Friday 7th June saw the opening of the 2013 Aldeburgh Spring Festival, displaying a host of Askonas Holt artists in this Britten centenary year in the town which is synonymous with the composer.
Appearing in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in her Festival debut, Sophie Bevan sang Britten’s Les Illuminations with the Britten Sinfonia and Ryan Wigglesworth, to huge critical acclaim. The Guardian said that she “…brought ravishing vocal colours and a strong interpretive sensibility to the cycle, with both nonchalance and perceptiveness in equal measure.”.
Sarah Connolly, taking a break from rehearsals at Glyndebourne, made her Aldeburgh recital debut with Malcolm Martineau, a favourite of the festival.
Iestyn Davies will make his second visit to Aldeburgh in as many months, presenting a recital a Dowland’s music with the viol consort Phantasm hot on the heels of a rare staged performance of Britten’s Canticles also featuring Ian Bostridge.
Ian Bostridge will use his wealth of experience in the idiom to lead masterclasses of Britten’s songs performed alongside the new English songs they have inspired.
To launch the festival, Alan Oke made his role debut as the eponymous anti-hero in Peter Grimes which also featured Catherine Wyn-Rogers giving her definitive portrayal of Mrs Sedley and Robert Murray, a regular performer of Britten at the Festival, as Bob Boles. The production, its premiere at the Festival, appeared first in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, before transferring to the very beach which inspired the work. This innovative staging has been received wonderfully, with Alan Oke’s portrayal of Peter Grimes lauded: “Alan Oke seems to inhabit whatever role he plays with total assurance and credibility and his portrayal of Grimes is unambiguous: this is not the wronged outsider, a misunderstood dreamer, but an unremarkable-looking man profoundly at odds with himself, capable of terrifyingly violent mood swings.”.
These wonderful range of appearances will only serve to whet the appetite for the forthcoming performances of Askonas Holt artists in the Snape Proms in August and the November centenary focus!