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:

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…     “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:

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…     “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:

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…     “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. www.thsh.co.uk

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.” …