LARGEST UK CELEBRATION OF MUSIC BY FEMALE COMPOSERS OF THE PAST
23 October – 8 November 2015
“Arguably the best showcase of early music in the country” – Classical Music / Early Music Today
This year’s Brighton Early Music Festival is celebrating WOMEN – as composers, performers, inspirational characters, muses and symbols, and includes the largest UK celebration of historical women composers.
The main Festival runs from Friday 23 October to Sunday 8 November in an eclectic range of venues spread across Brighton & Hove, but before that pre-festival events and workshops run from mid-September. Participatory events have always been an important part of BREMF, and this year members of the public have the chance to take part in an open workshop with Belinda Sykes of Joglaresa, listen to young vocal ensembles being coached by Eamonn Dougan of The Sixteen, and attend an event featuring female singer-songwriters past and present.
The Festival mainly runs across three weekends and highlights of the first weekend (23 – 25 Oct) include women’s songs from ancient Arabic, Jewish and Christian traditions with Joglaresa; newly discovered music attributed to Suor Leonora d’Este, the daughter of Lucrezia Borgia; and a dramatic retelling of the life and music of Hildegard of Bingen, with Niamh Cusack as Hildegard.
The second weekend (30 Oct – 1 Nov) opens with the Orlando Consort’s ‘Voices Appeared’, which marries the classic 1928 Carl Theodor Dreyer silent film ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’ with live medieval music from the period of Joan’s life. The music continues with the London Handel Players, with Laurence Cummings (director) and Ruby Hughes (soprano) in a concert featuring works by Baroque composer Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, before finishing with a programme in which Clare Wilkinson joins the BREMF Consort of Voices for 17th Century works by Margarita Cozzolani, Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi.
The Festival culminates (4 – 8 Nov) with a new production of the earliest opera by a woman composer – Francesca Caccini’s ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina’ (1625), directed by Susannah Waters, with a cast headed by Anna Devin, Denis Lakey and Nick Pritchard. The final week also includes an appearance by the Festival’s patron Emma Kirkby and lutenist Jakob Lindberg; and The Carnival Band in a raucous evening on women as depicted in broadsheet ballads of the 17th Century, followed the next morning by two concerts for families.
The Festival is committed to increasing access, and for the second year is offering restricted view or standing Prom tickets to most events for just £5. Under 12s attend for free when accompanied by an adult, and anyone aged 12-25, over-60 or in receipt of state benefits is entitled to the discounted concessionary price. For full concert listings see www.bremf.org.uk