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This_Is_London_7 December 2018

10 SEE AN OTHER SIDE OF

10 SEE AN OTHER SIDE OF ST PAUL’S St Paul’s may offer the best 360 degree views anywhere in London but the interior of this magnificent Cathedral is beautiful beyond description. As well as being an age old place of worship, it is full of exceptional art and history, inspiring architecture and sublime music. Daytime visitors can explore the underground Crypt for encounters with a wealth of historical figures from Florence Nightingale and JMW Turner to Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. To properly appreciate the interior, you can ascend the 257 steps to the worldfamous Whispering Gallery with its unique acoustics. The London landmark has been the setting, not only for Royal Weddings and State Funerals, but also for Paralympic sports and films from Mary Poppins to Harry Potter. You cannot appreciate the sheer size of this iconic building until you are inside and take the time to see the other side of St Paul’s. Visitors can join Advent services including Light in the Darkness on Sunday 16 December (15.15), for the Blessing of the Crib and Lighting of the Christmas Trees and celebrity readers will join the Cathedral Choir and City of London Sinfonia on 13 December (18.30) for the Celebration of Christmas, conducted by Andrew Carwood. HANDEL HOUSE CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE Handel House Christmas Showcase will take place at St. George’s Hanover Square on Tuesday 18 December. Musicians from the Handel House Talent scheme will perform Baroque music both as soloists and ensembles. The programme will include pieces from Handel's Messiah, his operas Alcina & Il Pastor Fido, and music by Henry Purcell and other Baroque composers. There will also be a world-premiere of a new piece composed by Composer-in- Residence Alex Groves inspired by a year working inside Handel’s House at 25 Brook Street. Handel's masterpiece, Alcina, will also be performed as part of the London Handel Festival Prelude on Tuesday 22 January at St. John's Smith Square. For the first time, it will be presented as Photo: Rankin. a bilingual performance with a specially commissioned English script, freely translated from the Italian Libretto by June Chichester, sitting alongside the magnificent Italian arias. The English script will be narrated by Joanna Lumley (pictured) and the arias performed by La Nuova Musica. A plot thick with twists and turns, fairies and wild beasts, the drama of Handel’s score will be brought to life by a cast including Lucy Crowe, Patrick Terry, Madeleine Shaw, Rebecca Bottone, Christopher Turner and William Berger LONDON MOZART PLAYERS PIANO EXPLORED CONCERT SERIES London Mozart Players’ 70th birthday season continues with the December concert (12 December, 13.05) in the acclaimed Piano Explored lunchtime series at St John’s Smith Square in the heart of Westminster. In a whistle-stop hour, Conductor Laureate and soloist Howard Shelley will lead the orchestra in his engaging repertoire deconstructions, followed by a performance of the work in question, this time joined by LMP musicians performing double and triple concerti alongside him at the piano. This concert sees two pieces examined by Howard Shelley: Finzi Eclogue and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola. Finzi’s Eclogue brilliantly balances a flowing piano part with a simple yet rich string accompaniment. Howard Shelley leads from the piano accompanied by the string sections of the London Mozart Players in this beautiful and popular piece. The delightful Sinfonia Concertante is a Mozart favourite for many, and displays Mozart’s love of the viola, particularly in the Andante, when the dialogue between soloists is simply ravishing. These lively and popular lunchtime concerts are perfect for London daytrippers or workers – truly ‘the best lunch-break you’ve ever had’ (International Piano). As it’s the final Piano Explored concert before the festive season kicks off, there will be a massive Christmas cake to share with the audience. Unmissable! For tickets, telephone 020 7222 1061. 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

CHRISTMAS MUSIC BY CANDLELIGHT WITH EX CATHEDRA Ex Cathedra, a leading UK choir, will be performing its annual Christmas Music by Candlelight concert at the St John’s Smith Square Christmas Festival on Thursday 13 December (19.30). This deeply atmospheric concert is aimed at the heart of Christmas. Muchloved favourites, little-known gems and stunning new works are accompanied by a selection of readings, which together capture the meaning, and humour, of the season. The programme this year includes such favourites as Away in a manger and Morten Lauridsen’s O magnum mysterium – one of 13 living composers represented. There will be music from the French Baroque, Latin America, and much more. Each piece connects to those around it, creating an uninterrupted sequence and narrative. The choir uses the space imaginatively, sometimes surrounding the audience, and the concert concludes with an audience hymn. As a concertgoer wrote last year: ‘Christmas Music by Candlelight is to be transported to another place, timeless, almost unbearably beautiful, intense and joyously uplifting! Christmas begins here.’ Founded in 1969 by Jeffrey Skidmore, Ex Cathedra is known for its passion for seeking out the best, the unfamiliar and the unexpected in the choral repertoire and for its dynamic performances. Tickets are available at 020 7222 1061. FISHER STEVENS MAKES WEST END DEBUT IN A BEAUTIFUL NOISE Award-winning Fisher Stevens will make his West End debut in ‘A Beautiful Noise’ celebrating the life and music of Neil Diamond from the producers of Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre on Monday 11 February. ‘What a beautiful noise / Comin’ up from the street / Got a beautiful sound / It’s got a beautiful beat’... these lyrics from his 1976 hit song, A Beautiful Noise, underscore more than any others the evergreen appeal of Neil Diamond, a performer, songwriter and entertainer whose name will echo down through the ages. Though he has declared his touring days over, Neil Diamond’s star will burn forever. Featuring a live band, including a brass section and backing singers, A Beautiful Noise is now the best way for UK audiences to enjoy his wonderful songs in a live theatre setting. Over half a century since the first hit single from an artist that has sold over 100 million albums, A Beautiful Noise is a joyful celebration of Neil Diamond‘s music, delivered with an assured virtuosity by Fisher Stevens to the standard and scale that these timeless songs deserve. Fisher and his sensational band journey through five decades of Diamond’s biggest hits including Brooklyn Roads, Heartlight, September Morn, Hello Again, Longfellow Serenade, Love on the Rocks and He Ain’t Heavy. Box office telephone 0330 333 4812. www.flyingmusic.com 11 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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