Tag Archives: Simon Martyn-Ellis

PINCHGUT OPERA : THE LOVES OF APOLLO AND DAFNE

Celebrating twenty years of performances, Pinchgut Opera brings us another superb production directed by Mitchell Butel , gloriously sung and with a lush, exquisite performance by the Orchestra of the Antipodes led by Erin Helyard on chamber organ and harpsichord. The Orchestra was streamlined with Baroque harp intrepidly performed by Hannah Lane, Laura Vaughan on viola da gamba and lirone, and Simon Martyn-Ellis on theorbo. 

This production was filmed at the City Recital Hall in May 2021.

THE LOVES OF APOLLO AND DAFNE, his second opera, was written in 1640 by Francesco Cavalli with lyrics by Giovanni Francesco Busenello .Cavalli moved to Venice, Italy, when a schoolboy and was a pupil of Montiverdi .During the 17th century Cavalli was regarded as a major opera composer who wrote over 30 works,  but his music fell into obscurity in the 18th and 19th centuries until roughly the 1950’s.

This is the third Cavalli opera Pinchgut have presented (after Ormindo in 2009, and then Giasone in 2013). It is still rare to see performances of Cavalli’s operas today.

Under Butel’s direction this performance is presented as set right now, bright, colourful and energetic, with mobile phones, computers etc and giving the work a fascinating completely new ‘ twist’ and appearance making it very relevant to today. The designs by Jeremy Allem (set) , Jeremy Allem  (costumes) and lighting by Damien Cooper are splendid. There are many doublings (even quadrupling) of roles by most of the cast in this fresh, vivid performance.  Continue reading PINCHGUT OPERA : THE LOVES OF APOLLO AND DAFNE

AUSTRALIAN ROMANTIC AND CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA : MOZART AND ABEL

This wonderful concert was performed by the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra as part of the MDCH ( Melbourne Digital Concert Hall) series but was filmed in the Cell Block Theatre Sydney.There was a short welcome and introduction by Chris Howlett of the MDCH.

The co-artistic directors of the ARCO are Rachael Beesley and Nicole van Bruggen .Each work was introduced and placed in context by flautist Georgia Browne, who mentioned that her period flute was very ‘high tech’ for the time.

First up was Carl Friedrich Abel’s (1723-1787) – Flute Quartet in A major No.2 Op.12 . in three movements. Though relatively obscure today, a student of Bach , during the mid to late 1700’s Abel was a major musical figure. He obtained a coveted position in the court orchestra at Dresden, moved to England to become chamber-musician to Queen Charlotte and in 1764 or 1765, established with Johann Christian Bach, the Bach-Abel concerts, England’s first subscription concerts. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN ROMANTIC AND CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA : MOZART AND ABEL

PINCHGUT OPERA : A DELICATE FIRE

The film was born out of restrictions imposed on the performing arts by COVID-19 – in particular, the ban on public performances for much of 2020 – and features an all- Australian cast and creative team. It is somewhat startling but oh so exquisite and refined musically with glorious performances of the almost forgotten madrigals of Barbara Strozzi.

Barbara Strozzi was an Italian composer and singer of 17th century Venice who published eight volumes of music during her lifetime. The illegitimate daughter of a noble Venetian poet, who encouraged her to pursue her talents by studying with the acclaimed opera composer Cavalli, Strozzi was one of the few female composers of her time to write under her own name.

The music for A DELICATE FIRE was selected from Strozzi’s Opus 1, her first book of madrigals, published in 1644. The lyrics are by her poet father, Giulio Strozzi and are meditations on the diversity, exaltation, sorrows and delights of love, inspired by a quote from Sappho. Continue reading PINCHGUT OPERA : A DELICATE FIRE