The Grange, 13 July 2016
Primary Robins is a project set up by Pimlico Opera with the aim of “using music and theatre to expand the outlook and enrich the lives of schoolchildren who have little exposure to songs and music”, as part of their own aim “to advance personal development, particularly with younger people”. Pimlico Opera is one of the two opera companies founded by Wasfi Kani (in 1987), the other being Grange Park Opera (in 1998). As part of Primary Robins, musicians have been working with schools in Hampshire, Durham, Kent and Nottingham to provide weekly singing lessons to some 1600 children.
As an afternoon curtain raiser to Grange Park Opera’s performance of Tristan & Isolde, a group of 120 children (all year-5, aged 10-11) from three of Hampshire primary schools crowded onto the Grange Park Opera stage Continue reading →
Basingstoke Choral Society, Hanover Band, Erica Eloff
The Anvil, Basingstoke. 2 July 2016
Local choral societies do not normally come within my reviewing remit, but the addition of the period instrument orchestra, The Hanover Band and the outstanding soprano Erica Eloff to the event at my local concert hall proved irresistible. The Basingstoke Choral Society has local roots going back to the late 19th century. An 1889 programme of a performance of Elijah by its predecessor, the Basingstoke Musical Society, mentions a choir of around 100 singers. For this performance of Handel’s oratorio Theodora, they fielded 108 singers, with 38 sopranos, 38 altos, 13 tenors and 18 bass singers, arranged in six rows overflowing from the stage on the rear stalls seats.
Theordora is a curious work. One of Handel’s least successful productions, it only ran for three poorly attended performances, and was only revived once during Handel’s lifetime. It was one of his last oratorios, written when Handel was 64, and is now seen as a masterpiece, with some notably arias and choruses. The story is unusual when compared with other Handel oratorios and operas. It is based on the story of a fourth century Princess who refused to Continue reading →