Barely a moment to recover from Le pescatrici before we were into rehearsals with the Bampton Classical Players for our Wigmore Hall debut on Friday. Serena Kay and Lina Markeby cast off their alter egos as Nerina and Eurilda and became Tangia and Lisinga in Gluck's Le cinesi, joined by Tom Raskin and Martene Grimson as Silango and Sivene. Given the tiny stage at the Wigmore we were unable to stage this delightful ironic comedy, but nevertheless its humour and vitality came across superbly in Murray Hipkin's translation, and the gestures and poses of the singers made this a model of operatic communication. I doubt that the Wigmore Hall has often echoed to so many laughs and chuckles. Preceding Le cinesi was what we believe was the UK première of Gluck's La danza, a mellifluous cantata-like opera, sung with immense beauty by Martene and Nicholas Sharratt. The Classical Players were on superb form under the inspired direction of Christian Curnyn, and the evening was a very special one for Bampton Classical Opera. It is a privilege to 'discover' music of this quality, and we hope to present further Gluck operas in the future.
The following day several of the players, with Steve Cutting (natural trumpet) re-convened in Warwickshire, along with Tom Raskin, Vojtech Safarik (Lindoro in Pescatrici) and Joana Seara for a concert of Handel and Bach to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of our most longstanding supporters and Patrons, Lady Goodhart. With a guest list of over 250, this was a sumptuous lunch and afternoon concert party in a vast marquee in the grounds of Compton Verney, the superb country-house art gallery in south Warwickshire. We were delighted to honour Celia Goodhart in this way, whose hospitality and generosity is legendary.