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Advent Cantatas

J.S. Bach - Autumn 2014

Soloists from English Touring Opera and the Old Street Band combine with local choirs in a concert of Bach’s extraordinary cantatas for Advent.

Conductor 
Jonathan Peter Kenny
Orchestra 
Old Street Band
Soprano 
Gillian Webster
Countertenor 
Andrew Radley
Tenor 
Ronan Busfield
Baritone 
Grant Doyle
Baritone (from 8 Nov) 
Johnny Herford

Since Advent was observed as ‘tempus clausum’ – quiet time – in many parts of Lutheran Germany, Bach composed only a small, but extraordinary, number of cantatas for the four Sundays preceding Christmas.

Soloists from English Touring Opera and the Old Street Band combine with local choirs from across the country in two contrasting and powerful settings of Martin Luther’s great chorale ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland’ (‘Now come, saviour of the heathens’) written for the first Sunday of Advent, welcoming the first day of the church’s new year and calling for the arrival of Christ.

The joyful ‘Herz und Munt und Tat und Leben’ (‘Heart, mouth, deed and life’) – originally for the final Sunday of Advent and rewritten later for the feast of the Visitation – anticipates the coming of Christmas and is the original setting for the celebrated chorale ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’.

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (including interval)

Programme

1. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [BWV 61]
2. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [BWV 62]
3. Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben [BWV 147]
4. Ärgre dich, O Seele, nicht [BWV 186a]

Choirs

  • Rochester: Rochester Cathedral Choir
  • Sheffield: Sheffield Cathedral Choirs, The University of Sheffield Chamber Choir
  • Wiltshire: Cantamus Chamber Choir
  • Exeter: Gentlemen of Exeter Cathedral’s Choir, Isca Voices, Cathedral Consort

Listen to an extract from last year’s concert of Handel’s Music for Vespers

Showing At

  1. St Andrew Holborn, London
    2nd Oct 2014 - 7:30 pm
  2. Rochester Cathedral
    19th Oct 2014 - 6:00 pm
  3. Firth Hall, Sheffield
    2nd Nov 2014 - 7:30 pm
  4. Exeter Cathedral
    23rd Nov 2014 - 7:30 pm
  1. St Andrew Holborn, London — 2nd Oct 2014 - 7:30 pm

    5 St Andrew Street, London, EC4A 3AB

  2. Rochester Cathedral — 19th Oct 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Garth House, The Precinct, Rochester, ME1 1SX

  3. Firth Hall, Sheffield — 2nd Nov 2014 - 7:30 pm

    Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN

  4. Exeter Cathedral — 23rd Nov 2014 - 7:30 pm

    1 The Cloisters, Exeter, EX1 1HS

Jonathan Peter Kenny

Jonathan Peter Kenny

Conductor

Jonathan is from Liverpool and studied at the University of Exeter and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a founder of the Old Street Band.

He has performed a wide range of music from Monteverdi to the present day, including 14 Handel operas, 13 oratorios and numerous premieres for composers such as Michael Nyman, Jonathan Dove, Pawel Mykietyn, Fabio Vacchi, Deirdre Gribbin, Thomas Ades and Roxanna Panufnik. He has sung for the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Royal Opera Copenhagen, Salzburg Festival, Halle Handel Festival, Badischestaatsteater Karlsruhe, BBC Proms, Glimmerglass Festival NY, Teatr Wielki Warsaw, Opera du Rhin and in Australia and Japan.

Jonathan has performed with Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Baroque Soloists, Gabrieli Consort, Ulster Orchestra under such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, David Parry, Ivan Fischer, Thierry Fischer, Jane Glover, Andrew Parrott, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Ivor Bolton, Paul McCreesh, Harry Bicket. Recordings include Mattheus-Passion (Miller/Goodwin); Agrippina (Gardiner); Buxtehude/Cantatas (Immerseel); La conversione di Clodoveo (Gester); Israel in Babylon (Fontaine).

Jonathan is baroque specialist at the Royal College of Music International Opera School and prepared singers for Handel’s Poro, Atalanta, Alessandro, Il pastor fido and Rodelinda, as well as Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Michael Rosewell whom he also assisted on Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. For Trinity-Laban, Jonathan worked on Giustino and Rinaldo.

Jonathan’s performing edition of Tamerlano has been performed in London, Melbourne, Lisbon, Dublin and Prague.

After many years leading his own ensembles, Jonathan made his operatic conducting debut in 2005 with a staging of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater on Valentia Island for artist Dorothy Cross and OTC Dublin. The film was shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and in Los Angeles. In 2007 he conducted a new production of Handel’s Teseo for ETO, touring the UK, and in 2009 a new production of Flavio which opened to great enthusiasm as part of the HANDELFEST marking the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. From these performances, a new period instrument orchestra, the Old Street Band, was formed, making a highly acclaimed debut in autumn 2011 in a new production of Xerxes. Other appearances include a staging of Carissimi’s Jephte for the National Churches Trust; Monteverdi: 1610 and all that at the RCM and a highly praised The Duchess of Malfi Webster/Gesualdo at the Royal and Derngate Theatre Northampton.

Plans include a revival of Flavio, a production of Alcina in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, where Ariosto (author of Orlando furioso on which Alcina is based) was governor, in summer 2012, a reconstruction of Muzio Scevola (Amadei/Buoncini/Handel) and a new production of Agrippina.

Old Street Band

Old Street Band

Orchestra

Gillian Webster

Gillian Webster

Soprano

Andrew Radley

Andrew Radley

Countertenor

British countertenor Andrew Radley read music at Clare College, Cambridge and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Paris Conservatoire.

Roles include Gandarte Poro (Göttingen Handel Festival with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Konrad Junghänel); Orindo Admeto (Göttingen Handel and Edinburgh Festivals/Nicholas McGegan); the title role in Flavio and Joachim Susanna (Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn); the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo (Spitalfields Festival); the title role in Tamerlano and Ottone Agrippina (Cambridge Handel Opera Group); First Wise Man and covering the roles of Daniel and Cyrus in Handel’s Belshazzar (Aix-en-Provence, Innsbruck Festivals, the Berlin Staatsoper/René Jacobs); Nireno Giulio Cesare (Freiburger Barockorchester under Jacobs); the title role in Handel’s Orlando (Opera Theatre Company Ireland); Didymus Theodora (London Handel Festival/Laurence Cummings); Hamor Jephtha (Royal Danish Opera/Lars Ulrik Mortensen); Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight (British Youth Opera/Nicholas Cleobury); Medoro Orlando (Scottish Opera/Paul Goodwin); Edward in Arne’s Alfred (Classical Opera Company/Ian Page) and Arsamene in Xerxes (Iford Festival Opera).

Recent and future highlights include Nireno Giulio Cesare for Opera North, CPE Bach’s St Luke’s Passion with Il Fondamento, concert performances of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus with Classical Opera and Ian Page, his Welsh National Opera debut as Hamor in Katie Mitchell’s production of Jephtha conducted by Paul Goodwin, his Danish National Opera debut singing the title role in the world premiere of Dorian Gray by Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen, and the roles of Secrecy and Adam The Fairy Queen for Nationale Reisopera.
Andrew’s first solo CD Conversazioni has recently been released on Avie Records to great critical acclaim.

Ronan Busfield

Ronan Busfield

Tenor

Grant Doyle

Grant Doyle

Baritone

Born in Adelaide, Grant Doyle completed his studies at the Royal College of Music in London before joining the Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Subsequent roles for the Royal Opera have included Tarquinius The Rape of Lucretia, Ping Turandot, Harlequin Ariadne auf Naxos, Schaunard La bohème, Demetrius A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Morales and Dancairo Carmen, and roles in the Covent Garden premiere of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, as well as three world premieres; the Narrator in Dominique LeGendre’s Bird of Night, Billy in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole and Abraham in James MacMillan’s Clemency, a role he repeated for Scottish Opera.

Other opera credits include Yeletsky Queen of Spades, Zurga Pearl Fishers (Opera Holland Park); Forester Cunning Little Vixen, Don Giovanni and Enric in the world premiere of David Sawer’s The Skating Rink (Garsington Opera); Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro (Longborough Festival) Abraham Clemency (Scottish Opera), Robin Oakapple Ruddigore (Opera North), Schaunard La bohème (Glyndebourne), Marcello La bohème at the Royal Albert Hall (Raymond Gubbay), Demetrius Midsummers Night’s Dream (Madrid & Berlin), Ned Keene Peter Grimes (Gran Canaria), Mike in John Adams’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling (Rome), Starbuck Moby-Dick, Count Le nozze di Figaro and Zurga Pearl Fishers (State Opera of South Australia). He also performed the role of Sir Thomas Bertram in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park at the inaugural festival at The Grange in the UK. For English Touring Opera he has sung the title role in The Barber of Seville, Orestes in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Marcello La bohème, Hector King Priam, Nello Pia de’ Tolomei, and Teucer Dardanus.

A busy concert soloist, Grant Doyle works with major orchestras across the UK and Australia in repertoire which includes Carmina Burana (Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Australian Ballet), Fauré Requiem (Hallé Orchestra), Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (Philharmonia), A Child of Our Time (Crouch End Festival Chorus/Barbican) and Messiah (Royal Choral Society/Royal Albert Hall).

Johnny Herford

Johnny Herford

Baritone (from 8 Nov)

Johnny Herford won the Song Prize at the 2013 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and the Jean Meikle Duo Prize at the 2013 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. Born in London, he grew up in Oxfordshire and sang as a treble in New College Choir. He studied at Cambridge University and RAM, under Mark Wildman. He is a Samling scholar and Britten-Pears Young Artist, and currently studies with Russell Smythe.
He has sung principal roles in operas by Judith Weir, Jonathan Dove, Kim Ashton and Danyal Dhondy, and in Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen. Other operatic performances have included The Magic Flute (Papageno), Albert Herring (Sid), and The Merry Widow (Danilo).
He is grateful to the Sickle Foundation for their generous support.

Last night’s concert was fantastic. You have now got two new fans for life who will try and get to all your Exeter Cathedral concerts. The beautiful singing was so enchanting it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

Alan Brough (about ETO’s 2013 concert: Handel, Music for Vespers)

Sent shivers down the spine… Vivid and shiveringly good.

Church Times (about ETO’s 2013 concert: Handel, Music for Vespers)

Showing At

  1. St Andrew Holborn, London
    2nd Oct 2014 - 7:30 pm
  2. Rochester Cathedral
    19th Oct 2014 - 6:00 pm
  3. Firth Hall, Sheffield
    2nd Nov 2014 - 7:30 pm
  4. Exeter Cathedral
    23rd Nov 2014 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. Wonderful evening at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday, with the cathedral choir supporting the orchestra and ETO singers in the Bach Advent Cantatas. Brilliant conducting - and what a joy to be able to join in the second Jesu Joy chorus.

    Said Barbara Wooding at 10:24am on 23rd Oct 2014

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