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Rinaldo: last performances and podcast

Wed 17 Aug 2011

Rinaldo 2011, photograph taken by Bill Cooper

Our run of Rinaldo at Glyndebourne is now drawing to a close, with just three performances left (tonight, Saturday 20th and Monday 22nd). If you’re lucky though you might just get a return, or be able to get a seat for the semi-staged performance of it at the BBC proms at the Royal Albert Hall next Thursday. Glyndebourne have a put together a series of podcasts for their operas this summer, and you can listen to them, including one on Rinaldo here.

The production has split opinion, to say the least… If you’ve seen it you can add your pennies-worth over on the Glyndebourne website here.

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Planes, trains and automobiles (well no planes, not til the following day anyway)

Mon 8 Aug 2011

The cause of all our transport problems... The landslide outide at East Croydon station

On Monday, players and management got caught up in the chaos of the landslide at East Croydon station. Here’s how we got (most of!) them to the performance on time, with a few stand-ins in unusual places…

[Curtain up was supposed to be at 5.15…]

How Megan (Projects Manager, standing in for Philippa, the Orchestra Manager) got to Glyndebourne:

Departure: 11.55 from Vauxhall (She was hoping to have a swim before the show!|)

Train Vauxhall – Clapham Junction

Train Clapham Junction – East Croydon

Oh dear, about 1000 people waiting for rail replacement bus services to Gatwick Airport outside the station and no taxis to be found…

Walk to West Croydon

Train West Croydon – Sutton

Train Sutton – Dorking (made the train by about 1 minute)

[Briefly met her Mum to pick up some bits for tour the following day!]

Train Dorking Deepdene – Redhill

Train Redhill – Gatwick Airport

It’s now about 3.30…

Train Gatwick Airport – Brighton (Stopping at EVERY station en route)

Train Brighton – Lewes

Taxi to Glyndebourne

Arrival: 4.45

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The Back-Row blogger

Tue 12 Jul 2011

A first post from our new back-row blogger – slightly delayed because of the amount of stuff we’ve been putting up here – apologies!

BLOG FROM THE BACK ROW

 ‘It’s my birthday…..there’s a party….everyone is invited……Lucas Meachem’. I study the invitation pinned to the OAE notice board at Glyndebourne. ‘Who’s Lucas Meachem?’ I ask my colleague. She stares in disbelief. ‘Lucas Meachem? Don Giovanni?’ in a tone which also says ‘Hello, where have you been for the last three weeks?’ Well, I’ve been in my usual place on the back row in the pit and, unlike my violinist colleague, unable to see anything on stage. (Our view consists of the back of the flutes’ and oboes’ heads, the backs of the ‘cellos who are on a slightly raised platform, the conductor, more or less, very occasionally if we’re lucky the leader, and the front row of the audience, some of whom will be snoozing after the interval.) We can hear that there are people walking above our heads, and from far away comes the sound of singing, but I admit that our perspective on proceedings is limited. To enhance my experience I’ve watched the DVD of the production, filmed last year. It’s a revelation. That alarming thumping directly overhead in act 2 for example turns out to be Leporello hopping across the stage with his legs tied together. No need to worry. But the cast is different from this year’s and so for me, Gerald Finley is  Don Giovanni – hence my puzzlement over the invitation. During the interval a cake is brought into the artists’ cafe and we all sing ‘Happy Birthday’. That must be the new     Giovanni blowing out the candles. So, Lucas Meachem, now I know you (sort of) but you don’t know me, and I can hear you (sort of) though I don’t suppose you can hear me at all. But when you’re back on stage remember, as you get dragged down into hell – that faint bellowing from far below is The Back Row, blowing our brains out in a vain attempt to drown your screams.

Back row blogger, 18/06/2011

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Rinaldo in pictures

Thu 7 Jul 2011

Rinaldo 2011, photograph taken by Bill Cooper

Here are some pictures of the brand new production of Handel’s Rinaldo at Glyndebourne which we’re appearing in. Director Robert Carson has gone for quite a radical take on the opera, imagining it as a schoolboy’s day-dream. Find out what the critics made of it in our reviews roundup below. Rinaldo plays at Glyndebourne until 22 August. All pictures are © Bill Cooper

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300 children, Don Giovanni and a lot of guts

Wed 6 Jul 2011

OAE Children's concert

 

One of the things I most love about playing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is the variety- the spice of a freelance musician’s life.

I’m currently halfway between Kings Lynn and Glyndebourne (somewhere in Essex): halfway between schools and family concerts of Don Giovanni and the second night of Rinaldo: halfway between an audience of hundreds who had never been in the same room as an opera singer before, and an audience famously passionate about opera.

Just to put your minds at rest, I’m not actually driving as I type.

Forget the vuvuzelas – for me there’s nothing like the sound of 300 children buzzing with anticipation and excitement before the start of a schools’ concert. The children in Kings Lynn were there as composers, performers, and audience. You ain’t heard nothing till you hear the Corn Exchange full of children singing Fin ch’han dal vino. They loved it so much they just couldn’t stand still as they sang it.

They were guided through the concert by the fantastic James Redwood and OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes as they heard about the dastardly Don Giovanni, listened to the OAE play Mozart, performed their new songs and of course heard Real Live Opera Singers from Glyndebourne…the ones that don’t need microphones!

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Rinaldo reviewed

Tue 5 Jul 2011

Anett Fritsch as Almirena in the 2011 OAE production of Rinaldo, photograph taken by Bill Cooper

 

The second opera which we’re performing in at Glyndebourne this year, Rinaldo, opened on Saturday and the reviews are now in. Here’s what the critics had to say:

Telegraph

Independent

Financial Times

Guardian

The Arts Desk

Daily Express

Evening Standard

Music OMH

The Stage

Observer

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Susie’s mid-tour blog: drama off-stage

Fri 1 Jul 2011

Violinist Susie Carpenter-Jacobs sent us this blog from mid-way through our tour with Sir Simon Rattle the other week:

There’s been hectic activity in the orchestra this week: Haydn and Mozart have been jostling for supremacy in the hands of Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters, from Luxembourg, to Paris, Dublin and the Royal Festival Hall; rehearsals for Handel’s Rinaldo have started in London, and Don Giovanni continues to seduce the ladies at Glyndebourne.

As a Don Giovanni stage-band participant for the first time this year, it has been instructive to discover that, while lust, death and deception is pouring forth from stage and pit (and that’s before curtain up), stage-band life itself involves skulking around the murky underworld of props cupboards and scenery stores down in the depths of the opera house, whilst keeping an eye on the clock and an ear to the back stage relay system. For, every musician’s nightmare is to become aware that the cue to your vital musical moment has arrived whilst you are situated several staircases and corridors away from imminent action.

Last Sunday the classiest musical event at Glyndebourne took place during the first act of Don Giovanni, well away from the drama unfolding on the stage: a landmark, debut performance of “Knickerbocker Glory” given to a small, select audience by the youngest soloist to have played at the opera house this year – six year old Nona – daughter of Jo (violin) and Martin Lawrence (horn); delivered with style, panache and aplomb, in time honoured fashion in the OAE.

 

So brilliant was Nona’s playing that this correspondent was granted permission to join her for a triumphant encore – before the former collapsed in a heap, and the latter sprinted niftily down the aforementioned staircases and corridors to join stage band colleagues gathering in a storage cupboard.

For, over the Tannoy, Zerlina had launched into “Batti batti” and the cue for our brief appearance was approaching…

Susie Carpenter-Jacobs, violin

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Rattle: the morning after the night / tour before

Wed 22 Jun 2011

Office asleep. This photo is not an accurate depiction of life in the OAE office...

Well, after five cities, four concerts, three trains, two planes and one coach our tour with Sir Simon Rattle is over. Everything culminated in a sold-out concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night (a concert that marked 25 years of the OAE!) , and not only was it sold out but we had a few added complications, not least of which being a last-minute special guest – none other than Madonna!

Today we have a slightly tired team in the office (and most probably a slightly tired Orchestra too!) but we’ve not long to catch our breath – the Orchestra is rehearsing today and tomorrow for the Glyndebourne production of Rinaldo and Friday sees our Night Shift at Village Underground.

In the coming days look out for special reports, pictures and footage from the tour, plus a full report on last night’s action-packed evening at the Royal Festival Hall.

Oh and if you want to get in early next year’s concert with Sir Simon is already on sale…

William Norris, Communications Director

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On tour with Sir Simon: a preview

Mon 13 Jun 2011

Sir Simon Rattle

Well today is the first day of our latest project with our Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle (pictured conducting us a few years ago in Budapest). Of course everyone is *quite* excited about it. We’re touring a concert of Mozart and Haydn, which also features pianists Katia & Marielle Labèque playing the Mozart Concerto for two pianos.

This afternoon and evening sees our first rehearsal with Sir Simon (he’s coming to us straight from a project with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), with further rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday (we have a rehearsal of Rinaldo for Glyndebourne on the Tuesday). That evening we’re off to Brussels – staying the night there and onto Luxembourg on Friday. We give a concert in Luxembourg Friday night before travelling onto Paris for a concert there on Saturday. We’ve also just found out that we’re going head to head with the London Symphony Orchestra that night – we’re at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, while they are at the Salle Pleyel – and we’re even staying at the same hotel!

Sunday morning we travel back to London before flying to Dublin for a concert at the National Concert Hall on Monday night. Then it’s an early flight back Tuesday to London and the final concert of the tour at the Royal Festival Hall.

It’s going to be an exciting week and we’re going to try and bring you as much news as possible along the way. Make sure you also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to hear the latest.

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Jurowski on Don Giovanni

Mon 6 Jun 2011

The OAE is currently in the middle of a run of Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne, the first of two operas we are performing there this season (the other being Rinaldo). The production of Don Giovanni premiered last summer when it was conducted by our Principal Artist and Glyndebourne Music Director Vladimir Jurowski. This season Robin Ticciati has taken over conducting duties, but we thought you might still be interested in this video from Glyndebourne in which Vladimir talks about the opera and which also includes some exclusive rehearsal footage.

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Reviews roundup: Glyndebourne / Don Giovanni

Tue 31 May 2011

Wow, Glyndebourne always arrives sooner than you expect – hard to believe we are now three performances in there, with the fourth tonight. Our first opera there is a revival of last season’s production of Don Giovanni. Last year’s performances were conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (we’ll post a video of him talking about the piece soon), but this year Robin Ticciati is at the helm. Here’s a selection of reviews from the opening night.

Guardian
The Arts Desk
Independent
Observer
Financial Times

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The UK's leading opera maestros in conversation

Mon 16 May 2011

Just thought we’d share a very interesting video here, from an event at the Royal Opera House . Conductors Antonio Pappano, Edward Gardner and our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski talk to Sir John Tusa about conducting opera and what it takes to be a musical director of a leading opera house. Plus – a little clip is included of us in the pit at Glyndebourne with Vladimir Jurowski conducting. Enjoy!

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In rehearsal with Roy Goodman and Robin Ticciati

Wed 11 May 2011

with Roy Goodman and pianist Artur Pizarro

A few pictures snapped by our Intern Georgina of the OAE in rehearsal last week with two conductors – Roy Goodman rehearsing us at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for that evening’s performance of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, and Robin Ticciati at the helm in rehearsal for Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni.

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Night Shift hangover revisited…

Thu 5 May 2011

With a rather tired team back in the office today it seems like an appropriate time to point you in the direction of this old p0st.

The Orchestra is really extraordinarily busy at the moment, so they’re also probably feeling a little tired – here’s a run-down of what we’ve been up to this week:

Monday: Rehearse for Fidelio performance at the Brighton festival
Tuesday: More rehearsals for Fidelio
Wednesday: Afternoon rehearsal, and then 7pm and 10pm concerts with Roy Goodman and Artur Pizarro at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
Thursday (today!): First rehearsal for Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni with conductor Robin Ticciati, plus our AGM
Friday: More Don Giovanni rehearsals
Saturday: Fidelio Rehearsals
Sunday: Fidelio Rehearsal and performance at the Brighton Dome

Phew! And then the following week we have more Don Giovanni rehearsals, plus rehearsals for and performance of Mozart Requiem with the Bach Choir…

William Norris, Communications Director

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Ingrid: One month in

Tue 17 Aug 2010

I can’t say I expected to have been to 3 such brilliant concerts within my first month as the OAE intern. The highlight of my first week here was trotting off to Glyndebourne to see how everything works backstage from the orchestra’s point of view. I had duly prepared myself by watching the recent BBC series about Gareth Malone putting together a youth choir for the Knight Crew opera, so I at least had an idea what it was all about. I had heard of Glin-de-born back in New Zealand (I purposely waited in my intern interview for Ceri and Megan to say it first) and knew it as one of the top opera places in the world, but didn’t realise it was in the country-side and in such a beautiful setting. Fortunately I was ushered into a free seat behind a tv camera about 10 seconds before it began and was able to watch the show.

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Why Friday the 13th wont be so bad after all: a new Night Shift podcast

Wed 11 Aug 2010

Ahead of our special summer event at Wilton’s this Friday (the 13th) we’ve just released this new podcast which looks forward to the event. In it, we find out about the history of the venue – and why the can-can was banned, chat with OAE leader and violinist Matthew Truscott (who was in a rather windy Glyndebourne) about the music and get your reactions to the last event back in May. Find out more about The Night Shift and how to buy tickets at its special website. This podcast also features our Pod Idol winner Raul – making his debut as the voice of the pod.

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Cherry and the Don

Tue 27 Jul 2010

At the Don Giovanni final rehearsal a few weeks ago (we’re perfoming it at Glyndebourne currently) I caught up with OAE Education Manager and Oboeist Cherry Forbes about her role in the opera:

Sorry about any background noise which is the OAE office team enjoying a picnic!

William Norris, Marketing Director

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"violent, disturbing and menacing" – Vladimir Jurowski talks about Don Giovanni

Wed 7 Jul 2010

As you may know the OAE is currently down in Glyndebourne, where it is playing in two Mozart operas – Cosi Fan Tutte and Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni had its first night on Sunday and is conducted by our Principal Artist and Glyndebourne’s Music Director, Vladimir Juorwski. In a recent excellent interview with The Guardian he talks about his fear of conducting the opera, yoga, The Night Shift and whether Glyndebourne still has a purpose. Read the interview here.

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What quiet summer? Announcing…the summer Night Shift

Wed 30 Jun 2010

When us OAE office workers think about the summer we often associate it with the word ‘quiet’. That’s not because we’re putting our feet up

and drinking champagne (often) but because usually, our London concerts stop for a bit.

As you may know, our main season of concerts in London runs from October through to May, and the summer period is usually a bit different – the Orchestra is down in Glyndebourne for much of the time and while we do some touring it’s generally less intensive than during the rest of the year.

So for the office team this often gives us a chance to recover, regroup and do some long-range planning. Not so this year. Because unsually, we’re doing several events in London. We have the Proms, which is normal, but we’ve also just announced a special summer Night Shift. We’ve wanted to do a summer event in the Night Shift series for a while, as it’s such a long gap between events otherwise. And we’re thrilled (understatement) that it’s going to be at Wilton’s Music Hall. When Ceri, our Projects Director, and I looked at it a month or so back we knew instantly it would be perfect, and we were over the moon (there were whoops in the office) when it was all confirmed.

The event goes on sale tomorrow, at noon, and all the info is on the website. Tomorrow we’ll also post up some pics of Wilton’s and announce a second special summer event…

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Swarm of bees threaten day out at Glyndebourne

Wed 23 Jun 2010

Directors of German Bank, Commerzbank, were worried that the weather may dampen spirits at their day out at Glyndebourne as part of their support of the OAE this year.  But, sunshine was in abundance.  They never thought at a swarm of bees may get the better of them.

The day before their trip to the East Sussex Opera House a thousand strong swarm of bees hovered over the grounds.  Luckily two local bee keepers were dispatched to catch the bees before they played havoc with the opera loving crowds.

Our Development Manager, Nicolette Shaw, who accompanied Commerzbank to Glyndebourne said “there were hundreds of bees left around the trees but thankfully there was no sign of the thousands of the day before.  Glyndebourne opera lovers have to deal with sheep, wild turkeys, pheasants picking at picnics and now bees but it’s all part of the summer fun”.

Commerzbank is helping children from King’s Cross schools prepare a project led by the OAE around Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne this year.  Children from the inner city schools will be travelling to Glyndebourne on July 23rd. Beware of the killer bees 😮

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