities to take part in a virtual version of its seasonal tea dance, using music and movement to bring enjoyment to a large number of isolated people.
11 – 13 December
Violinist Nicola Benedetti returns to Snape Maltings to perform solo concerts on Friday 11, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December.
Stories with Father Christmas
Christmas food market on Saturday 12 December
Pizza and live music in the Tipi
Late evening shopping
18 – 22 December
Concerts from London Gay Men’s Chorus in Snape Maltings Concert Hall and The Swingles in the Britten Studio on Friday 18 December
Concerts from Alex Mendham Band in Snape Maltings Concert Hall and The Swingles in the Britten Studio on Saturday 19 December
On Sunday 20 September New London Chamber Choir, directed by Dominic Ellis-Peckham, performs seasonal choral music including Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, while those unable to be at Snape can watch a livestreamed performance by The Swingles
Outdoor visual art by Paul Benney on 18-20 December
Plus Christmas food market on Saturday 19 December, Pizza and live music in the Tipi, Late evening shopping and carol singing
Concerts from Solus Trumpet Ensemble on Monday 21 December and The King’s Singers on Tuesday 22 December, plus outdoor family films, including OperaUpCloses’s Sammy and the Beanstalk.
The safety of Britten Pears Arts’ visitors, artists and staff is its top priority, and this may mean that line-ups, capacity and pricing may change at short notice.
Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) – presents the Midwest premiere of the new, feature-length documentary The Bowmakers, debuting Thanksgiving Day for 11 days only, November 26 – December 6, 2020. A live Zoom conversation featuring the film’s director Ward Serrill and other filmmakers takes place Friday, December 4 at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public with advance registration required. Early bird tickets for the film are $15 and are now available for purchase at ipomusic.org. The price increases to $18 on Thanksgiving. Those who wish to elevate their cinematic experience and live in the Chicago Southland region have the option to purchase a dinner delivery package as well. Proceeds for the ‘Dinner and a Movie’ package provide much needed funds to make future events, broadcasts, and concerts possible.
The Bowmakers follows the journey of the ‘Cinderella’ of the orchestra, the bow — the overworked and overshadowed ally to its more glamorous instrumental partners. The film is an artful exploration of one of the most esoteric corners of the music world, the art of bowmaking, as unknown to the public as it is essential to professional musicians. The Bowmakers made its theatrical release just as the COVID-19 pandemic forced several theaters to close their doors. In response, the filmmakers partnered with dynamic music organizations to present the film nation-wide. This means that Chicago audiences can only experience the Midwest Premiere directly through IPO.
‘When Illinois Philharmonic was approached to host the Midwest Premiere of The Bowmakers as part of our reimagined virtual season, the answer was a resounding “yes,”‘ said Christina Salerno, Executive Director of Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. ‘Our orchestra can think of no better way to mark Thanksgiving than to provide this heartwarming opportunity for music lovers of all ages to appreciate this artful, untold story of the instrument so crucial to expressing the soul of music, the bow.’
Spitalfields Music – has recently announced that the 2020 festival and programme has been reimagined as a series of digital events which will be broadcast via the Spitalfields Music website CLICK HERE on Saturday 5 December.
Programme highlights include: Dunedin Consort, one of the world’s leading Baroque ensembles, will present Lagrime mie: Songs of Prayer and Solitude recorded at Christ Church Spitalfields, East London, the site where the festival originated over 44 years ago. The programme will feature sublime works by early Baroque composers such as Schutz, Monteverdi and his assistant at St. Mark’s, Venice, Alessandro Grandi, and works by lesser-known but equally exciting female composers, Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini.
Eight short commissions by contemporary women composers will receive their world premieres as part of Fast Food, Fast Music. Written for and performed by the Miller-Porfiris Duo and Siwan Rhys the programme will feature new works by Victoria Benito, Joy Effiong, Bobbie-Jane Gardner, Millicent James, Sarah Rodgers, Jasmin Rodgman, Susannah Self and Heloise Werner performed alongside Errollyn Wallen’s Five Postcards. Fast Food, Fast Music is part of the festival’s pledge to Keychange, the international initiative to empower women to transform the future of music.
Author and historian S. I. Martin, a specialist in black British History, has joined forces with the Chineke! Junior Orchestra to reimagine a walking tour of East London which will feature the first ever recording and broadcast of composer Amanda Aldridge’s work, Three Arabian Dances. Each stop on this virtual tour will be accompanied by a different performance of music with historic ties to the area, lifting the lid on the Black history of Spitalfields going back 500 years.
English Touring Opera – It is with great sadness that English Touring Opera can confirm that the 13 remaining November performances of our live Autumn tour will be cancelled as a result of the national lockdown. This relates to those performances in London, Greater Manchester, Dorset and Essex. We are proud to have toured three programmes of lyric monodramas to hundreds of enthusiastic audience members in Snape Maltings and Tunbridge Wells and have been overwhelmed by the response and critical acclaim. We will continue to support the season’s artists and keep music in our audiences’ lives, during the second national lockdown.
We are filming our Autumn season on stage at the Hackney Empire this week and those performances will be broadcast over the Christmas season. We intend to deliver our scheduled performances in December. CLICK HERE for details.
We are extremely grateful to those of you who booked tickets for our tour in November. We hope that you will enjoy our digital programme this Autumn and we look forward to being reunited with you soon. The theatre you booked with will be in touch about refunds. Some audience members have already been in touch to ask whether they can donate the value of their tickets towards English Touring Opera’s future work. If you’d like to do so we would be extremely grateful (click here).
You can download our free season programme (click here), in which you can read, listen and watch articles, interviews and performances. If you have little ones in your life, they’ll love our opera film of the award winning children’s book Shh! We Have A Plan, which can be found if you click here. To receive updates and new content directly please join our mailing list, or follow us on social media.
Scottish Chamber Orchestra – continues its commitment to bringing world-class music to audiences at home throughout the rest of 2020, with ten further streamed concerts as part of its autumn season, including music by composers such as Sally Beamish, Anna Clyne, Jessie Montgomery and Errollyn Wallen. Concerts filmed at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh will be available for free via the SCO’s YouTube and Facebook channels and remain viewable for 30 days after broadcast.
Gavin Reid, Chief Executive, Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) says: ‘I am delighted that the SCO is today announcing a further ten, free, online concerts, that will see the outstanding musicians of the Orchestra continue to entertain our ever-growing digital audience. Filmed in several venues around Scotland, these concerts offer a wide variety of wonderful music as we welcome back some truly remarkable talents alongside our own brilliant players, including our Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, SCO regular and friend Pekka Kuusisto and acclaimed tenor, Allan Clayton. We look forward enormously to sharing these musical moments. Further plans for the remainder of this Season will be announced in December.’
In November, players from the SCO will perform a programme including Ravel’s Violin Sonata and Milhaud’s La Création du Monde (5 November, 7.30pm) followed by a concert of Mozart’s Adagio & Fugue, Schumann’s Etudes in Canonic Form and Strauss’ Metamorphosen (12 November, 7.30pm). In a concert curated by director and violinist Pekka Kuusisto, the orchestra performs Associate Composer Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. Tenor Allan Clayton and former SCO Principal Horn Alec Frank-Gemmill are the soloists (26 November, 7.30pm). The Orchestra start December with a concert including John Adams’ John’s Book of Alleged Dances and Mozart’s Grand Sestetto Concertante (3 December, 7.30pm). SCO Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev conducts a concert curated by him which sees Principal Cello Philip Higham as soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Schubert’s Symphony No 5 (10 December, 7.30pm).
Lunchtime concerts also continue during October, November, and December. As part of ‘Laidlaw Live,’ from the recently-opened Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St Andrews, where the SCO is Orchestra in Residence, musicians play music by Coleman, Beamish, Thurlow, Martinů and Koshinski (28 October, 1.10pm). They also perform Felicien David, Franchomme, Bottesini and Rossini (18 November, 1.10pm) and Price, Beamish, Clarke, Smyth, Wallen, Dare, Weir, Carreño and Montgomery (9 December, 1.10pm). At the Stevenson Hall, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the SCO Winds perform Janáček’s Mládí and are joined by RCS students in a side by side performance of Nick Reader’s wind arrangement of Beethoven’s Symphony No 7 (20 November, 1.05pm). These lunchtime concerts will be broadcast on the respective University and Conservatoire YouTube and Facebook Channels as well as the SCO’s.
For further information CLICK HERE.
Garsington Opera – is delighted to announce that a filmed version of Fidelio in Concert which was performed at Wormsley on 16 September 2020 will be broadcast on the OperaVision channel from 23 October, 6pm UK time / 7pm CEST. The production will be available to view until 22 April 2021. It is free to watch online with no registration required. The premiere streaming will be available CLICK HERE and HERE for programme notes, full cast and creative team, biographies and more OperaVision celebrates World Opera Day (25 October) and the Beethoven anniversary with 3 very different productions of Fidelio: Garsington Opera’s, Graham Vick’s promenade production for Birmingham Opera Company and an animated version for children by Belgian collective Walpurgis. For an online Q&A featuring artists from all 3 productions including Douglas Boyd and Toby Spence that will take place on 24 October CLICK HERE.
Leeds Lieder – announces first live recitals of the 2020-21 season, and among the first socially distanced song recitals outside of London since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. All concerts will take place at Leeds Town Hall, 6pm start. Tickets on sale now via the Leeds Town Hall box office CLICK HERE / 0113 376 0318. Please note there is currently the option to book tickets to visit the concert in person or alternatively there is a livestream ticket to watch the concert from your home.
Thursday 29th October – Ian Bostridge CBE joins Festival Director Joseph Middleton to perform a work with which he’s become synonymous: Schubert’s Winterreise. Their recital is preceded by a recital by Harriet Burns, last heard by Yorkshire audiences at the Leeds Lieder Wigmore Hall masterclass given by our President, the great Dutch soprano Elly Ameling. She will perform Schubert’s Ellens Gesang I, II & III. Her recital for Leeds Lieder takes place under the auspices of Barbara Hannigan’s Momentum Equilibrium initiative.
Friday 30th October – Louise Alder and Joseph Middleton ‘two of classical song’s brightest artists’ (The Guardian) return to Leeds Lieder following the release of their second and much lauded recital CD. Their programme includes Grieg’s Six Songs Op.48 and Rachmaninov’s Six Songs Op38. The recital will end with Alder giving her first performance of Strauss’s transcendental Four Last Songs. Before Alder performs, ENO Harewood Artist Benson Wilson gives a recital of English and Samoan song. His appearance is supported by the Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
Saturday 31st October – Iestyn Davies MBE and Joseph Middleton perform Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin. Iestyn Davies ‘reigns supreme among countertenors’ (The Independent) and is becoming increasingly well known for his intelligent and considered readings of core Lied repertoire. Rising star, the ‘superbly controlled, sensuous soprano‘ (Opera Today) of Nardus Williams also performs Liszt, Brahms and Wolf.
The dynamic Pawlet Brookes, Artistic Director and CEO of Serendipity: ‘The week of live performance and online events in October is designed to continue the development of LDIF’s profile and to platform next year’s festival. I’m delighted that we’ll be able to present live performance during October’s programme and we will be focusing our online debates on the reframing of Black British dance.’
LDIF OCTOBER 2020 programme will be available on LDIF’s own YOUTUBE channel – all UK times (viewing is free unless otherwise specified). For more information CLICK HERE
Kings Place – An updated programme for Kings Place until the end of the year has been announced. As well as being available online, almost every concert has a limited number of seats available for the public. Continuing series include the remaining three concerts in Aurora’s five-year Mozart’s Piano with Imogen Cooper, Louis Schwizgebel and Javier Perianes; the new season of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Bach, the Universe and Everything; the opening concerts of the 2020/21 Master Series which features Alina Ibragimova and Sheku Kanneh-Mason; The London Guitar Festival; the one day Folk in the Fall: Beethoven 250 with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, Brodsky Quartet, Rachel Podger and Christopher Glynn; the remaining concerts of Nature Unwrapped; six concerts as part of EFG London Jazz Festival; London Chamber Music Sundays; and a Gala evening presented by the London Piano Festival. Except when they exceed the numbers currently permitted on stage, Kings Place concerts are largely as originally scheduled. In the event that in-hall performances are no longer possible, Kings Place is set up so that performers will be able to continue to live-stream their concerts. For information CLICK HERE.
The Arts Institute’s Musica Viva series – We are excited to announce a new addition to the series (click here) – namely a series of Music Forums: live-streaming musical evenings featuring live performances and informal conversations with Robert Taub and guest artists about composers, musical interpretations, and related topics. Please join us for these exciting evenings so we can continue to enjoy great music together safely, through live streaming, during these unprecedented times.
9th October 2020, 7:30pm: The Arts Institute Director of Music Robert Taub will speak with Hannah Harris, CEO of Plymouth Culture about the profile of the current music season, and preview the Musica Viva Beethoven250 Festival that will be celebrated by The Arts Institute 4-6 March 2021 with performance excerpts and examination of musical scores.
6th November 2020, 7:30pm: British cellist Lionel Hardy will join us to discuss how Covid-19 has affected his normally busy touring and concert schedule. For example, he had been scheduled to perform a cello concerto by the Plymothian composer Stanley Bate in Hong Kong, but of course that event has been cancelled owing to Covid-19. Instead, Lionel will play excerpts from that work for us, and also perform a heroic solo cello work, the transcendent Suite for Solo Cello in C major by JS Bach.
4th December 2020, 7:30pm: London harpist Elizabeth Bass, a young artist presented in this Music Forum in cooperation with the Countess of Munster Trust, will demonstrate how the harp works, and discuss challenges and logistics of traveling with such a large instrument. She will also perform several works from her wide-ranging repertoire that includes transcriptions for harp of Scarlatti Piano Sonatas to 20th century works for solo harp by Benjamin Britten and others.
15th January 2021, 7:30pm: The first Music Forum in 2021 will feature a behind-the-scenes conversation with Mark Forkgen, conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Kokoro ensemble who will be performing in the re-scheduled performances of Some Call It Home at TRP in May 2021. Mark will discuss ways in which he prepares for a world premiere performance – how he learns a new score, how he organises rehearsals, how he deals with the different personalities of demanding musicians. As part of the discussion, we will play musical excerpts of the new score and highlight ways in which it is central to the overall drama.
19th February 2021, 7:30pm: London oboist Katherine Bryer – a young artist presented in cooperation with the Countess of Munster Trust – will show us how her oboe works, how she makes reeds, and perform solo oboe works from her repertoire that spans several centuries: from Bach to contemporary works by Elliot Carter and Giles Silvestrini.
South East London song series welcomes socially-distanced audience – Following months of concert halls lying quiet, Blackheath Halls will open their doors on 19th September to a socially-distanced audience, for the first time since the pandemic struck in March. One of the first indoor concerts to be held in the UK under new government guidelines, it marks the first of three performances programming Schubert’s complete cycles here by SongEasel as part of The Wanderlust Series, featuring emerging star baritone, Julien Van Mellaerts alongside pianist and founder-curator of SongEasel, Jocelyn Freeman.
Complete with temperature checks and staggered arrival slots, the performance of Die schöne Müllerin will run for just over an hour with no interval. To compliment this, SongEasel – whose vision is to fill South East London with song – was founded with a passion for audience cultivation and development, and will also host a pre-concert talk with renowned experts Dr Natasha Loges and Natasha Riordan. The evening will be recorded as live and available to watch On Demand during the month of October (via songeasel.eventbrite.com), for those unable to attend in person. This online viewing method was piloted in July for the latest recital in The Wanderlust Series featuring Mark Padmore and Julius Drake, and offers viewing packages for a range of budgets including spoken content, subtitles providing translations of the song texts, and a PDF concert programme.
For socially-distanced tickets, please CLICK HERE, where you can chose your seat.
Bard Music Festival – Joining forces with The Orchestra Now (TŌN) and the Bard College Conservatory the Bard Music Festival will present ‘Out of the Silence: A Celebration of Music’, a series of four free live-streamed concerts for string orchestra, piano and percussion (Sep 5–26), coming to UPSTREAMING, the Fisher Center’s virtual stage. All programs are free, reservations requested. Pairing works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Bartók – all past subjects of the Bard Music Festival – with music by ten prominent Black composers – ranging from Classical pioneer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges to contemporary Americans Alvin Singleton, Adolphus Hailstork and Jessie Montgomery, the series celebrates Bard’s commitment to neglected rarities and the unquenchable joy of music-making. All four programs will be performed without an audience and with appropriate safety measures on Bard College’s idyllic Hudson Valley campus by its unique graduate training orchestra, TŌN, under the leadership of Music Director Leon Botstein and other members of the TŌN artistic team. Hailed as ‘a highlight of the musical year’ (Wall Street Journal), the Bard Music Festival is the inspiration for Bard’s annual seven-week SummerScape festival, whose devoted fans will no doubt enjoy the chance to experience virtually some of the adventurous Bard music-making they have been missing. Since its founding in 1990, the Bard Music Festival has succeeded in enriching the standard concert repertory with a wealth of important rediscoveries; as the New York Times points out, ‘wherever there is an overlooked potential masterpiece, Leon Botstein is not too far behind.’ True to this mission, ‘Out of the Silence’ shines a light on some of the important Black composers so rarely admitted to the canon. Examples of their work will be heard in September alongside music by four composers featured in early seasons of the festival. By celebrating more than three decades of musical exploration at Bard while amplifying some of society’s most unjustly neglected artistic voices, the series looks ahead to a more equitable future.
English National Opera – On 17 July tickets for the English National Opera’s Drive and Live – the world’s first live drive-in opera – will go on sale. This new, modern 90 minute version of the much-loved La bohème is performed live at London’s Alexandra Palace with members of the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus. For casting and other details and about how to book tickets CLICK HERE.
Nevill Holt Opera – have announced six outdoor concerts are taking place in the beautiful gardens of the Nevill Holt estate this summer. Two concerts will take place on each of 29 August, 5 and 12 September. Nurturing up-and-coming talent is an essential part of NHO’s mission, and each concert will feature at least five NHO Young Artists. An English Country Garden will feature English Folksongs by Elgar and others, Summer Shakespeare will feature John Rutter’s Birthday Madrigals and Choral Music from the Renaissance will round out the concert series with Monteverdi, Gabrielli and Palestrina. During each visit, which will last for 2.5 hours, audiences can enjoy the outdoor performance and local food and explore the gardens. Each event will be held with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Tickets are £35, with some held for each concert for those who may not be able to afford it. NHO’s 2020 festival with La traviata and Don Giovanni was cancelled in March due to Covid-19 and postponed to 2021. For more information CLICK HERE.
Opera Leipzig – The Oper Leipzig schedule of events for the 2020/21 season will once again allow for performances on the main stage, as part of an ambitious hygiene plan. The Oper Leipzig’s Oper Leipzig’s modified program for the months of September and October 2020 begins with a season-opening concert is entitled ‘Vorhang auf!’ and will take place on September 12, 2020. Intendant and general music director Ulf Schirmer will musically direct the program, which will include works by Mozart, Rossini, Carl Maria von Weber, Bizet, and Humperdinck. The very next day on September 13, soprano Gabriele Scherer will take the stage with her husband, superstar baritone Michael Volle, as together they perform selections from the works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss an 60 Musicians of the Gewandhaus orchestra on stage. In line with health regulations, the Oper Leipzig’s theater will offer 238 seats, and the Musikalische Komödie’s current venue allows 48 seats. Both venues will offer one-hour performances without an intermission and will observe distancing regulations in the front and back of the house, and on stage. Ulf Schirmer thanks all involved in this complex process of coordination: ‘I am very grateful to the artists, and to our planning and technical teams, both on stage and behind the scenes, for their engagement, their patience, and their creativity. Thanks to them, we are able to make resolute and imaginative decisions regarding this autumn’s new schedule of events.’ Audiences can look forward to one premiere by each of the Oper Leipzig’s three divisions: the Oper Leipzig, the Leipzig Ballet, and the Musikalische Komödie. For more information CLICK HERE.
The Maltings Theatre – Hot on the heels of the re-ignition of outdoor performances, The Maltings Theatre will present a two-week open air festival of Shakespeare (and more) at the atmospheric Roman Theatre of St Albans during August. The Maltings Theatre’s own productions of Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor will feature throughout the two week run and performances of both plays will bookend the programme opening on Friday August 14th and closing on Monday August 31st. ‘It’s a really exciting time!’ asserts Maltings Artistic Director Adam Nichols. ‘Having led the successful campaign to persuade the government to allow live open air performance to restart, we’re delighted to be one of the first venues in the country to bring back live theatre to audiences in the historical and beautiful surrounds of the Roman Theatre of St Albans. It is said that Shakespeare himself completed many of his finest works during lockdown, so it seems appropriate for us to be presenting a range of the great man’s plays this summer.’ The Festival will also host the work of three other critically acclaimed touring theatre companies: The HandleBards will present ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘Gnora the Gnome’s Daytime Disco’ (children welcome!); Folksy Theatre will present ‘The Taming of the Shrew’; Pantaloons Theatre Company’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ completes the programme. For full programme details CLICK HERE. With strict planning and safety measures in place, the venue will be able to accommodate 220 audience members utilising the full height and all three levels of the atmospheric amphitheatre for the first time in the modern era.
London Concertante – The launch is announced of a socially distanced summer concert series, entitled ‘Secret Garden Concerts’, in a bid to embrace the recent outdoor performance regulations. A series of five outdoor performances will be hosted in the beautiful surroundings of their newly-formed outdoor garden venue in Streatham Hill throughout August, accompanied by a sparkling wine reception and a stunning menu. The arts have been arguably one of the hardest-hit sectors during the Coronavirus crisis, yet musicians and actors, as well as all those across the arts, have tried to find inventive ways of reaching their audiences, and London Concertante has been no exception. With their Spring/Summer season wiped out, at a loss of nearly half their annual turnover, they’ve been thinking of new and exciting ways in which they can reach out to their audience before concerts are allowed to resume. The stunning outdoor venue in Streatham Hill will host a series of five intimate concerts throughout August, performed by London Concertante members and friends of the ensemble. Musicians include The David Gordon Trio, The Camarilla Ensemble, London Concertante’s Guest Director Jonathan Stone, harpsichordist David Wright and of course London Concertante itself as well as many more. More details can be found if you CLICK HERE.
Maria Marchant’s ‘7 Notes in 7 Days at 7pm’ – Maria Marchant’s project started in lockdown, giving a live premiere performance each Monday night at 7pm on her professional Facebook page (CLICK HERE), showcasing a different composer each week in a unique call for scores. Now in its 12th week, the project has moved from her sitting room to the stunning Blüthner Piano Centre in Baker Street where she now films the live streams from. On Monday 27th July there was the world premiere of Roderick Williams’s ‘Chaconne at Five’, a super jazzy solo piano piece that Roddy wrote in his student days.
Edinburgh International Festival 2020 – Covid-19 has not dimmed the creativity of artists, nor the enthusiasm of all the people who make Edinburgh’s festivals. My Light Shines On is an act of optimism and solidarity: a series of world-class artistic interventions celebrating a spark that still burns bright. For the first time since lockdown began, artists have returned to the venues they love to make theatre together, to play music together, to sing together, to dance together and to light up the skies together. On 8 August, we celebrate what would have been the opening weekend of the 2020 festival season. A specially commissioned film featuring new work from artists across genres airs on our YouTube channel, Facebook Live and BBC Scotland at 9.30pm. The film features famous faces from festivals across the years, as well as collaborations with other Edinburgh festivals. This unique broadcast launches a series of new recorded activity, which will be viewable throughout August on our YouTube channel. For more information CLICK HERE.
Guildhall School of Music & Drama – GSMD has announced its Autumn Season of events, which will all be delivered digitally and free of charge. From late-September 2020, online audiences will be able to enjoy a mixture of live broadcast and pre-recorded content from across all School departments, created, performed and filmed at Guildhall School with the required social distancing. Soprano Julia Bullock will be welcomed as Artist in Residence at Guildhall School for the seasons 2020–2022. Known for her versatile artistry and probing intellect, Bullock will draw on her depth of experience to work with Vocal students in masterclasses and performance projects, guiding them on programming and on developing their own creative processes. Guildhall’s Autumn Season music events include the rescheduled Gold Medal final – the School’s most prestigious prize, this year celebrating instrumentalists – and the return of Takuo Yuasa to conduct the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Dvořák, Janáček, and Sibelius. Guildhall School’s Autumn drama productions include a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Suba Das, and a new devised piece entitled Pod co-created by Jamie Bradley and Vicki Igbokwe, made with the Company. Students on the BA Performance and Creative Enterprise (PACE) programme will also share a series of self-devised works in a three-day online festival called Chapters, complemented by a regular series of conversations with inspiring guest speakers throughout the season. The Opera department presents a triple bill of Italian works directed by Stephen Medcalf and conducted by Head of Opera Dominic Wheeler: Mascagni’s Zanetto; Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna (Susanna’s Secret); and Donizetti’s Two men and a woman (Rita). The Guildhall Jazz department will present the first in a year-long series of concerts charting the history of big band, beginning with the 1920s and 1930s. Masterclasses and curated concerts will take place with artists including pianists Stephen Hough, Imogen Cooper, Iain Burnside and Julius Drake; composers Jonathan Dove and Alison Bauld; and singers Kate Royal and Roderick Williams. The School’s Research Works seminars continue in online format throughout the season, in which staff, students and visiting speakers discuss the findings of their ongoing research.
All content will be available to watch online, for free, via Guildhall School’s website. To account for social distancing, ground-breaking low-latency technology will be used to enable larger ensembles to perform together in real time from from across different venues at the School. Staged productions will feature the work of the School’s Production Arts department, created in collaboration with the Opera and Drama departments in accordance with safety and social distancing guidelines.
Event dates and further information will be announced soon and for more information CLICK HERE.
Glyndebourne Festival Opera – Glyndebourne was forced to cancel its 2020 Festival and close its doors following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but, in early July, as lockdown eased, the opera house announced a mini-festival of outdoor performances, tickets for which sold out in just 40 minutes.
Now, Glyndebourne has announced that it is extending the season, adding more concerts by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), a recital performance by Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Young Artists and additional Open Gardens days.
Each year the Jerwood Young Artists programme supports exceptionally talented young singers from the Glyndebourne Chorus. The new outdoor concert will mark 10 years of the programme and brings together four singers who have been supported through the programme in recent years – soprano Madison Nonoa-Horsefield (2020), mezzo soprano Emma Kerr (2015), tenor John Findon (2017) and tenor Frederick Jones (2019). They will perform a selection of operatic classics, accompanied by pianist Matthew Fletcher, with performances on 29 and 30 August.
The OAE will give six performances of a programme of music by Mozart, Beethoven and Jonathan Dove, conducted by Glyndebourne Chorus Director Aidan Oliver. For more information CLICK HERE.