Armonico Consort & Baroque Players: Purcell, The Fairy Queen

Saturday 6 July, 7.30pm

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Armonico Consort at Thaxted Festival (wide shot)
Armonico Consort at Thaxted Festival

Conductor: Christopher Monks, Artistic Director. Narrated by Oz Clarke OBE, The Fairy Queen is an opera combining elements of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a sequence of musical masques. The result is an enchanting fairy-tale fantasy.

Narrators: Oz Clarke & Laura Moretto
Sopranos: Eloise Irving, Hannah Fraser Mackenzie
Alto: William Towers
Tenor: Nathan Vale
Bass: Gareth John

Renowned for inspiring audiences with passionate, fresh and direct performances, Armonico Consort and Baroque Players make a welcome return to Thaxted Festival, led by Christopher Monks.

Narrated by Oz Clarke OBE and Laura Moretto, The Fairy Queen - like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream - combines earthy and familiar human emotions with the light-footed, other-worldly character of the fairy kingdom, taking us from bewitching beauty and pathos to rowdiest, raunchiest and broadest comedy. This semi-staged production will create for the first time a modern-day retelling, with a newly adapted text.

The score of The Fairy Queen was lost after Purcell’s death in 1695, but rediscovered in the late 19th century. Gustav Holst set his Morley College students the vast task of preparing the work for performance from some 1500 pages of the score. He conducted the full work in London in June 1911, introduced by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and so we owe its current existence to Holst.

‘Christopher Monks directs spirited performances with plenty of exuberant wit.’
David Vickers, Gramophone

Venue: Thaxted Parish Church
Tickets: £42*, £38, £32, £24, £16. Age 30 and under: £10
*Premium seating in centre front rows.

“[The Tippett Quartet] concert as part of the 2023 Thaxted Festival revealed a group of musicians of profound interpretative depth, and capable of traversing a wide range of repertoire.”
Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer
“A positively life-enhancing performance of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love in English with reduced ensemble by Wild Arts…”
Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer
“The performance was a joy … and the quartet brought out its sense of both structural and linear perfection.” Holst’s Phantasy Quartet Op 36 performed by the Tippett Quartet.
Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer
“The Tippett Quartet and Emma Abbate have performed Schumann’s Piano Quintet together many times. On this occasion they combined flawless execution with instinctive – and utterly engaging – musicianship.”
Claire Seymour, in Seen and Heard International.
“…this was a wonderfully enjoyable and engaging performance that really punched above its weight. The audience in Thaxted clearly loved it and were fully engaged, whilst this experienced reviewer was carried away as well.”
Wild Art’s production of The Elixir of Love, reviewed by Robert Hugill in Planet Hugill
“2 terrific concerts I heard with London Mozart Players.”
Thaxted Festival concertgoer
“I think Gustav is smiling down to see how his memory and that of his best friend and colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams are honoured by the expertly played pieces they both composed.”
Thaxted Festival concertgoer
“It's always the variety and quality which keeps me coming back.”
Thaxted Festival concertgoer
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