Britten’s Phaedra, Gorecki, Handel and Vivaldi


Benjamin Britten’s final vocal work, the dramatic cantata Phaedra, Op.93, for mezzo-soprano and small orchestra, Handel’s cantata Lucrezia, Gorecki’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings and two trio sonatas for two violins by Handel and Vivaldi are all in the line up in a performance conducted by Sarah Penicka-Smith featuring award-winning soprano Hester Hannah and early music ensemble Thoroughbass directed by harpsichordist Diana Weston.

Hester Hannah describes Britten’s Phaedra as “emotionally taut…charting Phaedra’s journey from innocence to sexual awakening, madness, despair and final resolution.” The cantata was dedicated to Dame Janet Baker who gave the cantata its world premiere at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1976.

The lacerating strings and ominous percussive sounds of the orchestration portray Phaedra’s riven soul as forcefully as her words. This concert promises a journey to the twisted machinations of a soul in torment. 

No less intense is Handel’s cantata Lucrezia, written in the flush of his youth and power as a new force in music. 

Gorecki’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings is a raw and demanding piece, obsessively reiterating its driving motif without any resolution. Ugly, fanatical but totally captivating.

Trio sonatas for two violins by Handel and Vivaldi provide a stark contrast and relief to these deeply profound works. 

Tickets: Adult – $40  Concession – $37 General admission

Book online:

Enquiries: ph. 0411 375 821


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