Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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French Fancies – Press Reactions

Mon 3 Mar 2014


On 20 February, we performed with Katia and Marielle Labèque in a programme featuring Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Debussy and Ibert.  We’ve heard your thoughts so now it’s time to look at what the press had to say…

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French Fancies – audience reactions

Thu 27 Feb 2014


There were steady tortoises, speeding fingers and even cops and robbers. But what did you have to say about our recent concert with Katia and Marielle Labèque…

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Last night’s conductor

Fri 21 Feb 2014

We were delighted to be joined by conductor Eduardo Portal for our performances of Ibert’s Divertissement this week. Eduardo is a former participant in our Melgaard Young Conductor scheme so we were delighted to welcome him ‘home’. In case you didn’t receive a slip in your programme at last night’s concert we have posted Eduardo’s biography below.

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Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns



His times: In his lifetime, and for many years thereafter, Saint-Saëns was viewed as an upholder of tradition – an arch-conservative with an intense interest in music of the past (much of which, including Bach, he revived for the first time in France). In truth Saint-Saëns was a progressive man, who proved instrumental in dragging the French musical establishment forward: away from the light opera it was so obsessed with and onto song and chamber music. But as a world-famous musician in the 18th and early 19th centuries, Saint-Saëns wrote across the board: operas, concertos, symphonies and instrumental, vocal and chamber music.

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Katia Labèque: Speed Interview

Mon 20 Jun 2011

Katia and Marielle Labèque

In June 2011, we spoke with Katia Labèque as she prepared to tour with Sir Simon Rattle and the OAE for the first time.  As we join them once more for tonight’s concert of French Fancies, we take another look at that Speed Interview…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
I suppose when our first CD of Rhapsodie in Blue went gold in few months. It did focus the attention of the people on us and also on the repertoire we were playing.

What do you fear the most?
Death of the people we love.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I don’t call often because I prefer the computer.

What – or where – is perfection?
Thank God perfection does not exist…that gives each of us the possibility to try to reach it.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Bartleby: “I would prefer not to…” If I really have to explain, I see him as an artist who refuses to compromise his art, who refuses to conform to the model of the society he lives in…

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