Thanks to Suffolk’s ranking in Tier One of the current regulations, I have just managed to spend a delightful two days at Snape taking in four of English Touring Opera‘s Lyric Solitude season. Staged song recitals with a singer, a dancer and a pianist – and a socially distanced audience. After a weekend in Snape they are planning (COVID permitting) to tour the show during November and early December taking in the Hackney Empire in London, Altrincham, Lancaster, Poole and Tunbridge Wells. Check in to their website for exact dates and booking information.
As they were playing in the Maltings, the programmes included a number of Britten pieces: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, the Holy Sonnets of John Donne, a Charm of Lullabies and the Poet’s Echo. .
Also on offer were Shostakovich’s Romances on British Poetry and Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva; two wonderful. Tippett peices, Boyhood’s End and the Heart’s Assurance – plus Poulenc and Argento. Poulenc’s heart rending La Voix Humaine (the last telephone call of the jilted mistress with her lover) and the delightful A Waterbird Talk by Dominic Argento, premiered in 1977 and based on On the Harmfulness of Tobacco by Anton Chekov and The Birds of America by J. J. Audobon.
An excellent line up of singers included Jenny Stafford, Julien Van Mellaerts, Edward Hawkins, Paula Sides, Richard Dowling and Katie Stevenson, accompanied variously by Sergey Rybin, Ella O’Neill and Ian Tyndale. Rae Piper, Paul Chantry, Bernadette Iglich and Rahel Vonmoos choreographer the solitary dancers.
A delightful programme just added to the pleasure of actually sitting in a real live concert hall listening to real live music – even if you would have needed a foghorn to chat to your nearest neighbour.
Meanwhile, if you feel like making the trip to Suffolk, the Maltings now have a full programme of weekend concerts running from Fridays at 3pm to Sundays at 7pm. Check in to their website here. They also have a fine tepee erected on the lawns where you can have a delicious wood-oven-baked pizza while listenng to some gentle jazz. Or, if you prefer the music of winds, you just need to walk out onto the lawns and listen to the reeds.