Thu, 27 Feb 2020
Tickets are on sale for the 42nd Newbury Spring Festival. From 9 to 23 May there are more than 40 concerts and performances taking place in Newbury and the surrounding area by world class musicians and performers.
Here are some of this year’s classical highlights:It isn’t surprising that the orchestral concerts are always popular, the sight and sound of a live orchestra is very powerful. This year the orchestral concerts kick off in St Nicolas Church with an all-Beethoven programme on Friday, May 9, played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo and Paul Lewis playing Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4. The London Mozart Players will perform an all-Mozart programme culminating with the Coronation Mass. Sophie Bevan and the Newbury Spring Festival Chorus will also perform the glorious Laudate Domine. Violinist Tasmin Little returns to the Festival to give one of her last concerto performances before retiring from the stage. She will play the glorious and luxurious Korngold Violin Concerto with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nikolai Alexeev.
There are plenty of gems within the programme but one that stands out is a recital by Ukranian baritone Andrei Kymach, who will be making one of his first UK recitals since winning the BBC Cardiff Singer for the World 2019. The competition is one of the most prestigious in the world and many who have won it previously have gone on to command the world stage. Kymach is in good company as two such previous singers were the Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky who won the competition in 1989 and the runner up that year was the famous Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel. On May 13, at the Corn Exchange he will perform a programme of Russian arias and songs.
Another evening not to miss will be Ma 17, when one of Britain’s leading contraltos, Hilary Summers, joins pianist Andrew West at Combe Manor for a clever, but hilarious romp through the highs and lows of opera. During the evening absurd plots, gender fluidity, modern music and voice categorisation will all come under scrutiny and the performance culminates in a one-woman twenty-five-minute reduction of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
As this is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven it would make sense to include some Beethoven concerts and the Festival doesn't disappoint. Aside from the opening orchestral concert, pianist John Lill will be playing some of Beethoven’s best known piano sonatas in the Corn Exchange on May 10 - in fact they are probably the four most popular: Pathetique, Waldstein, Moonlight and Appassionata. The other all-Beethoven concert to earmark is on May 21 at the Church of the Ascension, Burghclere when the chamber ensemble Wiener Kammersymphonie will play some of Beethoven’s most celebrated works arranged for quintet.
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