The Critics Loved La Calisto At Wigmore Hall

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Here are a selection of highlights from the reviews:

“The singing was suave, wordy and quick-witted from the goddesses to the sidekicks Mercurio (James Newby) and Silvano (Edward Grint), and Mead’s noble shepherd, while the pathos and comedy in Calisto’s erotic downfall were exquisitely balanced by Crowe. After this and their delectable Acis and Galatea, how long before La Nuova Musica get the theatre run they deserve?”

Anna Picard – The Times ****

“David Bates and La Nuova Musica gave themselves an extra challenge when performing the work at the Wigmore Hall on Monday 28 November 2016, as it was being given in a concert performance, though in fact the group’s lively and imaginative approach to ‘staging’ and keen attention to musicality meant the performance really took wing…..At the centre of everything was Lucy Crowe’s wonderful Calisto, growing from wonder to love to disillusion. Crowe’s highly plangent voice brought great beauty to the arias which Cavalli gives his heroine, yet her demeanour and performance gave the music great intensity too. This was a highly concentrated performance, the still centre of a web of chaos [Read more…]

5 star Times review for Acis & Galatea

Thank you to Anna Picard who gave our performance of Acis and Galatea a five star review in the Times on November 5, 2015!
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“Pathos, bathos and balmy breezes ebb and flow in Handel’s “little opera” of 1718, Acis and Galatea. Composed for performance on a terrace at the Duke of Chandos’s estate, it mirrors the delicious artifice of the 18th-century garden. The duke had engaged a Huguenot hydraulic engineer to design his gardens. How perfect, then, to commission an entertainment in which a semi-divine nymph transforms her murdered lover into a fountain.
In keeping with the duke’s spendthrift aesthetics, David Bates and La Nuova Musica engaged the parfumier Sarah McCartney to decorate their performance with scents grassy, musky and, for the lustful giant Polyphemus, as acrid as the aftershave of a loan shark on the pull. The olfactory novelty wasn’t necessary in a reading that sparkled from the giddy overture to the consoling final chorus.
Directing from the harpsichord, Bates identified every detail that lovers of this work may have noticed on previous listening, bringing them to the fore, weaving them back into the texture, then pulling out another golden thread.
Led by Bojan Cicic, the orchestra produced a dizzying variety of dynamics and articulation: crisp, tender, witty, flirtatious and audacious. There were bold innovations (three cellos harmonising a recitative), honeyed obbligato solos from the oboist Leo Duarte and the recorder player Sarah Humphrys and tempos that skittered and swung seductively.
Most impressive was the pin-drop silence at the death of Ed Lyon’s virile, ardent, immaculately sung Acis. This was a beautifully cast consort performance, as elegantly shaped in the five-part chorus Wretched lovers as it was in the arias.
Stepping in for Katherine Manley, Augusta Hebbert sang Galatea’s arias with an unruffled, creamy tone and opulent decorations. The tenors Rupert Charlesworth and Nicholas Scott charmed as pragmatic Damon and foppish Coridon, while Christopher Purves was magnetic as the brutish, love-sick, furious Polyphemus.”

Click HERE to read other reviews of this performance.