For sometime I've been looking forward to a visit to Saffron Hall which is a brand new concert hall attached to a school in Saffron Walden. So Pete and I visited last Saturday (Easter weekend) evening to listen to a production of Bach's St John Passion.
In this production, the Britten Sinfonia and the Britten Sinfonia Voices. They were joined by the countertenor Iestyn Davies (who we'd seen recently in Rodelinda at the ENO. The soprano was Julia Doyle, bass was Matthew Brook and tenors Micholas Mulroy and Jeremy Budd.
Iestyn Davies gave an excellent performance... what a haunting voice.. beautifully sung.
The individual instrumentalist were excellent especially the Viola da Gamba played by Richard Tunnicliffe and the Harpsichord.. played by Tom Foster. Not normally my favourite of instruments but on this occasion it was fitting accompaniment to Nicholas Mulroy's Evangelist.
The music and singing were excellent. I must admit that I'd been somewhat nervous as to whether I was going to fully enjoy the entire production as this was a slight deviation from the music I generally listen to. However!! It was excellent, particularly as a first introduction... but I felt that 2 1/4 hours was probably about right time for me!!
Jacqueline Shave, the lead violinist conducted the orchestra throughout.. from my humble viewpoint, no mean feat being able to play to such a very high standard and conducting at the same time!!
The Theatre, as I mentioned, is brand new... my only disappointment with the building was it didn't seem to be air-conditioned and, despite the cold outside, was very warm in the theatre.. However, the seating was some of the most comfortable I've enjoyed to date, in any theatre.
So a very successful and entertaining evening with some exellent musicians and singers.