Five star review for Classical Women

Lucy Crowe joined us for two performances of Classical Women in November 2019.

★★★★★ Review in The Times from Bath MozartFest

Bath is no stranger to star singers. In the 18th century the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini drew in Europe’s prima donnas for his concert series. He would have snapped up Lucy Crowe, whose exceptional Handel and Mozart recital graced this year’s Bath Mozartfest. Her voice glittered as brilliantly as the Assembly Rooms’ crystal chandeliers, and she packed in more than enough drama to have amused those gossiping Georgians.

If Crowe’s soprano was once exquisitely pure and light, it has matured into something far more interesting. None of the beauty is lost. Nor her unshakeable technique: Crowe made the difficult athleticism of Ah! Se il crudel periglio from Mozart’s Lucio Silla look easy, ending with a mock wipe of the brow. Her coloratura is pinpoint clear; those high notes ping like stars in a night sky. Her ornamentation is imaginative and eloquent. Yet her sound is now so much richer, the colours more varied. Expression is everything.

In Handel the emotion was visceral. Crowe poured out anguish as the abandoned sorceress Alcina in Ah! mio cor; the word “sola” exhaled in desperation, “pianto” a tear-filled cry. Spiky strings scratched through to the heart. The creeping disquiet conjured in Ombre pallide, also from Alcina, left a shadow in the soul. There was some hope, at least, in a finely judged Dove sono from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.

La Nuova Musica was on exhilarating form, from agile double bass to virtuosic leader. The instrumental interludes — even the ubiquitous Allegro from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik — were wonderfully fresh. And the conductor David Bates, his gestures fluid and natural, was entirely at one with Crowe.

The superb programme explored 18th-century women who, Bates hoped, might “resonate with contemporary thinking”. At the end there were flowers for her, wine for him. With a wry look, Crowe whisked away his bottle and handed him her bouquet. Equality in action

 

Listen to BBC Radio 3 In Tune from Monday 11 November with Lucy Crowe, David Bates and musicians from LNM performing extracts from Handel’s Giulio Cesare

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b7h2

 

Watch Classic FM’s video of the rehearsal at St John’s Smith Square

Mozart from Lucy Crowe and La Nuova Musica

Tonight, soprano Lucy Crowe and La Nuova Musica with conductor David Bates perform virtuosic arias from Handel and Mozart. This is from Mozart's opera Mitridate and isn't it extraordinary? If you're in London do get along to St John’s Smith Square if you can 👉 https://clssicfm.co/32IYjv8

Posted by Classic FM on Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Orfeo ed Euridice CD Release

Iestyn Davies, Sophie Bevan, Rebecca Bottone, David Bates, La Nuova Musica

GLUCK – ORFEO ED EURIDICE

RELEASE OCTOBER 2019

PRE ORDER HERE

NOBLE SIMPLICITY AND CALM GRANDEUR

La Nuova Musica presents a new live recording of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, with countertenor star
Iestyn Davies singing the title role. Once created to reinstate the “noble simplicity and calm
grandeur” of ancient Greek culture, the opera continues to delight audiences with its direct and
unpretentious appeal, epitomized by the world-famous aria Che farò senza Euridice. This live
recording presents the original 1762 Vienna premiere version of the opera, with Gluck’s exquisite
evocation of the Elysian Fields from his 1774 Paris version as a small addition.

La Nuova Musica and its artistic director David Bates are among the most exciting young Baroque
ensembles of our times. For their first PENTATONE recording, they work together with three
exceptional vocalists: countertenor Iestyn Davies and sopranos Sophie Bevan and Rebecca Bottone. [Read more…]

Handel – Quel fior che all’alba ride

David Bates accompanies Ali Ponsford-Hill and Amy Caroline Wood singing Handel’s “Quel fior che all’alba ride” – HWV 192. Handel went on to use the same tune in “His Yoke Is Easy”.

Come and hear our performance of Handel Messiah on Saturday 18th May 2019 at St John’s Smith Square for the London Festival of Baroque Music

Click Here for Tickets

4 Star Review in the Telegraph for Alcina

Joanna Lumley narrates Alcina at St John’s Smith Square, pictured her with soprano Rebbecca Bottone
(Photo: Nick Rutter)

 

Thanks to Ivan Hewett who gave our sold-out performance of Handel Alcina a 4**** review in the Telegraph:

“Regular readers of my reviews may have noticed a degree of impatience in the matter of baroque opera. I apologise, but all its convoluted plots inhabited by psychologically implausible characters, all its adherence to a rigid code of hierarchy and formality, all its sheer prolixity, are deadening weights on the beauties of the music and can make a performance seem a long tedious grind rather than a delicious sensual pleasure.

So I was well disposed towards conductor David Bates’s decision to present a semi-staging of Handel’s Alcina that eliminated one pointless subsidiary character and replaced the harpsichord-accompanied recitative that drives the narrative forward with a spoken narration, written by June Chichester and declaimed with elegance, wit and panache by no less a personage than Joanna Lumley.

The success of this experiment was instant. Only the most pedantic of purists could object…..”

 

Read the full review

 

Joanna Lumley to narrate Alcina at SJSS

Star of stage and screen Joanna Lumley will lead LNM’s unique performance of Handel’s Alcina.

For the first time ever, Handel’s masterpiece will be presented with a specially commissioned English script by June Chichester. The magnificent Italian arias will be sung by a wonderful team of soloists lead by Lucy Crowe in the Title Role.  We are delighted to be working with Joanna Lumley and the prolific stage director, John Caird.

The concert is nearly sold out – there are just a few tickets left, so do follow this link to St John’s Smith Square website to snap up the final few seats.

Live From Wigmore Hall

Watch our concert of Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli and Nico Muhly recorded live at Wigmore Hall, London

David Bates and his Baroque ensemble bring together operatic extracts by Vivaldi and items from Handel’s very first oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno (The Triumph of Beauty and Disillusion) alongside a concerto by the highly influential Corelli, and a London première of a new work by Nico Muhly.

Interval feature: David Bates in conversation with Lucy Crowe.

Haydn Creation reviews

Robert Thicknesse for The Critics Circle

“A revelatory performance […] Lately, David Bates and his group La Nuova Musica have emerged from the melee of early music groups to real pre-eminence, thanks to the certainty of Bates’s own taste and the conviction with which he achieves the sounds and effects and musical results he wants. Listening to the intentionally grainy edges, the groovily artisanal, wheezy winds and extremely distinctive string tone – all absolutely natural-fibre, but with the tensile strength of stretched silk – I got a distinct and very rare feeling that yes, this might actually be something like what Haydn had in his head. […] Everything was done with a terrific sense of enjoyment: I’ve rarely seen such a smiley bunch of performers. And the lodestone, in a performance with a far bigger, fuller and less namby-pamby sound than I’ve heard from a period band in a while, was an excitement in the process – of creation, and of its musical representation – something new around every corner, a pervasive feeling of wonder and rapture and surprise.”
Read the full review……

La Seine Musicale Film

Following our debut at La Seine Musicale, we’re “très, très excité” to be featured in a film about the 2018-2019 season which includes a short excerpt from our performance and also an interview with David Bates en français!

 

Insula Orchestra ouvre sa saison 2018-2019 sur une note baroque from Département des Hauts-de-Seine on Vimeo.

July reviews

Venetian Vivaldi and Roman Handel

Lichfield Festival

10/07/18


John Watson for Express and Star

“But my personal highlight of the festival was a stunning concert by the chamber orchestra La Nuova Musica with soprano soloist Lucy Crowe at the cathedral – her voice was simply glorious in a programme including Handel, Vivaldi and Corelli.”
read the full review…..

May reviews

Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice

St John’s Smith Square

13/05/18

Richard Fairman for Financial Times 4****

“Countertenor Iestyn Davies took the title role here, singing with the plangency that is his trademark and also impressive authority. Sophie Bevan was his warm-toned Euridice and Rebecca Bottone an unaffected, not over-cute Amor. Bates takes a very expressive view of Gluck’s music, which meant much sustained, thoughtful phrasing and some pulling-about of the tempo.”
read the full review……

Anna Picard for The Times 4****

“Gluck’s opera is remarkable for its concision. In this reading character and situation were presented in high definition. […] From the Rameauesque pomp of Ah! se intorno a quest’ urna funesta and the agonised repetitions of Euridice’s name by Orfeo (Iestyn Davies) to the bone-china delicacy of Gli sguardi trattieni by Amore (Rebecca Bottone) and the slow seduction of the Furies (with thunder and wind machines), this was a performance in which dissonance and consonance shimmered like petrol on water.”
read the full review……

Claire Seymour for Opera Today

“And, this was indeed a ‘chiaroscuro’ Orfeo in which Bates, La Nuova Musica and the soloists, especially Davies, shone shafts of light which pierced the darkness, leading to the arresting and exultant illumination of the opera’s conclusion.”
read the full review……

Sam Smith for musicOMH.com 5*****

“La Nuova Musica’s concert performance of the original 1762 Vienna version, conducted by David Bates, did not include any action or dancing, but this proved no obstacle to it being extremely moving. This is because it revealed how the music itself contains all of the drama and emotion when it is rendered effectively. Here, the strong rhythmic awareness that the ensemble demonstrated helped to keep the emotional colour wheel turning, and this was no better illustrated than in Act II when Orfeo confronts the Furies in his attempt to enter the Underworld. The playing revealed just how much of the ballet lies in the movement generated by the music, as opposed to any physical action. On hearing the chorus members confront Orfeo with the strength of their sound, it felt as if they could have only ever become less formidable had they begun to adopt even just a few arm gestures. Atmosphere was also generated by actually using a wind machine and metal sheet (played from the gallery) to create menacing and thunderous effects.”
read the full review……

Ruth Hansford for Planethugill.com 4****

“Orfeo is a story about the power of music, and David Bates brought some wonderful things from the band. There was huge variety in the ‘echoes’, the spectacular storm (with thunder and wind coming from the SJSS gallery) at the beginning of Act 2, terrific brass playing throughout, the glorious ‘Elysian Fields’ music with Georgia Browne on solo flute, the arresting harp music from Karen Vaughan, and all the rest.”
read the full review……

[Read more…]