Opera buffs! Get excited!
And those two operas in full: Venus and Adonis by John Blow and Come, ye Sons of Art by Henry Purcell, performed by the Dunedin Consort under music director John Butt. Composed around 1683, Blow’s masterpiece is considered the very first English opera. In overall form it owes much to the French operas of the period, especially those of Jean-Baptise Lully, and the story is based on the classical myth of Venus and Adonis – which, fact fans, was also the basis for Shakespeare’s poem Venus and Adonis, as well as Ovid’s poem of the same name in his Metamorphoses. It’s being paired at these concerts with Purcell’s much-loved baroque piece. Penned not long after Venus and Adonis – in 1684 – Come, ye Sons of Art was one of a series of odes written in honour of the birthday of Queen Mary II (it’s sometimes known as Ode for Queen Mary’s Birthday) and its text is often attributed to Nathum Tate, who was the poet laureate at the time. Samling produces a biennial opera for its academy students and they continue to provide invaluable and much needed performance experience for these talented north-east singers, as well as giving audiences a real treat. And treats really don’t come any better than this double bill so fill your boots.
Samling Opera Academy: Venus and Adonis + Come, ye Sons of Art: Friday 20 July, The Witham, Barnard Castle, 7.30pm, £15 (£10 under 25s and student) thewitham.org.uk; Thursday 26 & Friday 27 July, Sage Two, Sage Gateshead, 7.30pm, £18 (concessions available). sagegateshead.com. More info: samling.org.uk