23 October to 8 November 2015, Brighton.
|Joglaresa © Graham Wood|
This year’s Brighton Early Music Festival will probably be the largest celebration of historical female composers this country has ever seen. To kick things off, you can attend a day of free talks, taster and open discussions, entitled Rediscovering Women (17 October, 11am-5pm) – stay for the whole day or drop in. Then on 18 October, there is a workshop for female singers of all levels, Songs of Abraham, led by Belinda Sykes and members of the lively early music group Joglaresa – and you can even then take part in Joglaresa’s concert, Daughters of Abraham, on 23 October.
|The Orlando Consort|
Harpsichordist Carole Cerasi plays late 17th & 18th century music by Jacques Duphly and Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (24 October), and the London Handel Players with soprano Ruby Hughes perform two of Jacquet de La Guerre’s cantatas.
The Orlando Consort perform a specially devised soundtrack (more background on this here) of 15th century music by Binchois and Dufay, along with haunting plainsong, with a screening of the silent film masterpiece, La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (30 October) – not to be missed!
Festival Co-Artistic Director Clare Norburn has written an atmospheric dramatic performance for her group, The Telling, joined by actress Niamh Cusack, and the Celestial Sirens, about the extraordinary life of the visionary medieval abbess, Hildegard of Bingen.
But the centerpiece of the festival will undoubtedly be four performances of the first surviving opera by a woman, Francesca Caccini’s ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola di Alcina’. After a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, with additional Arts Council funding, this production by Susannah Waters and directed by Co-Artistic Director Deborah Roberts, promises much, and has a great cast including Anna Devin, Denis Lakey and Nick Pritchard (5, 7 & 8 November).www.bremf.org.uk
|BREMF Consort of Voices © Robert Piwko|
BREMF Consort of Voices perform music by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Francesca Caccini & Barbara Strozzi in ‘Convert, Court & Salon’ (1 November). And Musica Secreta are joined by the Celestial Sirens and Brighton Festival Youth Choir for ‘Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter’, an exploration of music potentially by Leonora d’Este, daughter of Borgia, who entered a convent aged 8 and devoted her life to music as an organist and composer (24 October).
|Emma Kirkby & Jakob Lindberg|
Emma Kirkby performs lute songs by Dowland, Byrd, Blow and Purcell, with lutenist Jakob Lindberg (4 November). The festival then closes with a performance of Handel’s Acis and Galatea by the BREMF Singers and Players, conducted by John Hancorn (7 November).
All the details of these concerts and more here or phone 01273 709709.