Anna takes part in this year’s annual Europe Day concert which will be livestreamed from St John’s, Smith Square, on Sunday, 9th May. The theme of the concert is ‘Journeys’, both earth-bound and spiritual.
With Portugal currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council, we celebrate that maritime nation. We also pay homage to the ultimate literary journey, The Divine Comedy of Dante, whose 700th anniversary we mark this year. Top Portuguese lyric tenor Luis Gomes takes us from ‘Inferno’ – the word which begins an aria from Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra about the seafaring Genovese people – to ‘Purgatorio’ in the possibility of exile envisaged by Benjamin Godard’s Dante in an operatic rarity of 1890, and finally heavenwards with da Gama’s ‘O paradis’ in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine.
Orchestrally, we celebrate a hunt through fantastical woods in the ‘All’Ouvertura’ from Sibelius’s second set of Scènes Historiques, then ocean journeys in Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and the poignant quotation of it in Elgar’s thirteenth ‘Enigma Variation’, plus a rarity – the UK premiere of 99-year-old Estonian composer Ester Mägi’s The Sea. A train ride is succinctly and humorously etched in a Johann Strauss polka, and locomotive loving Dvořák evokes the other side of the pond in the finale of his Ninth Symphony, ‘From the New World’. The outstanding performances of Jonathan Bloxham and his Northern Chords Festival Orchestra of young and established professionals in the past three Europe Day Concerts guarantee a concert of the highest order.
Although this event is now past, you can still follow the livestream link to listen to the concert online.