Shakespeare in Love

The English Concert return to Spitalfields Music Winter Festival for a programme celebrating music inspired by the Bard.

The English Concert
Harry Bicket director/harpsichord
Mary Bevan soprano
Tim Mead countertenor

Purcell Suite from the Fairy Queen interspersed with songs and dances by Purcell’s contemporaries
Handel Suite from Giulio Cesare including Presti omai, Cara speme, and Caro, bella

Both Purcell and Handel shared the Restoration theatre’s fascination with Classical history and Elizabethan poets. Such a fascination endures to the present day, and in honour of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616 The English Concert set sail on a Far East tour featuring music inspired by the Bard. In the guise of an Elizabethan masque, and interspersed with songs by near-contemporaries, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen is a version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Giulio Cesare in Egitto, a fashionable new Italian opera by Handel, also features in our tribute. Written for the superstars of the time, an astonishing range of emotional roles are contained within, from seduction, ambition, to madness, betrayal and revenge.

Part of Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

Supported by Maecenas and Rawlinson & Hunter

Soloists & Players
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About

Harry Bicket is internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, appointed Artistic Director of The English Concert in 2007

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Soloist

Hailed by the Telegraph as one of the first-rate young British singers ‘delivering consistently exciting singing’ for her stand out performances on opera and concert platforms, Mary Bevan is a winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award and UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent in music.

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Soloist

Counter-tenor Tim Mead is praised for his elegant and warm tone with faultless projection and stylish interpretations.

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Season Highlights
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Wigmore Hall, London

From Haydn’s first minor key symphony and the intensity of CPE Bach, to Mozart’s imaginative and playful Piano Concerto No. 13, this programme embodies the inventive spirit of the classical masters.

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Barbican, London

Following the successes of Radamisto, Theodora, Alcina, Hercules and Orlando, The English Concert continues their Handel opera-in-concert series with Rinaldo.

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Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

‘…refreshingly direct and impactful, with The English Concert, nestled either side of the stage, and its director Harry Bicket lending classy baroque accompaniment. Morris cleverly uses the 18th‐century auditorium’s intimacy and dry acoustic to draw us in; I felt an active part of the events unfolding in front, above and around me. Perhaps the cheers and whoops at the end suggested others...

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Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden

Quick on the heels of our Shakespeare celebration in East Asia last season, we return with a summer tour of South Korea with the one of the world’s greatest countertenors Andreas Scholl, featuring celebratory music from two of England’s finest exports, Purcell and Handel.

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