Home schooling at the court of Edward II

Against all odds tenor Samuel Boden reached Barcelona for the long-awaited Spanish première of George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence. Reprising the roles of Boy and Young King he makes his début at the Gran Teatro Liceu with performances on Feb 26, Mar 1, 4, 7, 9 & 11. Josep Pons conducts Katie Mitchell’s staging adapted for the pandemic by Dan Ayling.

Dietrich Henschel’s winter journey… to Oxford.

Running the gauntlet of quarantine and post-Brexit UK Border Control German Baritone Dietrich Henschel will be performing Winterreisse at the Oxford Lieder Festival on February 27 accompanied by festival director Sholto Kynoch. The event will be Broadcast from the Holywell Music Room, Oxford. Full details here. “Baritone Dietrich Henschel is a towering figure, physically, intellectually, musically and theatrically. His prowess as an interpreter, by which I mean precisely his ability to get below the surface of a song and right into its soul, is extraordinary.” Herald Scotland

Bethany Horak-Hallett’s Cupid eloquent, charming and delicious

Mezzo soprano Bethany Horak-Hallett has received glowing reviews for her recording of Cupid in John Eccles’ Semele with the Academy of Ancient Music directed by Julian Perkins: … Bethany Horak-Hallett makes such an eloquent Cupid that I only wish this god of love had flown into view more often. The Times; With Bethany Horak-Hallett a deliciously light Cupid … this is a cast without flaw. Opera Now; … Bethany Horak-Hallet is charming in Cupid’s short scene. Planet Hughill

Andrew Irwin wins BBC NI / ACNI award

Tenor Andrew Irwin has been selected to receive a BBC Northern Ireland & Arts Council of Northern Ireland Young Musicians Platform Award. As well as funds towards career development projects the award includes BBC broadcast opportunities and an appearance with The Ulster Orchestra. Hear more on BBC In Tune.

Bechara Moufarrej and Bayerische Staatsoper fundraise for Beruit

Fundraising for the victims devastated by the explosion in his native Beirut last year tenor Bechara Moufarrej joins the Bayerische Staatsoper Orchestra under Toufic Maatouk to perform Salam Li Beirut – To Beirut with Peace by Fadi Kassis. The contribution from Antonine University Choir was filmed in the ruins of Beirut’s Grand Theatre and the venture was made possible with support from Schulterschluss Initiative  and the Bayerische Staatsoper.

Ron Gonsalves – RIP

News has reached me of the sad death of Ron Gonsalves at home in France on November 12.

When I started out over 30 years ago Ron was a genial and generous colleague, always very welcoming at performances and BACA (British Association of Concert Agents, the precursor to IAMA) meetings. I then joined Ron Gonsalves Management when he had to step back to recover from heart surgery and subsequently acquired his list of artists on his full retirement 1997.

Apart from his artists’ management activities Ron was pivotal in promoting The Songmaker’s Almanac series alongside Graham Johnson which did much to re-establish the Wigmore Hall as a pre-eminent recital venue. He invited Jonathan Miller to stage the St Matthew Passion which was ground-breaking at the time and had great success touring to Europe, the US as well as being recorded and filmed for BBC TV in 1994.

The youngest of fourteen children, a big presence and a man of not inconsiderable passions, Ron was a great character.

Robert Howarth’s Baroque Christmas online

Early music specialist Robert Howarth directs the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the final concert of their Autumn season. Celebrating with a programme of baroque seasonal works by Handel, JS Bach, Vivaldi and Corelli the concert also features soprano Anna Devin and violinist Alina Ibragimova. The event will be streamed on December 16 at 19:30 GMT and available for 30 days via https://bsolive.com/events/christmas-digital/.

Kraemer All Stars Messiah live in London

Nicholas Kraemer - conductor

Nicholas Kraemer conducts the English Chamber Orchestra and Voces 8 with Carolyn Sampson, Iestyn Davies, Andrew Staples and Matthew Brook at Cadogan Hall, London. With a reduced running time of 80 minutes the two performances on December 6 with a socially-distanced audience are sold out but a deferred ‘live’ stream of the event will be available for a month from December 11 on the Live from London platform.