News
Sensational 5-star reviews for Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria at Colston Hall
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©Shotaway

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'



 
More great reviews - L'incoronazione di Poppea at Colston Hall
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©Shotaway

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'



 
Latest reviews - Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Aix-en-Provence

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©Caroline Doutre

10 April 2017

Munchner Merkur written by Markus Thiel

​'Just like​ Karajan​, Gardiner ​stage directs, assisted by Elsa Rooke. And ​the staging; it is an arrangement, which can be seen for the first time in Aix, a performance that has aroused singers, so that​ - ​with all precision and meticulous preparation - they will turn their innermost outward. Even the climax does not need a prop. ​The bow of Ulisse, which none of his rivals can span, is personified by Penelope herself who is stretching out her arm.  [...] ​What one experiences is captivating​,​ precise in its concentration on the music and ​with​ extraordinary soloists.'

Destimed written by Michel Egea

'Mastered by subtle and nuanced touches, refinement in detail, care taken with colour, respect for architecture, for the density of the material, Sir John Eliot Gardiner magnifies the music in the way that one another would the mountains of the region of Aix.'


 
News update - MCO performing at Proms 2017

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This afternoon the full line up for this year's Proms music festival at the Royal Albert Hall was announced with Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras and Sir John Eliot Gardiner performing two very different programmes on 2nd and 8th August.

Prom 25 (Late night): Reformation 500th anniversary Bach & Schütz
Wed 2 Aug at 22.15

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Bach’s austere and beautiful Lutheran cantatas stand in contrast to the lively rhythms and rich textures of Schütz’s music.

Programme:

Heinrich Schütz
Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, SWV 41(8 mins)
Nicht uns, Herr, sondern deinem Namen, SWV 43(6 mins)
Danket dem Herren, denn er ist freundlich, SWV 45(7 mins)

Johann Sebastian Bach
Cantata No. 79, 'Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild', BWV 79(15 mins)
Cantata No. 80, 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott', BWV 80(25 mins)

For more info or to book tickets click here

Prom 31: Berlioz – The Damnation of Faust
Tue 8 Aug, 19.30

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Proms with The Damnation of Faust, continuing his multi-season Berlioz series. Part opera, part cantata, this ‘dramatic legend’ is an epic retelling of the Faust story that captures the extremes of man’s ambition and folly in music by turns exquisite and grotesque.

American tenor Michael Spyres returns to the Proms in the title-role, with Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg as the innocent victim, Marguerite.

For more info or to book tickets click here

 
In memory of Ruth Ziegler - 19th July 1942 - 20th February 2017
Ruth Zeigler

We were very sorry to hear of the passing of our friend and supporter Ruther Ziegler.

The Monteverdi Choir was a passion in Ruth’s life; she attended many of our concerts and regularly volunteered for us. She will be deeply missed and our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family at this difficult time. We would like to thank her loved ones who have so generously donated to us in her memory
 
Sir John Eliot Gardiner receives RCM honorary doctorate from HRH The Prince of Wales
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During HRH The Prince of Wales annual President's visit to the Royal College of Music on Tuesday 7th March, he paid tribute to outstanding musicians and industry leaders. This included an Honorary Doctorate for Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

On collecting the award
Sir John Eliot Gardiner recalled the impact of the Royal College of Music on his career, commenting:

In my teens I attended master classes by Nadia Boulanger at the Royal College of Music and was blown away by her inspirational exposés of works by Fauré, Schubert and others.  It planted the seeds of an idea that one day I might study with her full time. Pretty well every day of my professional life as a musician I’ve thanked my lucky stars that I did, so I have long been grateful to the RCM for this experience.


 
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