Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Friday 4th October

Town Hall

Music Theatre Wales

Michael Rafferty conductor

Marcus Farnsworth Eddy

Sally Silver Eddy’s Mum / Waitress / Sphinx

Louise Winter Eddy’s Sister / Waitress who becomes Eddy’s Wife / Sphinx

Gwion Thomas Eddy’s Dad / Café Manager / Chief of Police

The Music Theatre Wales Ensemble

Michael McCarthy director

Simon Banham designer

Ace McCarron lighting designer

Sound Intermedia sound design

Mark-Anthony Turnage Greek 90’

This staged performance has a running time of c 1 hour 50 minutes including one 20 minute interval.

A Town Hall Symphony Hall event, promoted in collaboration with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Back in the Thatcher years, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek kicked and swore its way to classic status. A quarter of a century later, this savage re-telling of the story of Oedipus relocated to a blighted East End remains shockingly relevant. This fully-staged new production by Music Theatre Wales doesn’t pull any punches – and Turnage himself has hailed it as ‘superb…amazingly powerful’.

a contemporary classic The Stage

blisteringly realised The Telegraph



Review by Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “What really hit you was the sheer freshness of Turnage’s score: its pounding, percussive drive, its grungy, sax-coloured substrata, and the moments of grimy, metallic lyricism that glinted through its overcast skies. Under Michael Rafferty, MTW’s onstage orchestra played with pin-point virtuosity – giving wholehearted support, despite a few balance problems, to the excellent cast. Farnsworth’s cocksure Eddy quite properly dominated every scene in which he appeared, but Gwion Thomas and Sally Silver played his adoptive parents with quiet pathos, while Louise Winter gave real tragic stature to the part of his birth-mother and (unknowing) wife.”     …



Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard, MusicWeb:

Click here for full review

…     “Paring the props and action down to a minimum allowed Turnage’s music to receive maximum focus. His score is worthy of this and still sounds like that of an 80s angry young man. It also illustrated the influences behind this composer’s style: the jazz idiom of Miles Davis and Charlie Mingus, the complexity of Stravinsky, the vocal writing prowess of Britten, the teachings of Henze and Knussen, all exploited in Greek could be detected. Turnage’s eclectic mix went down well with an enthusiastic audience, many no doubt harping back to the days when he was Composer in Residence with Simon Rattle and the CBSO during 1989-93. The eighteen man ensemble of MTW under the direction of Michael Rafferty were as impassioned as any army of football fans, symbolically represented by the Union Jack on the back of the conductor’s podium. The woodwind section were particularly busy and made some incredible sounds; at appropriate moments the resonances from the wailing piccolo of Kathryn Thomas and the piercing soprano saxophone of Kyle Horch reached alarming levels. It was hard to believe from the programme that there was but a single percussionist, namely Julian Warburton, such were the deafening noises that accompanied the riots of Act I, when the shit hits the fan. And when Eddy’s Dad respectfully removed his hat to tell his sorry tale of how they came by their ‘son’ in Act II, the viola break of Yuko Inoue brought true sadness to the moment.

The singers were also in fine voice. Marcus Farnsworth was a highly convincing Eddy – his uncouth Bolshie of Act I was worthy of an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order imposed in UK), while in Act II ten years later his character had begun to attract certain sympathy.”     …

Purcell’s King Arthur

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Friday 31st May

Town Hall

New London Consort

Philip Pickett  conductor

Nicholas Le Prevost actor (Merlin)

Joanne Lunn Cupid

Faye Newton Siren

Anna Dennis Philidel

Penelope Appleyard Siren

Adriana Festeu Priestess

Tim Travers-Brown Spirit

Joseph Cornwell Comus

Andrew King Man

Nicholas Hurndall Smith Shepherd

Benjamin Bevan Grimbald

Michael George Cold Genius

Simon Grant Aeolus

Ace McCarron lighting designer

Please note
The role of Merlin, which was due to be played by Oliver Cotton, will now be played by Nicholas Le Prevost.


  King Arthur


Celebrating the triumph of good over evil in Arthur’s enchanted island realm, Merlin the magician tells a gripping tale of love, battles and betrayal. Pagans sacrifice, warriors triumph, spirits enchant, nymphs and shepherds pipe and dance, the Cold Genius shivers, and naked sirens seduce – all to some of Purcell’s greatest music.

Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine, explains why he has recommended tonight’s concert:

No-one who saw the New London Consort’s stunning Fairy Queen in 2011 will want to miss their new version of one of Purcell’s most vibrant works. Performed by an A-list cast of singers and a colourful consort of baroque instruments, it’s sure to be an enchanting evening.



Review by Verity Quaite, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Despite my reservations about the juxtaposition of the old with the new, the authentic instrumentation with the lighting, the performance by the New London Consort was exemplary and these talented musicians lived up to their reputation for artistry and virtuosity.  Anna Dennis’ depiction of the spirit Philidel was impressive, with her full and agile voice suiting the part well. Faye Newton and Penelope Appleyard’s voices as the Sirens sent to distract Arthur from his mission were well matched, and Appleyard, overpowered by Dennis in choruses, came into her own here. Unfortunately Adriana Festeu appeared to struggle in the lower register at times, while Joanne Lunn gave a consistently high calibre of performance. Similarly, countertenor Tim Travers Brown, tenor Andrew King and baritone Benjamin Bevan all executed their parts admirably.”     …



Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard, MusicWeb:

Click here for full review

…     “Merlin moved events rapidly on in Act III, relating the capture of Arthur’s blind betrothed Emmeline by former suitor and Saxon leader Oswald, before illustrating his magical powers by curing her blindness. Pickett had moved the Passacaglia to this point, believing it to be its rightful and original location; this took us mid-act to the interval. Cast as Cupid an animated Joanne Lunn got the second half off to a cracking start with her What Ho! thou genius of this isle to introduce a shivering Michael George as Cold Genius. I thought the choral singing of See, See, we assemble excelled here, music and voices the epitome of ‘quiv’ring with cold’. The strings superbly led by Penelope Spencer had a primary role in the subsequent Dance – a cold scene that warmed the cockles. The brief Act IV saw Le Provost tell Arthur to trust nothing he encounters in his quest to reclaim Emmeline from the enchanting wood. Newton and Appleyard as two Sirens generated an ethereal resonance to support the illusions that the king encountered, but naturally the good spirits overcame the bad.”     …



Review by Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “The link man was actor Nicholas le Prevost, telling the story in disturbing modern vernacular; raising laughs and groans from the absorbed listeners however.

Ace McCarron’s interesting and imaginative lighting helped throughout from a flitting airy spirit single moving spot, to cool icy shadows. The stage management was most impressive, with smooth interchanges and movements from the soloists.

Four male soloists responded wonderfully to sparky tabor for a lively front of stage dance, after which soprano Joanne Lunn sang the familiar Fairest Isle with true commitment and lovely tone.”     …

Purcell’s Fairy Queen

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Thu 17 Feb 7:30pm at Town Hall

New London Consort
Philip Pickett conductor
Joanne Lunn soprano
Dana Marbach soprano
Faye Newton soprano
Christopher Robson countertenor
Tim Travers-Brown countertenor
Ed Lyon tenor
Joseph Cornwell tenor
Michael George bass
Simon Grant bass
Mauricio García Lozano director
Ace McCarron lighting designer

Please note Mauricio García Lozano replaces Neil Wallace.

Purcell The Fairy Queen 130’

There will be one interval and the concert will end at approximately 10pm.
A co-production de Doelen Rotterdam and The Sage Gateshead, in collaboration with Circus Space

London audiences in the 1690s revelled in the spectacle of The Fairy Queen – a maverick combination of Purcell’s glorious music, acting, costumes, and ‘machines and decorations’. This new production uses innovative stage direction and circus performers to recreate something of the colourful, fantastical spirit of the original.

BBC Music magazine’s Editor, Oliver Condy, explains why he has recommended tonight’s concert:
“Purcell’s opera contains his finest music. Based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Fairy Queen is a dramatic and musical masterpiece that delights and moves in equal measure. This fun-filled, circus-inspired production features a superb line-up of artists.”

6.15pm Pre-concert conversation with the artists.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

… “Philip Pickett’s New London Consort, cosily tucked up in a corner of the Town Hall Stage, delivered the score brightly and lovingly, and his soloists (complicated to identify from the otherwise informative programme) sang with immense style, technical brilliance and emotional communication.” …