Michael White’s classical news: A Kind Man; Sutton House Music Society; Andras Schiff; Jubilee recital

Thursday, 2nd June — By Michael White

Misha Mullov-Abbado_credit Mike O'Brien

Composter and double bass player Misha Mullov-Abbado is in concert at Old Church, Stoke Newington on June 3. Photo (detail): Mike O’Brien

THE history of opera is written in blood, and most of it comes from the countless poets, novelists and playwrights who find having their words turned into music a wounding experience. But by all accounts it’s been a happier experience for Dame Susan Hill whose novel A Kind Man is about to hit the lyric stage in Hoxton, courtesy of composer Jonathan Finney and his own New Palace Opera company. Being opera-tised “can only add another layer of richness and meaning”, she says in upbeat terms, adding that she’s “proud of what Jonathan has done to transform a novel into something quite new”. A classic Hill-ish tale of supernatural interventions after the death of a child, the piece runs at Hoxton Hall. June 7-12. hoxtonhall.co.uk

• Hackney’s own Sutton House Music Society is back in business after an extended Covid break, with a concert at the Old Church, Stoke Newington, that rides above standard categories of music-making. The super-cool trio of Alice Zawadzki (violin/vocals), Shirley Smart (cello) and Misha Mullov-Abbado (composer/double-bass and all-round presence on the circuit these days) deliver programmes that melt classical, jazz and world-music into one. And they do it with style. Friday June 3. shms.org.uk

• A tidal wave of star pianists washes across London this week, starting Sunday  June 5, when Igor Levit appears at Wigmore Hall in the not so usual capacity of accompanist. He’s playing for the German tenor Simon Bode in two Lieder programmes of Mahler, Schubert, Schumann, Eisler – the second on Tuesday June 7. Whether you’re drawn by voice or keyboard, expect something exceptional. wigmore-hall.org.uk

Then there’s Angela Hewitt, always keen to remind her fans that she plays music other than Bach, and doing so on Monday, June 6, with a Mozart’s Piano Concerto K488 at Cadogan Hall. cadoganhall.com

But for something more monumental, András Schiff is in residence at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, June 6-9, playing all five Beethoven piano concertos with the Age of Enlightenment Orchestra. The cycle is bizarrely being advertised with some story about crocodiles and the wildness of nature that I don’t altogether connect with Beethoven. But no doubt there’s a reason I haven’t fathomed, and perhaps Schiff will explain from the platform? oae.co.uk

• It won’t have escaped your attention that it’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but there isn’t so much happening musically to commemorate the weekend as you’d think. Maybe the music business is republican. But one thing worth noting is a lunchtime organ recital of royal works by Walton, Elgar, Gibbons, given by Thomas Trotter at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Take your own trifle. June 3. www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org

• More about this next week, but take note that the Highgate Festival runs June 11-19 with events including the London Mozart Players (June 15) and soprano Verity Wingate (June 14) who is about to star as the Governess in Garsington Opera’s Turn of the Screw. She’ll be singing music associated with the soprano for whom Britten wrote that opera, Jennifer Vyvyan: a wonderful artist whose surviving family have strong Hampstead/Highgate connections. Details: highgatefestival.org

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