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8 HANDEL – ISRAEL IN EGYPT AT SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL Plagues of lice and locusts forecast for Southwark in July! Flies, frogs, hailstones, death! All this and more in a spinetingling evening of music as the Royal Choral Society performs Handel’s choral masterpiece Israel in Egypt at Southwark Cathedral on 24 July at 19.30. This much-loved London choir will bring to life the plagues, miracles and jubilation of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt as described in the Old Testament’s book of Exodus. Israel in Egypt’s exuberant choruses showcase Handel’s genius for drama and storytelling – from the plagues of flies, frogs, lice and locusts, to fire and hailstones, and of course, Moses’ spectacular parting of the Red Sea. Handel is, of course, one of the great composers of the Baroque, standing head and shoulders above his many contemporaries. Today we are familiar with Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Telemann and others, but how many of us have heard of Stradella, Erba, Urio and Kerl? In Messiah, Handel’s later much loved oratorio, the great composer ‘recycled’ some of his earlier pieces, but in Israel in Egypt he used much material from the compositions of those latter four composers. This was fairly common practice at the time when acts of plagiarism were not as hotly contested as nowadays, and Handel’s transformation of these snippets was invariably superior to the originals. Where the work was all his own, we find some of Handel’s best writing, particularly the opening and closing choruses. The Royal Choral Society will perform this extraordinary chorus-laden work in the gothic nave of Southwark Cathedral on 24 July at 19.30. The 150-strong choir will be accompanied by the London Handel Orchestra and a stellar line up of six soloists: Zoë Brookshaw (Soprano), Camilla Harris (Soprano), David Allsopp (Countertenor), Robin Bailey (Tenor), Tristan Hambleton (Bass) and Lancelot Nomura (Bass). Conducted by the Royal Choral Society Music Director Richard Cooke, this spectacular performance will surely raise the roof. The Royal Choral Society has been performing the great choral masterpieces ever since its formation for the opening of the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, including the UK premières of Verdi’s Requiem in 1875, and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater in 1884, both concerts conducted by their composers. Tickets are available on the website at HAVANA BUENOS AIRES LATIN CLASSICAL MUSIC FESTIVAL Tangos for Angels and Demons will celebrate 20 years of Tango Siempre over two days on 17 & 18 July in the Purcell Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. This new festival of classical Latin American music has been curated by operatic soprano Ann Liebeck and Julian Rowlands, the UK’s most well-known bandoneon player, and marks 20 years of premier band, Tango Siempre. Liebeck has been collaborating with Rowlands over the past 6 years on many tango projects, particularly the vocal ballads of Astor Piazzolla which will feature in Tangos for Angels and Demons. The programme will also feature new compositions by Tango Siempre, alongside music from The Golden Age of Tango. On the second day of the Festival, Cubana Clásica will celebrate A Night at the Opera, featuring the UK’s top classical/jazz violinist LUKAS award winner Omar Puente. It will also feature one of Cuba’s most brilliant young concert pianists Marcos Madrigal. There will be music by classic Cuban zarzuela composers Gonzalo Roig and Rodrigo Prats, which will be sung by operatic soprano Ann Liebeck and Academyaward nominated Ernesto Lecuona, often described as the George Gershwin of Cuba. Tickets on 020 3879 9555. T H I S I S L O N D O N M A G A Z I N E • T H I S I S L O N D O N O N L I N E


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