Handel Around the World

Page 1


Wednesday 1 February

Queen Elizabeth Hall


Welcome to our 2022 / 23 season, Songs of Travel. It is the final instalment of our ‘Six Chapters of Enlightenment’ series here at the Southbank Centre.

The idea of a journey excites us all. Whether it is a new adventure or one we have made dozens of times before. Travel and the idea of leaving home left a deep impression on the British and European mindset in the 17th and 18th centuries. And, of course, it is one of the great literary metaphors with the promise of discovering something about ourselves on the way to our destination.

The 18th century was a whirlwind of correspondences. International navigation was leaping forward with Captain James Cook’s maritime expeditions whilst newspapers, novels and engravings were distributing ideas and images in a manner previously unparalleled. As a result, the intellectual aspiration of the common man gained a wholly new stride. One which would reach beyond the bounds of the immediate and conventional into new realms of existence: far off lands, radical political thought, belief beyond convention and transports of the artistic soul which would make the desperate leap into the passions and turmoil of romanticism. The song of travel eventually becomes the realisation of self as hero in the flight from non-social space to the strange and wonderful of the 19th century: exoticism, opiate dreams, mesmerism, madness and the supernatural.

The music we’ve selected for the season reflects journeys that are physical and of the mind. It is the work of creative thinkers that were able to imagine unknown places through the descriptions of others, to put the fantastical to use to satirise the contemporary, to reimagine the past in new ways, to explore our individual freedom, our sense of collective belonging, and the need to travel to find their own place in the world, a journey many of us still make today.

Thank you for joining us today and supporting not just the OAE but live performance by the whole cultural community. Music by its very existence is about community and shared journeys, an adventure that looks beyond that which divides us to seek joy in common belief.

It seems like I’ve been singing Handel’s music for ever. As a boy, telling the story of the shepherds and the angels in the Messiah; or as a novice teenage Acis succumbing to Polyphemus’s jealous blows. I’ve been singing Handel with the amazing players of the OAE for a long time too (we made a disc of arias together some years ago).

This particular programme reflects the ways in which Handel the cosmopolitan – born in Germany, active in Italy, settled in London as an icon of Hanoverian Protestant rule –ranged across time and place in his operas. Some of these stories are mythical, like Acis and Galatea; some classical, like Julius Caesar in Egypt; some from less familiar periods of history, like the conflict between the Central Asian conqueror Tamerlano –also know as Tamburlaine or Timur – and the Ottoman emperor Bayezid I or Bajazet; or the late 7th Century rivalry between the Lombard king Bertarido and Grimoaldo, Duke of Benevento.

The programme was originally mooted as a sort of musical demonstration against the barriers to cultural exchange which musicians have seen erected in recent

years. We had hoped to undertake a tour which would take in Europe, Tamburlaine’s domains in Central Asia, and East Asia. If visa complexities made this tricky, war in Europe has made it impossible. We can only range across the continent in our imaginations, aided by Handel’s music. Juxtaposed with instrumental pieces, we present a mixture of the effortlessly charming and melodic – Acis’s pastoral longing or ‘Un momento di contento’ from Alcina – with some of the darkest and most dramatic music Handel ever wrote. Castrati often played the heroes in Handel’s Italian operas, but for the great Modenese tenor Francesco Borosini he wrote two extraordinary and anguished roles: the defeated emperor Bajazet, who takes his own life and bids farewell to his daughter; and the tyrannical usurper Grimoaldo, whose conscience begins to stir. A bracing alternative aria for Sesto from Giulio Cesare reminds us that tenors were sometimes brought in to replace absent mezzos, male or female. In the case of the final aria, ‘Scherza Infida’ from Ariodante I have simply stolen from the higher octave one of the greatest pieces Handel ever wrote.

There will be a pre-concert talk with Steven Devine and Leo Duarte at 6.00pm in the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer.


Wednesday 1 February 2023

7.00pm at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall


Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 2

I. Vivace

II. Largo

III. Allegro

Un momento di contento (Alcina)

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 2

IV. (Moderato)

V. (Allegro)

Pastorello d’un povero Armento (Rodelinda)

GEORG MUFFAT (1653 – 1704)

Armonico Tributo No. 5

V. Passacaille (Grave)


Love in her eyes (Acis and Galatea)

Love sounds th’alarm



Overture & Scorta siate (Giulio Cesare)

Passacaglia (Radamisto)

Forte e lieto (Tamerlano)

Bajazet’s last scene (Tamerlano)


Armonico Tributo No. 4

I. Sonata (Grave)

II. Balletto

III. Adagio – Presto

IV. Menuet

V. Adagio

VI. Aria (Presto)


Scherza infida (Ariodante)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Steven Devine director

Kati Debretzeni leader

Ian Bostridge tenor

This concert is supported by Imogen Overli and Adrian Frost


Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Violins I

Kati Debretzeni

Julia Kuhn

Iona Davies

Claire Holden

Dominika Feher

Violins II

Daniel Edgar

Henry Tong

Stephen Rouse

Ellen Bundy


Elista Bogdanova

Annette Isserlis

Martin Kelly


Catherine Rimer

Ruth Alford


Cecelia Bruggemeyer


Leo Duarte

Alexandra Bellamy


Zoe Shevlin


Steven Devine


Location, Location, Location

From Italy, he travelled to London, and from 1712 until his death, he made England his home.

But Handel’s travels were far from over. He made return visits to Germany, premiered Messiah in Dublin and travelled to Italy to secure singers for the London stage – a journey that took at least two weeks in each direction. Meanwhile his inspiration travelled without limits. The 18th-century operatic imagination made the whole of European myth and antiquity its playground: the worlds of Ancient Greece and Rome, the Biblical Middle East, and the fantastic chivalric realms of the hugely popular Italian poet Ariosto. The sheer breadth of his vision is staggering, and today’s concert can offer only a whistle-stop tour of the world according to G.F. Handel.

On 14 January 1707 the diarist Francesco Valesio recorded the arrival in Rome of “a Saxon, a most excellent player on the harpsichord”. It was Handel: 22 years old and travelling to Italy to perfect his art. The music-loving Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni swiftly welcomed him to his weekly Wednesday concerts, where the best musicians and performers in Rome appeared, while the Cardinal’s servants circulated with “ices and other delicate liquors”. It was not the first stop on Handel’s travels. Born in Halle, he had learned his trade in the bustling port city of Hamburg – “rich only in ability and goodwill”, as one contemporary remarked.

At times that world extended even beyond Handel’s own knowledge. In September 1738 Handel took out an advert in the Daily Post denouncing a pirated edition of his Organ Concertos Op. 4:

Whereas there is a spurious and incorrect Edition of Six Concertos of Mr. Handel’s for the Harpsichord or Organ, published without the Knowledge or Consent of the Author, This is to give Notice, (That the Publick may not be imposed on with a mangled Edition) That there are now printing from Mr. Handel’s original Manuscript, and corrected by himself, the same Six Concertos...

George Frideric Handel

If it sounds suspiciously like Handel had been stung before, it’s because that’s exactly what had happened with his Concerti Grossi Op. 3 – issued in 1734 by the publisher John Walsh without the composer’s approval or agreement. This was an era before copyright laws, and Walsh seems to have assembled Op. 3 from whatever Handel instrumental music he had to hand. There was a keen market in London for string concerti grossi in the manner of Corelli, and the fact that Handel uses an altogether more sumptuous ensemble (containing two oboes and a bassoon), does not seem to have bothered Walsh unduly. Op. 3 No. 2 recycles music from Handel’s German language BrockesPassion (1719). Reworked for London in the finest Italian fashion, it’s a glorious example of how musical ideas evolved as they travelled.

Alcina (1735) magics its audience to an enchanted isle (location unspecified, but definitely somewhere steamy) where the sorceress Alcina seduces the gallant Ruggiero from his knightly duty: the original Love Island, if you like. Her little sister Morgana isn’t backwards in coming forwards, either, and in ‘Un momento di contento’ we learn that her sweetheart Oronte is willing to forgive her almost anything. In Rodelinda (produced at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket in February 1725) we’re on the more solid ground of Lombardy in the age of chivalry, though the usurping king Grimoaldo is anything but chivalrous towards the virtuous Rodelinda. By Act Three, however, his conscience is catching up with him: ‘Pastorello d’un povero Armento’ finds a mighty tyrant envying a simple shepherd.

Handel wasn’t alone in having a cosmopolitan outlook. Georg Muffat (1653 – 1704) was born in the French Alps, studied music in Paris and worked in Vienna and Prague before entering the employment

of the Archbishop of Salzburg. He worked alongside the master-violinist Heinrich Biber and was given leave, in 1681, to travel to Rome. There, Muffat met Arcangelo Corelli, and his response was immediate: five sonatas, incorporating all that he knew of French dance music, German learning and the new style (by turns brilliant and songful) that he had discovered in Italy.

When Muffat returned to Salzburg in 1682 they were printed as Armonico Tributo: his first published work. The fourth sonata – which we’ll hear later in the concertcombines flashing violin solos, expressive operatic melodies and spirited dance. The fifth sonata ends with a noble and expressive Passacaglia – 25 variations, simultaneously singing and dancing. It’s easy to understand why Handel (again, this was a time before copyright) repeatedly plagiarised Muffat’s music.

Sometimes, though, new worlds are as close as Edgware, Middlesex, where Canons Park still exists but Cannons House – the country seat of Handel’s patron the Earl of Chandos – has long since been demolished. Tradition maintains that Handel’s pastoral masque Acis and Galatea (Ovid’s tale of shepherd-meets-nymph, adapted into English by John Gay) was premiered on the terrace at Cannons in the summer of 1718. These two arias for the lovestruck hero Acis have the directness and simplicity that made Acis and Galatea one of Handel’s most enduring hits. Who knew that Arcadia can be reached by the Jubilee Line?

With Radamisto (1720), Giulio Cesare in Egitto and its immediate successor Tamerlano (both premiered in 1724) the scene shifts to the opulent world of classical antiquity and imperial power politics. The craze for Italian opera was at its height: Radamisto was set in ancient Armenia and when it opened on 27 April 1720 the theatre was so full that many ladies in the audience fainted. Part of the show’s appeal


was its lavish dance sequences: including this Passacaglia from the end of Act Two – a stately and swaggering dance in triple time.

Giulio Cesare used lavish scenery to tell the story of Julius Caesar’s doomed affair with Cleopatra. The setting is Egypt, and passions are running high – ‘Scorta siate a passi miei’ was written by Handel for a 1725 revival to showcase the voice of Francesco Borosini: possibly the world’s first superstar Italian tenor, at a time when the real glamour and fame belonged to the castrati (who had, after all, paid a high price for glory). Borosini also created the role of Bajazet –the vanquished Ottoman emperor whose courage and defiance eventually melts the heart of his captor Tamerlano (better known today as Timur, or Tamburlaine). The setting this time is Turkey in the 14th Century – to 18th-century western audiences, a place of barbaric cruelty and splendour – and with Borosini singing, Bajazet became one of the

first great tenor heroes in all opera.

A decade later on 8 January, 1735, Handel’s Ariodante opened at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden – his first opera at the future Royal Opera House, and his only opera set in the British Isles. In medieval Scotland, Prince Ariodante fears that his betrothed, Princess Ginevra, has been unfaithful, and as he pours out his sorrows, the ravishing music of ‘Scherza Infida’ unfurls at rapturous length. It wasn’t to all tastes. “Handel has not met with his usual approval” reported Queen Caroline to her daughter. “They say his opera is so pathetic and lugubrious that everyone who has returned from it has this opinion and has been saddened by it.” Today, singers and listeners alike are happy to follow Handel wherever he travels: and at the end of tonight’s odyssey, it’s only right that parting should bring such sweet sorrow…

Theatre Royal Covent Garden in the 19th Century

Texts and Translations

Un momento di contento (Alcina)



M’inganna, me n’avveggo, e pur ancor l’adoro… Se ben mi fu crudel, è’l mio tesoro.


Un momento di contento dolce rende a un fido amante tutto il pianto che versò. Suol Amore, dal dolore tirar balsamo alle pene, e sanar chi pria piagò.

Pastorello d’un povero Armento (Rodelinda)


(Recitativo accompagnato)

Fatto inferno è il mio petto: di più flagelli armate ho dentro il core tre furie: gelosia, sdegno ed amore. E da più gole io sento, quasi mastin crudele, il rimorso latrar per mio tormento, chiamandomi infedele, spergiuro, usurpator, empio e tiranno. Ma pur voi lusingate le stanche mie pupille ad un breve riposo, aure tranquille! Sì, dormi Grimoaldo, e se ritrovi pace tra i fonti e l’erbe, delle regie superbe le mal sicure soglie in abbandono lascia; ché prezioso è dell’alma riposo al par del trono.


She deceives me, I know it, and yet I still love her… Even though she was cruel to me, she is my beloved.


One moment of joy sweetens for the faithful lover all the tears he has shed. Love can find in pain a balm to soothe sufferings, and can heal those it has wounded.


My breast has become a hell: in my heart, armed with many whips, are three Furies: jealousy, disdain, and love. And from their many throats I hear, like a cruel hound, my remorse howling to torment me, calling me unfaithful, liar, usurper, villain and tyrant. And yet, only charm my tired eyes to a brief rest, you gentle breezes! Yes, sleep, Grimoaldo, and if you again find peace in the springs and meadows, leave behind proud kingdoms

with their unstable thrones, for rest is as precious to the heart as any throne.



Pastorello d’un povero armento pur dorme contento, sotto l’ombra d’un faggio o d’alloro. Io, d’un regno monarca fastoso, non trovo riposo, sotto l’ombra di porpora e d’oro.


Even the shepherd-boy of a poor flock sleeps contentedly, under the shade of a beech or laurel tree. But I, monarch of a splendid kingdom, can find no rest, under the shade of purple and gold.

Love in her eyes (Acis and Galatea)

Lo! here my love! Turn Galatea, hither turn thine eyes; See, at thy feet the longing Acis lies!

Love in her eyes sits playing, And sheds delicious death; Love on her lips is straying And warbling in her breath! Love on her breast sits panting, And swells with soft desire; No grace no charm is wanting, To set the heart on fire.

Love sounds th’alarm (Acis and Galatea)

Love sounds th’alarm, And fear is a flying! When beauty’s the prize, What mortal fears dying? In defence of my treasure, I’d bleed at each vein; Without her no pleasure For life is a pain.


Scorta siate (Giulio Cesare)



Seguirò tanto con ignoto passo ogn’orma del tiranno, finché nel suo periglio farò che cada esangue del padre l’uccisor per man del figlio.


Scorta siate a’ passi miei, giusto ciel, pietosi Dei, fate alfin sia vendicato. Mora l’empio, e fatto esangue renda al figlio il patrio sangue, e’l suo spirto sia placato.

Forte e lieto (Tamerlano)



Ahi, tu mi svegli in seno un molle affetto, per cui sento languir la mia costanza. Questo è il solo spavento che mi fa il mio morir, lasciar la figlia. Ah! Mio destin! Troppo crudel tu sei! Son tra ceppi, e m’insulta il mio nemico; ho in mano la vendetta, e pur la perdo; posso morire, e ancora m’è fatale il mio amor; nè vuol ch’io mora.


Forte e lieto a morte andrei, se celassi ai pensier miei della figlia il grande amor. Se non fosse il suo cordoglio, tu vedresti in me più orgoglio, Io morrei con più valor.


I will follow closely with undetected step every footprint of the tyrant, until at the moment of his peril I will see that he falls, lifeless, the murderer of the father killed by the hand of the son.


May you guide my footsteps, noble Heaven, merciful Gods, Let me be avenged at last. Let the villain die, and let his death return the country’s blood to the son, and let his spirit be appeased.


Ah, you wake a gentle love in my breast, And I feel my resolve weaken. This is the only fear

I have in death – to leave my daughter. Ah, my fate! You are too cruel!

I am in chains, and my enemy taunts me; I hold revenge in my hands, yet I lose it; I can die, and yet my fatal love remains and does not want me to die.


I would go to death strong and happy, If I could conceal from my thoughts My great love for my daughter. If it were not for her grief, You would see more pride in me, I would die with more courage.


Bajazet’s final scene (Tamerlano)


Oh, sempre avversi Dei! Dov’è ferro, o veleno?

Sì, figlia; in questi estremi amplessi miei per pietà del tuo duol t’ucciderei.


Figlia mia, non pianger, no. Lascia allora uscire il pianto, quando morto io nol vedrò;


Tu, spietato, il vedrai; (misera figlia!)

Ma non ne andrai lieto gran tempo: Io vado le furie a scatenar per tuo tormento;

Già miro il dì mancar: morte, ti sento. Per tuo supplizio è quest’orror. Su, via, furie e ministre del gran Re dell’ira: io vi conosco, eccovi là: quel crudo percuotete, sbranate, lacerate, sì, lanciategli al core i serpi e le ceraste. Degni di voi que’ colpi son. Sì; presto, ma non cessate; ahimé, se stanche siete, la rabbia mia prendete, o meco lo portate laggiù nel regno del furor eterno. Per tormentar, per lacerar quel mostro, io sarò la maggior furia d’averno.


Oh, ever-hostile Gods! Where is a sword, or poison?

Yes, daughter, in these my last embraces, In pity for your sorrow I would kill you.


My daughter, do not weep. Only let your tears flow

When I am dead and cannot see them


You, pitiless one, will see it (poor daughter!), but you will not be glad for long: I will unleash the Furies to torment you; I already see day fading: death, I hear you This horror is your punishment. Come, furies and servants

Of the great king of wrath:

I recognise you, there you are: this cruel man, strike, scourge, tear him to pieces, Yes! Hurl snakes and vipers at his heart! Those blows are worthy of you. Yes, hurry, and do not stop: ah! If you are weary, take my rage, or carry me together with him down into the kingdom of eternal fury. To torment and scourge that monster, I will become the worst fury of hell.


Scherza infida (Ariodante)



E vivo ancora? E senza il ferro, o Dei! Oh Dei, che farò?

Che mi dite, o affanni miei?


Scherza infida, in grembo al drudo, Io tradito a morte in braccio, Per tua colpa ora men vo, Ma a spezzar l’indegno laccio, Ombra mesta e spirto ignudo Per tua pena io tornerò.


Am I still alive? And with no sword? Oh God, what shall I do? What do you counsel me, in my troubles?


Revel, faithless one, in your lover’s embrace, while I am betrayed and in the arms of death. Because of your wrongdoing, I now go to die, but to break the shameful bond, As a sorrowful shadow, a bodiless spirit, I will return to haunt you.

Please note that texts / translations may not be exactly as performed.



Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge’s international recital career has taken him to the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, St Petersburg, Aldeburgh and Schwarzenberg

Schubertiade Festivals and to the main stages of Carnegie Hall and the Teatro alla Scala, Milan. He has held artistic residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus and Schwarzenberg Schubertiade (2003 / 04), the Barbican, London (2008), the Luxembourg Philharmonie (2010 / 11), the Wigmore Hall (2011 / 12) and Hamburg Laeiszhalle (2012 / 13). Ian has also participated in a Carte-Blanche series with Thomas Quasthoff at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (2004 / 05) and a Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall (2005 / 06). In the 18 / 19 season Ian undertook an auspicious Artistic Residency with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra: the first of its kind for the ensemble.

His recordings have won all the major international record prizes and been nominated for 15 Grammys. His recording for Pentatone of Schubert’s Winterreise with Thomas Adès won the

Vocal Recording of the Year 2020 in the International Classical Music Awards. Other recordings include Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with Graham Johnson (Gramophone Award 1996), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress) with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Grammy Award, 1999), and Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) with William Christie. Under his exclusive contract with Warner Classics, recordings included Schubert and Schumann Lieder (Gramophone Award 1998), The English Songbook and Henze Lieder with Julius Drake, Britten’s Our Hunting Fathers with Daniel Harding, Mozart’s Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras, Janáček’s The Diary of One who Disappeared with Thomas Adès, Schubert with Leif Ove Andsnes, Mitsuko Uchida and Sir Antonio Pappano, Noel Coward with Jeffrey Tate, Britten Orchestral cycles with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, Wolf with Pappano, Bach cantatas with Fabio Biondi, Handel arias with Harry Bicket, Britten Canticles and both Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Gramophone Award, 2003) and Billy Budd (Grammy Award, 2010), Adès’s The Tempest (Gramophone Award 2010) and Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Recent recordings include Respighi Songs and Die schöne Mullerin with Saskia Giorgini for Pentatone, Shakespeare songs (Grammy Award, 2017) and Requiem: The Pity of War with Pappano for Warner Classics, as well as Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été, Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Debussy’s Le Livre de Baudelaire arr. John Adams with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

He has worked with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Chicago, Boston, London and BBC Symphony orchestras, the London, New


York, Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras and the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam under Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Antonio Pappano, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding and Donald Runnicles. He sang the world premiere of Henze’s Opfergang with the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome under Pappano.

His operatic appearances have included Aschenbach (Death in Venice) for the Deutsche Oper, Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw) for the Teatro alla Scala, Handel’s Jeptha for Opéra National de Paris, Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Opera Australia and at the Edinburgh Festival, Nerone (L’Incoronazione di Poppea), Tom Rakewell and Male Choru (The Rape of Lucretia) for the Bayerische Staatsoper, Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) for the Wiener Staatsoper, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Aschenbach (Death in Venice) and Jupiter (Semele) for the English National Opera, Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Caliban (The Tempest) for the Royal Opera House and Madwoman / Curlew River in the Netia Jones’s staging for the London Barbican which was also seen in New York and on the west coast of America.

Recent notable events have included the War Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Vladimir Jurowski, the Boston Symphony Orchestra cond. Pappano and with the TonhalleOrchester Zürich cond. Kent Nagano, Les Illuminations with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra cond. Andris Nelsons, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra della Toscana, Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the Seattle Symphony cond. Ludovic Morlot, Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Orchestre de Chambre de Paris cond. Lars Vogt and Barcelona Symphony cond.

Marta Gardolińska and Winterreise with Pappano at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Elbphilhmarmonie and Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, and with Thomas Adès for Auditori de Barcelona. Other concert appearances have included European tours with Europa Galante of Monteverdi’s Orfeo and The Seasons with the Orchestra of 18th century, a European recital tour including the MITO and Verbier festivals with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau of his composition for Ian, The Folly of Desire, a world premiere of a new commission by James MacMillan with the London Symphony Orchestra for the WW1 centenary, recordings of the major Schubert song cycles live at the Wigmore Hall with pianists Lars Vogt and Thomas Adès.

His book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession (The Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize, 2016) was published by Faber and Faber in the UK and Knopf in the USA in 2014. In the 20 / 21 season

Ian gave a lecture series for the University of Chicago and took up the position of Visiting Professor at the Munich Hochschule für Musik und Theater.

He was a fellow in history at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1992 – 5) and in 2001 was elected an honorary fellow of the college. In 2003 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Music by the University of St Andrews and in 2010 he was made an honorary fellow of St John’s College Oxford. He was made a CBE in the 2004 New Year’s Honours. In 2014 he was Humanitas Professor of Classical Music at the University of Oxford.

Ian appears this season as Renaud (Armide) for Opéra Comique and undertakes a tour of St Matthew Passion with Les Talens Lyriques, both cond. Rousset. His multitude of concert performances include Zender’s Winterreise with Pappano at La Monnaie, War Requiem with San Francisco Symphony cond. Jordan and with Sinfonica di Milano cond. Trevino,


Les Illuminations at the MITO festival, Des Knaben Wunderhorn for the Sinfonica di Milano cond. Mariotti, a performance of Mustonen’s Taivaanvalot with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Mustonen, Les nuits d’été with Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra cond. Zehetmair, Das Paradies und das Peri with Capella Cracoviensis cond. Adamus, Winterreise with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Kholodenko, Britten Serenade with the Hallé Orchestra and City of Birmingham Orchestra, Folly of Desire with Brad Mehldau at the Wiener Konzerthaus and Bozar, performances of English chamber music at the Muziekcentrum Biljoke and Schleswig-Holstein Musikfest with Oxalys, a performance at Wigmore with Capella Neapolitana and with Laurence Power and the Oslo Chamber Orchestra, as well as performances with the Oberon Trio. He also undertakes a Korean recital tour of Winterreise with Julius Drake, and a European concert tour with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Additionally, Ian sings recitals with Magnus Svensson at the Stockholm Concert Hall, and longtime collaborators Saskia Giorgini at the Concertgebouw and Sociedad Filarmonica de Zaragoza and Julius Drake at the Pierre Boulez Saal and Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical in Madrid.

Kati Debretzeni

A fourth generation musician, Kati Debretzeni began playing the violin with Sofia Szabó in her native Romania, finishing her studies with Ora Shiran in Israel.

Her passion for historical performance took her to London, where she studied the Baroque violin with Catherine Mackintosh and Walter Reiter.

Since the year 2000 Kati leads the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner, with whom she has performed the world over. Her playing can be heard in the group’s recordings of JS Bach’s cantatas (recorded live during the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000), the Brandenburg concertos and the more recent recordings of the Mass in B Minor, the St Matthew Passion and Monteverdi’s operas. In 2018 she recorded violin concertos by JS Bach with the orchestra to critical acclaim, including her own arrangement of BWV 1053. In April 2022 she performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante conducted by Gardiner in the US, UK and Italy.

Since 2008 she is one of the leaders of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and has collaborated with Simon Rattle, Adam and Ivan Fischer, András Schiff, William Christie, Ottavio Dantone, Vladimir Jurowski, Maxim Emilyanichev and Ricardo Minasi. She has directed the group from the violinist’s chair in works ranging


from Baroque repertoire to Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Berlioz, and has recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons following performances in collaboration with the Henri Oguike Dance Company.

Kati is in demand internationally as leader, soloist and director with groups such as Zefiro (Italy), Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra (Israel), Barokkanerne (Norway), Les Siècles and Amaryllis (France), Victoria Baroque (Canada) and the Budapest Bach Consort (Hungary).

A keen chamber musician, Kati has recorded award-winning CDs with Ricordo and Florilegium. In the last decade she is a member of Trio Goya.

As teacher, Kati has given masterclasses in the UK, Germany, Italy, Norway, Canada, Israel and Hungary. She is on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and her former students make music the world over.

Director of New Chamber Opera, Oxford and Director of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Bach the Universe & Everything series.

On the concert platform he has directed Purcell, Blow, Bach, Handel and Mozart with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Bach Easter Oratorio with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Haydn, Handel, CPE Bach, JC Bach, Ditterdorf and Viotti with the English Haydn Orchestra. Amongst other groups he has directed are Trondheim Barokk, the Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Victoria Baroque Players, British Columbia; Arion Baroque Ensemble, Montreal; Academy of Ancient Music, Academie d’Ambronay, the Mozart Festival Orchestra and St Paul’s Chamber Orchestra. He regularly appears at the Valetta Baroque, Toronto Bach and London Handel Festivals.

Devine’s opera repertoire includes works by Purcell, Cavalli, Handel, Haydn and Mozart as well as rarities by Galuppi, Salieri and Cimarosa. His recordings include Dido & Aeneas with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Sarah Connolly in the title role and many acclaimed discs as harpsichord and fortepiano soloist.

Steven Devine was educated at Chetham’s School of Music before reading Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford and completing his studies at the Royal College of Music. He was Director of Opera Restor’d from 2002 – 2010 and Kurator and Conductor of the Norwegian Wind Ensemble from 2016 – 2018. He is a member of electronic music group The Art of Moog performing Bach on synthesizers.

Steven Devine

Steven Devine combines a career as a conductor and director of orchestral, choral and opera repertoire with that of a solo harpsichordist and fortepianist. He is Conductor and Artistic Advisor of The English Haydn Festival; Music


In 1986, a group of inquisitive London musicians took a long hard look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born.

And as this distinctive ensemble playing on period-specific instruments began to get a foothold, it made a promise to itself. It vowed to keep questioning, adapting and inventing as long as it lived. Residencies at the Southbank Centre and the Glyndebourne Festival didn’t numb its experimentalist bent. A major record deal didn’t iron out its quirks. Instead, the OAE examined musical notes with ever more freedom and resolve.

That creative thirst remains unquenched. The Night Shift series of informal performances are redefining concert formats. Its former home at London’s Kings Place has fostered further diversity of planning and music-making. The ensemble has formed the bedrock for some of Glyndebourne’s most groundbreaking recent productions.

In keeping with its values of always questioning, challenging and trailblazing, in September 2020, the OAE became the resident orchestra of Acland Burghley School, Camden. The residency – a first for a British orchestra – allows the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to live, work and play amongst the students of the school.

Now more than thirty years old, the OAE is part of our musical furniture. It has even graced the outstanding conducting talents of Elder, Rattle, Jurowski, Iván Fischer and John Butt with a joint title of Principal Artist. But don’t ever think the ensemble has lost sight of its founding vow. Not all orchestras are the same. And there’s nothing quite like this one.


The OAE Team

Chief Executive

Crispin Woodhead

General Manager

Edward Shaw

Finance & Governance Director

Pascale Nicholls

Projects Director

Jo Perry

Education Director

Cherry Forbes

Marketing Director

Doug Buist

Acting Development Director

Natalie Docherty

Education Officer

Andrew Thomson

Projects Manager

Sophie Adams

Finance Manager

Fabio Lodato

Head of Digital Content

Zen Grisdale

Head of Individual Giving

Alisdair Ashman

Box Office & Data Manager

Paola Rossi

Development Manager

Kiki Betts-Dean

Development Officer

Luka Lah

Projects Officer

Ed Ault

Marketing Officer

Dora Tsang

Development Officer

Sabrina Pui Yee Chin

Accounts Officer

Chloe Tsang

Social Media & Digital Content Officer

Shyala Smith

Orchestra Consultant

Philippa Brownsword

Choir Manager

David Clegg


Roy Mowatt


Huw Daniel

Kati Debretzeni

Margaret Faultless

Matthew Truscott

Players’ Artistic Committee

Adrian Bending

Steven Devine

Andrew Roberts

Katharina Spreckelsen

Christine Sticher

Principal Artists

John Butt

Sir Mark Elder

Iván Fischer

Vladimir Jurowski

Sir Simon Rattle

Sir András Schiff

Emeritus Conductors

William Christie

Sir Roger Norrington

Life President

Sir Martin Smith

Board of Directors

Imogen Overli [Chair]

Adrian Bending

Daniel Alexander

Steven Devine

Denys Firth

Adrian Frost

Alison McFadyen

David Marks

Rebecca Miller

Andrew Roberts

Katharina Spreckelsen

Matthew Shorter

Christine Sticher

Dr. Susan Tranter

Crispin Woodhead

OAE Trust

Adrian Frost [Chair]

Mark Allen

Paul Forman

Steven Larcombe

Alison McFadyen

Imogen Overli

Rupert Sebag-Montefiore

Maarten Slendebroek

Sir Martin Smith

Caroline Steane

Jessica Kemp

Honorary Council

Sir Martin Smith [Chair]

Sir Victor Blank

Edward Bonham Carter

Cecelia Bruggemeyer

Nigel Jones

Stephen Levinson

Max Mandel

Marshall Marcus

Julian Mash

Greg Melgaard

Roger Montgomery

Susan Palmer OBE

Jan Schlapp

Diane Segalen

Susannah Simons

Lady Smith OBE

Emily Stubbs

Rosalyn Wikinson

Mark Williams


Principal Patrons

John Armitage Charitable Trust

Denys and Vicki Firth

Adrian Frost

Imogen Overli

Sir Martin and Lady Smith OBE

Season Patrons

Julian and Annette Armstrong

Nigel Jones and Françoise Valat-Jones

Philip and Rosalyn Wilkinson

Mark and Rosamund Williams

Project Patrons

Ian S Ferguson CBE and Dr Susan Tranter

Bruce Harris

Selina and David Marks

ABS Circle

Sir Victor and Lady Blank

Sir Martin and Lady Smith

Peter Cundill Foundation

Aria Patrons

Steven Larcombe

Peter and Veronica Lofthouse

Stanley Lowy

Gary and Nina Moss

Rupert Sebag-Montefiore

Maarten and Taina Slendebroek

Caroline Steane

Eric Tomsett

Chair Patrons

Mrs Nicola Armitage

– Education Director

Victoria and Edward Bonham Carter

– Principal Trumpet

Katharine Campbell

– Violin

Anthony and Celia Edwards

– Principal Oboe

James Flynn QC

– Co-Principal Lute / Theorbo

Thank you

Paul Forman

– Co-Principal Cello / Violin /

Co-Principal Horn

Jonathan Gaisman

– Viola

Michael and Harriet Maunsell

– Principal Keyboard


– Flute

Jenny and Tim Morrison

– Second Violin

Caroline Noblet

– Oboe

Andrew Nurnberg

– Co-Principal Oboe

Professor Richard Portes


– Co-Principal Bassoon

John and Rosemary Shannon

– Principal Horn

Sue Sheridan OBE

– Education

Crispin Woodhead and Christine Rice

– Principal Timpani

Education Patrons

Stephen and Patricia Crew

Sir Timothy and Lady Lloyd

Susan Palmer OBE

Andrew and Cindy Peck

Professor Richard Portes


Associate Patrons

Charles and Julia Abel Smith

Damaris Albarrán

Noël and Caroline Annesley

Sir Richard Arnold and Mary Elford

Hugh and Michelle Arthur

George and Kay Brock

Catherine and Barney Burgess

David and Marilyn Clark

David Emmerson

Claire Espiner

Jonathan Parker Charitable Trust

Roger Heath MBE and Alison Heath MBE

Peter and Sally Hilliar

Madeleine Hodgkin

Kristin Konschnik

Moira and Robert Latham

Sir Timothy and Lady Lloyd

Roger Mears and Joanie Speers

David Mildon

In Memory Of Lesley Mildon

John Nickson and Simon Rew

Andrew and Cindy Peck

Stephen and Penny Pickles

Peter Rosenthal

Michael Spagat

Roger and Pam Stubbs

Emily Stubbs and Stephen McCrum

Paul Tarrant and Jenny Haxell

Shelley Von Strunckel

Mr J Westwood

Young Ambassador


Jessica Kemp and Alex Kemp

Breandán Knowlton

Young Associate

Natalie Docherty

Young Patrons

David Gillbe

Marianne and William Cartwright-Hignett

Marina Abel Smith

Peter Yardley-Jones

Sam Hucklebridge

Gold Friends

Michael Brecknell

Gerard Cleary

Mr and Mrs C Cochin De Billy

Chris Gould

Alison and Ian Lowdon


Silver Friends

Dennis and Sheila Baldry

Haylee and Michael Bowsher

Tony Burt

Christopher Campbell

Sir Anthony and Lady Cleaver

David Cox

Stephen and Cristina Goldring

Rachel and Charles Henderson

Malcolm Herring

Patricia Herrmann

Rupert and Alice King

Anthony and Carol Rentoul

Stephen and Roberta Rosefield

Bridget Rosewell

David and Ruth Samuels

Her Honour Suzanne Stewart

Simon and Karen Taube

Susannah Simons

Bronze Friends

Tony Baines

Penny and Robin Broadhurst

Graham and Claire Buckland

Dan Burt

Michael A Conlon

Mrs SM Edge

Mrs Mary Fysh

Mr Simon Gates

Martin and Helen Haddon

Ray and Liz Harsant

The Lady Heseltine

Mrs Auriel Hill

Rose and Dudley Leigh

Julian Markson

Stuart Martin

Richard I Morris Jr

Mike Raggett

Hugh Raven

Alan Sainer

Matthew and Sarah Shorter

Mr and Mrs Tony Timms

Mrs Joy Whitby

David Wilson

OAE Experience


Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation

Henocq Law Trust

The 29th May 1961 Charity

Stanley Picker Trust

Thriplow Charitable Trust

Rising Stars


Julian and Annette Armstrong

Old Possum’s Practical Trust

The 29th May 1961 Charity

Fenton Arts Trust

The Garrick Charitable Trust

The Michael Marks

Charitable Trust

Thriplow Charitable Trust

Trusts & Foundations

Arts Council England

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Steel Charitable Trust

The Linbury Trust

The John Lyon’s Charity

National Foundation For Youth Music

The Charles Peel

Charitable Trust

Orchestras Live

Apax Foundation

Peter Cundill Foundation

The Brian Mitchell Charitable Settlement

The Patrick Rowland Foundation

Peter Cundill Foundation

The Geoffrey Watling Charity

The Britford Bridge Trust

Dreamchasing Foundation

Albert and Eugenie Frost

Music Trust

Corporate Supporters

Champagne Deutz

Mark Allen Group

Swan Turton

Paper sculptures by Justin Rowe daysfalllikeleaves.com

OAE Education 2022 / 23

A programme to involve, empower and inspire

We were delighted to bring The Moon Hares to the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall at the beginning of November as part of the OAE’s season Songs of Travel. It was a truly magical evening! The OAE were joined on stage by a band and company of dancers from Acland Burghley School (ABS), 110 pupils from three Camden primary schools and an adult choir made up of singers from our UK residencies, Camden Music and ABS staff. It was a real celebration of the OAE’s partnerships across the country and our residency at ABS.

‘...At the end of the show, seeing the pride and sense of achievement on the faces of the young performers, I couldn’t suppress the tears!’


‘I thought the project as a whole was great: the children were enabled to succeed and feel included and proud of themselves. ALL children, including those with complex needs, were able to remember actions, some words and the tune, which was fantastic.’ –


‘ The internationally renowned Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment pushes its mission to enlighten to the max, currently basing itself at Acland Burghley school, Tufnell Park, London, working closely with the students. That collaboration has produced some remarkable results, not least The Moon Hares, a touring community opera that takes music from Purcell’s Dioclesian – with additional attractive material from composer James Redwood – to tell Hazel Gould’s enchanting modern fable about selfrealisation and freedom. Hundreds of schoolchildren around the country have already taken part. Last week, singers Kirsty Hopkins, Charmian Bedford, Timothy Dickinson and Robert Gildon were joined by terrific musicians and dancers from Acland Burghley and a gloriously enthusiastic, wonderfully rehearsed choir from three London primaries. It’s the turn of Wiltshire schools later this month. Lucky them. –


Our subsequent performance at the Wiltshire Music Centre of The Moon Hares later in November, with a completely different set of participants, was equally magical but very different reflecting the local community and our partners in Wiltshire.


Our programme for this academic year is well underway and to give you a sense of the range of our activity to come in 2023 we are planning:

At our home base at Acland Burghley School:

• A host of activity from our Musical Connections project to dance projects, Encounter Sessions, Young Producers programme, Playlist sessions to study days, a new string project and much more!

In our Residencies:

• North Walsham Residency to include a dance and music project alongside TOTS, schools and community concerts across the year

• York residency to include TOTS The King of the Sea and The Magic Flute for KS1 pupils

• Durham Residency to include The Magic Flute for KS1 pupils

• King’s Lynn Residency to include The Magic Flute for KS1 pupils

In our London Schools:

• Early years project The King of the Sea

• KS1 project The Magic of Mozart

• KS2 project The Life of the Sea

• KS3 project in Northgate school in Ipswich as part of Musical Connections

Special Needs:

• Work in Swiss Cottage Special school in Camden and Thomas Wolsey Special School in Ipswich as part of the Musical Connections project

• Something Special at the Royal Albert Hall with Swiss Cottage Special School and Great Ormond Street and University College Hospital Schools alongside a choir of 1,500 Camden children


For families:

• Pack your Bags OAE TOTS concerts at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

• OAE TOTS @ LPO FUNharmonics workshops

• York Rise Street Party – The Magic Flute

On our Nurturing Talent strand:

• OAE Experience scheme

• Suffolk Young Strings project

Our participants come from a wide range of backgrounds and we pride ourselves in working flexibly, adapting to the needs of local people and the places where they live. The extensive partnerships we have built up over many years ensure maximum and lasting impact.

We take Inspiration from the OAE’s repertoire, instruments and players. This makes for a vibrant, challenging and engaging programme where everyone is involved; players, animateurs, composers, participants, teachers, partners and stakeholders all have a valued voice.

We do hope you can join us for some of these events!


Our work at Acland Burghley School

In September 2020, we took up permanent residence at Acland Burghley School in Camden, North London. The residency –a first for a British orchestra – allows us to live, work and play amongst the students of the school.

Three offices have been adapted for our administration team. We use the Grade II-listed school assembly hall as a rehearsal space, with plans to refurbish it under the school’s ‘A Theatre for All’ project. The school isn’t just our landlord or physical home. Instead, it allows us to build on twenty years of work in the borough through OAE’s long-standing partnership with Camden Music. Having already worked in eighteen of the local primary schools that feed into ABS, the plans moving forward are to support music and arts across the school into the wider community. Our move underpins our core ‘enlightenment’ mission of reaching as wide an audience as possible.

What do backflips, smoke machines and baroque drums all have in common?

Answer: our first video collaboration with Acland Burghley students. We teamed up with year 10 students who performed a dance that they choreographed for their GCSE exam, accompanied by us performing Rameau’s ‘Danse des

Sauvages’ from Les Indes Galantes. After taking inspiration from baroque dances on YouTube and being drawn to the distinctive rhythmic pulse in the Rameau, the pupils sparked enthusiastic discussion with our players to allow the choreography and music to evolve hand in hand. They also had their say in the direction and recording of the music video, which you can watch on our YouTube channel.

We brought The Moon Hares, an opera for young families which we commissioned in 2019, into the school hall and performed it alongside pupils from ABS as well as Gospel Oak and Kentish Town primary schools. The electrifying performance included music both old and new, with sections from Purcell’s 17th century opera Dioclesian mixed with original, modern music by James Redwood.

There’s also been a bustle of activity away from the camera in our ongoing private classroom education. We’ve delivered numerous interactive workshops for all students in Years 7, 8 and 9, including an exploration of the orchestra’s instruments, illustrated sessions on blues and jazz compositional techniques as part of curriculum studies and a study a day for all GCSE music students on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.4.

Dreamchasing Young Producers

The value of our residency in Acland Burghley School can be realised in many ways beyond the immediate practice of orchestral musicianship.

One of the key objectives in our mission is to lift aspirations and broaden horizons for life beyond school. We want to help students leave school with richer CVs and stronger professional prospects.

One great way to do that is to mentor the next generation in all those things we have learned as an organisation. At the start of the 2021 / 2022 school year, we launched our Young Producers’ programme in which we offer mentoring, training and work-placement apprenticeship so that the young people in our new community acquire essential skills in management and production, from budgets, compliance and risk assessment to camera operation and stage design.

We are proud of our first cohort, who have already learned so much and become a key part of our working routine. They will one day graduate as accredited

producers and become the mentors, at our side, for future recruits.

More than just an extra-curricular enterprise, this is a programme that we expect to connect with sixth-form education in the new government T Level examination programme.

Young Producers

Armin Eorsi

Harvey O’Brien

Iremide Onibonoje

Jessica Sexton-Smith

Matas Juskevicius

Michael Hau

Nathan Kilby

Raphael Thornton

Riley Silver

Sidney Crossing

Sophia Vainshtok

Tom Cohen

Daniel Miliband

Jaeden Ferritto

Sacha Cross

Daniel Wilton-Ely


Welcome to the Southbank Centre

We’re the largest arts centre in the UK and one of the nation’s top visitor attractions, showcasing the world’s most exciting artists at our venues in the heart of London. We’re here to present great cultural experiences that bring people together, and open up the arts to everyone.

The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Hayward Gallery, National Poetry Library and Arts Council Collection. We’re one of London’s favourite meeting spots, with lots of free events and places to relax, eat and shop next to the Thames.

We hope you enjoy your visit. If you need any information or help, please ask a member of staff. You can also write to us at Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX, or email hello@southbankcentre.co.uk

Subscribers to our email updates are the first to hear about new events, offers and competitions. Just head to our website and sign up.


Introducing Club OAE...

... our new free-to-all digital community.

Like all the best clubs we want to make it a place where you’ll explore the music you’re a fan of, enjoy special offers, get involved in competitions and other activities, be part of our creative conversation and have plenty of fun.

Find out more and sign-up now at oae.co.uk/club

Be in our Club.


Become a Friend!

Without the generosity of our Friends, the OAE would not exist. When you become an OAE Friend, you join us in bringing great music to life. We then give you a front-row and behind-the-scenes view of our work, so that you can see the impact that your donation really makes.

This includes supporting our ambitious season of concert performances, digital

productions on OAE Player, improving access to music through our Education programme, and our community work at Acland Burghley School.

Whether you wish to watch the rehearsals or get to know the players, a Friends membership offers a heightened OAE concert-going experience and allows you to support the orchestra you love.

Friend - £50

• Personalised ticket booking through the OAE box office with bespoke ticket delivery options, easy exchange refunds, and no booking fees

• Priority booking for concerts at the Southbank Centre

• An invitation to the Annual Friends Trip*

• Invitations to at least three Open Rehearsals during the Southbank Centre season, free of charge

• Access to private Friends Area at OAE concerts at the Southbank Centre

• Updates from the Orchestra with regular newsletters and season brochure mailings


Supporting Friend - £100

All Friend benefits, plus:

• Invitations to at least 5 Open Rehearsals during the Southbank Centre season, free of charge

• Invitation to a Friends’ Season Preview with our players and CEO, to hear about our upcoming plans*

Silver Friend - £500

All Bronze Friend benefits, plus:

• A chance to win two tickets to an OAE Dress Rehearsal at Glyndebourne

Festival Opera

• Invitations to additional daytime and evening OAE rehearsals

Bronze Friend - £250

All Supporting Friend benefits, plus:

• Credit in OAE Southbank Centre Programmes, Digital Programmes, and on the OAE website

• An invitation to an annual interval champagne reception with OAE players

Gold Friend - £750

All Silver Friend benefits, plus:

• An invitation to the launch of the OAE’s Southbank Centre season*

• Opportunity to join OAE players on tour abroad, with a bespoke programme of activity for our supporters*

* Additional costs may apply

To become a Friend, scan the QR code, visit oae.co.uk/support-us or contact us at development@oae.co.uk or 020 8159 9317


SONGS OF TRAVEL at the Southbank Centre

19 March

Bach in Excelsis: The Mass in B Minor with Václav Luks (director)

5 April

Mozart on the Road: Part 1 with Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)

18 May

Mozart on The Road: Part 2 with Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)


Chamber music down a local pub.

13 Feburary, Islington

The Old Queen’s Head

14 March, Kings Cross

The Water Rats

25 April, Brixton

The Blues Kitchen


Mission: to explore our place in the cosmos guided by the intergalactic genius of JS Bach. Each monthly event features one of Bach’s cantatas, and other choral and instrumental works, alongside a talk by an eminent astronomer.

Guest speakers include Dr Helena Bates (the Natural History Museum, 19 February) and Dr Sheila Kanani (Royal Astronomical Society, 26 March).



The Mass  in B minor

Czech harpsichordist Václav Luks makes his debut with the OAE and at the Southbank Centre with a fresh chamber interpretation of Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor.

The Mass in B Minor rises from the musical landscape like a great cathedral. For Bach it was the culmination of a life’s journey. For those that come after it is a place of pilgrimage. Like so much else with Bach, the work had a very pragmatic beginning. It had started out as a project in 1733 to seemingly secure the Protestant composer a court title in Catholic Dresden; over the years he added further sections – each a self-contained triumph –although his ultimate intention for the work remains unclear.

The Mass is one of the high peaks of human creativity. A compendium of sublime arias that takes relish in virtuoso solos from singers and instrumentalists with some of Bach’s most wondrously crafted choruses, Bach elevates the whole into a work of true heavenly dimensions.


Sunday 19 March

Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

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oae_photos orchestraenlighten