Webmaster: Len Mullenger
Seen and Heard Festival Preview
Festival 2006: Glorious Music in Glorious
Devon, 7th to 23rd July 2006 (BK)
Hats off then, to Exeter City Council for the lively programme of music, theatre and ballet that comes to Devon's 'capital' every year in July. Without a big name Artistic Director to spearhead the event, the Council arranges a varied mix of concerts and recitals that does them great credit, especially since it is funded by ticket sales and some sponsorship.
This year, another rich assortment
of recitals and bigger concerts is in store. The Borodin
Quartet will play Miaskovsky (no.13) Shostakovitch
(No. 1) and Schumann (Op 41, No 3 in A major) on July
13th, a programme of great interest to many. Next
up is Welsh mezzo Buddug
Verona James and a small baroque band presenting
the 'one-woman' show Castradiva, a celebration
of the lives of Rome's castrati singers in the early
1700s. This costumed presentation includes arias by
Gluck and Handel as well as instrumental music by
Biber, Marais, Mattei and Scarlatti and promises musical
excellence combined with some drama and comedy. Anyone
describing herself as 'opera singer, actress and butcher'
clearly has a sense of fun.
The bigger musical events start with
the Philharmonia conducted by Shuntaro Sato on July
8th playing Smetana's Bartered Bride Overture,
the Grieg Piano Concert with soloist Vesselin Stanev
and Rimsky's Scheherezade. Emma Johnson and
Union Chamber Orchestra are also in the Cathedral
on July 12th with a Haydn and Mozart programme that
includes the Clarinet Concerto (K622) Directed by
Eva Stegemann, this concert is bound to be very popular.
To complete this round-up, two vocal concerts with greatly contrasted programming and musical styles are worth mentioning. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen bring their Choral Pilgrimage 2006 to the Cathedral on July 22nd, a concert comprising the Victoria Requiem and some of Victoria's motets. The tour has had enthusiastic reviews from critics everywhere so far and is bound to be a sell-out. Early booking is certainly advisable.
And finally, a concert two nights before The Sixteen by the Swingle Singers deserves attention. Yes, they're still going, 43 years on since Jazz Sebastian Bach, and dooby, dooby doo-ing just as they always did. Though Ward Swingle is in his seventies now and his singing days are past, he calls the current group his 'grandchildren' and makes sure that they still sound.....well, Swingley. No other word will quite do.
Further details of the festival can be found at http://pub.exeter.gov.uk/asp/summer2006/ and online booking is available from May 11th.