|The roof at the Britten Studio, Snape|
The 2017 Aldeburgh Music Festival marks 70 years of the festival, and 50 years at the Maltings. How time flies. Roger Wright has been Executive Director since September 2015, and management has gone from strength to strength. This year, there's no Artistic Director as such, though there's a team for Artistic Planning. Snape is now a thriving centre with grand plans.
This year's keynote opera is Britten's A Midsummers Night's Dream, keynote of the first season at Snape, which premiered at Aldeburgh's Jubilee Hall in 1960. The staging will be directed and designed by Netia Jones, so look forward to an imaginative presentation. Her staging of Oliver Knussen's Sendak operas, Where the Wild Things Are and Higgelty Piggelty Pop! were brilliant - read more about them HERE. A Midsummer Night's Dream is magical, ideally suited to transformation by lighting effects and video illusion. This could well be the best Aldeburgh opera staging in years. Soloists include Iestyn Davies, Sophie Bevan, and Matthew Rose. Ryan Wigglesworth conducts. Tickets will disappear fast - Friends booking starts today, public booking on 7th February. Don't wait. On 22 June, there's a screening of the Hollywood film version with music by Erich Korngold, on which please read more HERE.
La Voix Humaine (15th to 17th June), Poulenc's setting of Cocteau's monodrama, a tour de force for solo soprano, here performed by Claire Booth. Intriguingly, this will take place "in a private house near Snape", a suitably atmospheric setting, in a semi-staging by David Pountney. Another must! Again, please read more HERE. Britten's "Vaudeville" The Golden Vanity, a morality tale about an outsider at sea, gets a rare outing on 17/6, heard with Britten's The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard and other new shorts, performed by Camblata, young adult male voices of the National Youth Choir.
Countertenors and Benjamin Britten, who brought the voice type back into prominence. Andrew Watts features at this year's Festival, with Olga Neuwirth's Maudite soit la guerre, A Film Music War Requiem (UK premiere) with other Neuwirth pieces with the London Sinfonietta on 10/6 followed by Hommage à Klaus Nommi, a "song cycle like no other – an anarchic, neon-lit encounter between Purcell, Weimar cabaret, bubblegum pop and The Wizard of Oz" and "A Countertenor Song Book" on 12/6 featuring works by Bach, Handel, Olga Neuwirth, Colin Matthews, Tippett, Torsten Rauch and Raymond Yiu. More Neuwirth throughout this year's Festival, enjoy.
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra visits Aldeburgh again, this time with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla in two conerts on 17th and 18th June - Beethoven 3, Stravinsky Petroushka, Tchaikovsky, Britten and Jorg Widmann. The man himself is playing clarinet (Mozart) with the Belcea Quartet on 10/6. Oliver Knussen's O Hotortogisu receives its world premiere on 23/6 with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, hopefully with Knussen himself at the baton, together with another new work by Harrison Birtwistle, Chorales from a Toy Shop, and pieces by Stravinsky and Jo Kondo.
Plenty of choral music this year, with Vox Luminis, EXAUDI and others, including a programme with music by Nishrat Khan. The highlight could well be Vox Luminis Purcell King Arthur on 22/6. As always, lots of baroque and early music, Lieder and piano music - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piotr Andrewski, Huw Watkins and others. The closing concert will be Britten Billy Budd, from Opera North, with Roderick Williams, Alan Oke and Brindley Sherratt.
Quicklink to the programme booklet HERE.