Don Quixote

Tilting at windmills and rescuing phoney princesses, such are the exploits of the laughable knight-errant Don Quixote, his loyal side-kick Sancho Panza and his faithful steed Rosinante.

The English Concert
Harry Bicket director/harpsichord
Anna Devin soprano
Matthew Brook bass
Danann McAcleer narrator

Purcell Don Quixote Suite, including excerpts from The Married Beau and The Comical History of Don Quixote
Telemann Don Quixote Suite

Tilting at windmills and rescuing phoney princesses, such are the exploits of the laughable knight-errant Don Quixote, his loyal side-kick Sancho Panza and his faithful steed Rosinante. The masterpiece that is Miguel Cervantes’ 1605 novel has inspired many musical interpretations in the last 400 years, including an early opera by Mendelssohn and a tone poem by Richard Strauss. On the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, The English Concert recount the adventures of Don Quixote through the music of Purcell and Telemann, interspersed with songs and texts from other contemporary productions.

This concert will be approximately 2 hours in duration, including an interval.
Tickets £15-£36


What the critics had to say:

The little gem of the evening, however, came in the second half. Georg Philipp Telemann wrote his orchestra suite, Le Burlesque de Quichotte towards the end of his life – perhaps, as musical fashions changed around him, the octogenarian composer saw something of the Man from La Mancha in himself.

Scored only for strings (led by the fiery playing of Nadja Zwiener), the piece gives us – hurrah – tilting at windmills, Sancho Panza on his donkey, and sighing, deluded dreams of the beautiful Dulcinée. Despite the unchanging key, the pleasure of the work is its textural variety: it’s wonderfully imaginative writing.

To set the scene, the actor Danann McAleer contributed some sensitive, un-hammy readings from the novel, and you’d have to be Panza’s dumb beast of burden not to have lapped it up. – The Times, 2016

“No doubt about it, though, Bicket’s team is not just bright but brilliant, rocking The Married Beau’s hornpipes and Jigg with phenomenal bass lines and palpable enjoyment from the players. The final “Hornpipe on a Ground” could have revolved at least four times more in that spirit of sheer delight.” – The Arts Desk, 2016

Soloists & Players
feature-grid-image
Our Musicians

Renowned as an opera and concert conductor, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and became Artistic Director of The English Concert in 2007. He was recently appointed Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera and took up the post in October 2013.Plans for the 14/15 season include guest conducting with Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestra of St Luke's, Hong Kong...

More Info
feature-grid-image
Soloist

Widely acknowledged as one of today’s brightest young sopranos for her vocal versatility and strong stage presence, Anna Devin has established an international career since graduating from the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist programme in 2012.

More Info
feature-grid-image
Soloist

"Matthew Brook, who turns anything he sings to gold" Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian

More Info
feature-grid-image
Soloist

Recently graduating from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Danann McAleer had already forged a strong career in theatre and film before deciding to formally train. Some highlights in film and television include his role as Theo in Watch Over Me, an action-thriller which won several awards for its fight sequences; his portrayal (in German) of a young Adolf Hitler in Channel 5’s Seven Days That...

More Info
Season Highlights
feature-grid-image
Barbican, London

Uniting some of Handel’s greatest music with all-star casts, directed by Artistic Director Harry Bicket and with our virtuosic orchestra in full flight, it is an unmissable event. With Ariodante and Rinaldo in most recent seasons, now comes the turn of Semele; a tale of adultery and revenge amongst Gods.The English ConcertHarry Bicket director/harpsichordBrenda Rae SemeleElizabeth...

View Performance
feature-grid-image
Wigmore Hall, London

All three are based on the favourite chorale of the time, Veni redemptor gentium (as translated by Luther). Despite the chorale’s medieval origins, BWV 61 shows the influence of the avant-garde French Ouverture. In BWV 62 he turns to Vivaldian concerti for inspiration, while in BWV 36 the ancient tune is knitted into the very genetic heart of the music. In each case the results are joyous in their...

View Performance
feature-grid-image
St John's Smith Square, London

His skilful crafting of the Messa per il Santíssimo Natale, with double choirs and such variety of colour and texture, is enough to leave us searching the archives for even more treasures.The English ConcertChoir of The English ConcertLaurence Cummings director/organCecilia Osmond sopranoRebecca Outram sopranoHelen Charlston altoNick Pritchard tenorMarcus Farnsworth baritoneScarlatti Messa per il...

View Performance
feature-grid-image
Wigmore Hall, London

Muffat moves his own chess pieces in his quest to unite the styles of France, Italy and Germany, while Bach offers one of his timeless masterpieces. Christian Curnyn returns to direct the orchestra with much-loved repertoire.The English ConcertChristian Curnyn director/harpsichordNadja Zwiener violinTuomo Suni violinHandel Concerto Grosso in D Op.6, No.5 HWV 323Purcell Suite from Dioclesian Z627Bach...

View Performance