Concert Reviews
Leipzig Bachfest 2017 Review

Below is a review from Leipziger Volkszeitung of our recent performance at Leipzig Bachfest, 10th June, of Mendelssohn and Brahms, as well as Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Gewandhaus Orchestra in a performance of Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony among other works. 
Leipziger Volkszeitung Review

Colston Hall, Bristol - L'Orfeo

© Paul Box

28 May 2017

The Guardian ★★★★★ by Andrew Clements
'Under John Eliot Gardiner and his exceptional group of musicians, every element in Monteverdi’s 1607 music drama was perfectly scaled and projected'

'This year, there’s no shortage of performances marking the 450th anniversary of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi. But if any of the events still to come match the concert stagings of the three surviving operas that John Eliot Gardiner is touring all summer with the Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and his troupe of solo singers, we will be very lucky indeed.'

'Played straight through, without an interval, it was all magically coherent, every phrase totally memorable.'

The Times ★★★★★ by Rebecca Franks
'This production of the first great opera ever written is otherworldly and unforgettable, letting Monteverdi’s genius shine through'

'Monteverdi’s genius shone through at every turn in this vibrant, heartfelt performance...'

'Every soloist caught the ear, particularly Lucile Richardot’s plangent La Messaggera and Gianluca Buratto’s sepulchral Caronte/Plutone.' by Stephen Walsh
'A better presentation of this beautiful, serene masterpiece would be hard to imagine'

'The music’s madrigalian character means a lot of work for the chorus, and here the Monteverdi Choir were in their element, singing, dancing and acting with verve, precision but evident enjoyment.'

'Anna Dennis was excellent, for the third time of asking, as Speranza, the Hope that is abandoned entering Hades; Lucile Richardot handled superbly her long, slow entrance as the bearer of ill tidings. But in the end it was Adam and Buratto who mattered, the first great operatic confrontation; and Gardiner, the ultimate master of ceremonies.'

Colston Hall, Bristol - Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
MONTEVERDI COLSTON HALL 12-4-2017 007--Chris-Cooper--Shotaway.jpg web


12 April 2017

The Arts Desk
 ★★★★★ by Stephen Walsh
'Gardiner's Monteverdi Odyssey begins, aptly and superbly, with his Odysseus masterpiece'

'Gardiner’s Ritorno showed that, on the contrary, his style of recitative, constantly in motion between a sort of dry chatter and informal lyrical song, with every shade in between, is probably the most sophisticated form of word-setting known to man'.

'The playing by the English Baroque Soloists seemed to me nearly flawless, and I liked very much Rooke’s discreet but poised use of the quite limited Colston Hall platform'

The Guardian ★★★★★ by Andrew Clements
'John Eliot Gardiner’s ad-hoc company of impressive singers and musicians shine in a beautifully realised semi-staging that sounded totally assured'

'Every moment of it is totally compelling. Gardiner brings an easy, long-practiced flexibility to the recitative and its fluid switches into arioso and aria, and working with the same group of singers on all three operas seems to be paying enormous dividends'

'There was total assurance about everything musical and dramatic in the performance, and immaculate diction too, from both the native Italian speakers in the cast and the non-Italians'

'Every element in this show, you sense, has been carefully thought out and beautifully realised'

The Times ★★★★★ by Rebecca Franks
'John Eliot Gardiner made a triumphant start to a year-long celebration of Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary'

'It already looks as if it will be the unmissable event of this Monteverdi year'

'In gorgeous aubergine silk, with a voice to match, Lucile Richardot made a wonderfully imploring and dignified Penelope. Furio Zanasi was her vivid Ulisse; he makes everything he sings sound as natural as speech.

Elsewhere, Anna Dennis was a stand-out Melanto, radiant, flirtatious and totally in control, and Krystian Adam gave a well-judged portrait of Telemaco. The choir added a touch of heavenly polish'

Colston Hall, Bristol - L'incoronazione di Poppea


8 May 2017

The Guardian ★★★★★ by Rian Evans
'Impressive playing by the English Baroque Soloists and standout performers including Kangmin Justin Kim make a memorable semi-staging'

'Gardiner’s musical characterisation and Elsa Rooke’s semi-staging brought great clarity to the hierarchy of lovers and their relationships, highlighting the servants’ delicious undercurrent of satire. The genius of Monteverdi could not be better honoured.'

'For his celebration of the 450th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s birth, Gardiner has assembled a touring ensemble of remarkable quality, with a standout performance here from Korean-American Kangmin Justin Kim, as Nerone. His countertenor often defies belief with an elegant tone, instrumental agility and nuanced expressive colouring. It’s a sound to die for'

'The ecstatic intertwining of Hana Blažíková’s soprano – all refinement and wholly idiomatic musical style – in Nerone and Poppea’s duets produced the most sublime moments, the intimacy of the English Baroque Soloists’ accompaniment judged to perfection'

The Times ★★★★★ by Richard Morrison
'The flow is seamless, yet the fluctuating emotions of these cynical or anguished souls are captured in microscopic detail'

'Do as Nero would do and ruthlessly bribe, cheat or bully your way to a ticket for the latter'

'What a stunning cast they are: Kangmin Justin Kim, more turbo-charged male soprano than countertenor, is a mesmerically volatile Nero, Marianna Pizzolato ferocious as the wronged wife, Ottavia' 

'Gialuca Buratto gloriously resonant in subterranean depths as the stoic Seneca – and so on down the line with the men of the Monteverdi Choir popping up to fire thrilling broadsides of exultation or woe'

'A crowning glory, you might say, to Gardiner’s half-century association with Monteverdi'

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