Michael White’s music news: Proms at St Jude’s; Camden Choir; Cosi fan tutte; Flight; Wigmore Hall

Thursday, 23rd June — By Michael White

Martin James Bartlett_2

Former BBC Young Musician pianist Martin James Bartlett performs at Proms at St Jude’s on June 29

• It hasn’t been around as long as the Queen, but three decades is a good enough number for the Proms at St Jude’s to be celebrating this year, with its 30th season opening Saturday, June 25. Everything is based, as always, in the buildings around Central Square in Hampstead Garden Suburb. And though the musical side of this much-loved arts festival isn’t quite as compelling as in the past, the sense of community spirit is strong as ever – it’s one of the most hospitable events I know – and there are plenty of concerts worth going to.

I mentioned last week the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on June 25, and Darius Brubeck Jazz Quartet on June 26; but other highlights include the haunting combination of soprano Grace Davidson with saxophonist Christian Forshaw revisiting baroque masterpieces on Tuesday, June 28, and rising pianist of the moment Martin James Bartlett playing Rachmaninov on Wednesday, June 29. Bartlett first got known for winning the BBC Young Musician competition in 2014, aged just 17, and went on to pick up accolades galore around the world – a habit that continued only the other month when he won a new, big-money prize in Switzerland. A recent CD release on Warner Classics, also featuring Rachmaninov, was ecstatically received by the UK press. So he comes with fulsome recommendations, including mine.


The Gould Trio

Other St Jude’s events include the very classy Gould Trio playing Fauré on June 30; young soloists from Nevill Holt Opera singing Rossini, Verdi and Puccini in recital on July 1; and a choral/orchestral finale on July 3 with music from the Queen’s coronation in 1953 – compered by the BBC’s royal correspondent Jennie Bond who I don’t think was there at the time, though she can no doubt give a good impression.
Everything at St Jude’s supports the North London Hospice and Toynbee Hall. Full details: promsatstjudes.org.uk

• Talking of anniversaries, Camden Choir has been celebrating its 50th and rounds off the big season with a concert of music by composers who have at some point in their life lived locally: Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Rutter, Tavener. June 25, St Mary’s, Primrose Hill. Details: camdenchoir.london

• Mozart’s supposedly fun opera of frankly cruel emotional deception, Cosi fan tutte, is back at Covent Garden in a staging by director Jan Philipp Gloger that got mixed reviews last round for its random mix of ideas. Worth another try though. Runs to July 9. roh.org.uk

Less questionable fun is Jonathan Dove’s sparklingly clever (though all too topical) opera about getting stuck in an airport, Flight, which plays in a new student production at the Royal College of Music by the equally smart Jeremy Sams. Runs June 26-July 4. rcm.ac.uk

• Finally, brace yourself for a high-flying week at Wigmore Hall, with a concert performance of Handel’s Acis and Galatea from John Butt’s dazzling Dunedin Consort, June 24; the dream-date duo of tenor Mark Padmore with pianist Paul Lewis in Schubert’s great song cycle Winterreise, June 25; and perhaps the finest Lieder singer of today, Christian Gerhaher, in songs by Hugo Wolf, June 30. All pretty well unmissable. wigmore-hall.org.uk

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