Tag Archives: Heston Hannah

Britten’s Phaedra

Early music group Thoroughbass shared the stage with soprano Heather Hannah. Featured photo conductor Sarah Penicka-Smith

This weekend early music group Thoroughbass joined with award winning singer Heston Hannah to present a collection of baroque and contemporary works at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The concert was headlined with Britten’s Phaedra, which was presented with a great flair for storytelling by Hannah. The strings and harpsichord work in a kind of chorus and response with the soprano voice, featuring an urgently descending atonal melodic line on the violins and low, humming sustained notes as an erratic rhythm on the timpani accompanies the vocals. Hannah’s voice perfectly suits the Greek mythological tale of Phaedra’s forbidden love. Her choice of guttural tone throughout the recitatives particularly suits the distress that Phaedra feels and her acceptance of the inevitability of death. Continue reading Britten’s Phaedra