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Berenice at Covent Garden and Barbara Hannigan at the Barbican—the best classical and opera in March 2019

Plus Gidon Kremer at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham

By Alexandra Coghlan   March 2019
Barbara Hannigan © Mark Allan

Barbara Hannigan © Mark Allan

Berenice, Royal Opera, 27th March to 7th April

The newly reopened Linbury Theatre at Covent Garden is a gem of a space. Intimate (it seats just 400) but acoustically satisfying, it is perfect for the baroque repertoire. Along with the London Handel Festival the ROH offer a rare staging of Handel’s Berenice. A story of warring ancient nations, the action is set to some superb tunes, and pivots around two of the composer’s most intriguingly drawn female characters. A new production by Adele Thomas promises to bring out the work’s theatricality. Period expert Laurence Cummings conducts an enticing cast, led by soprano Claire Booth in the title role.


Gidon Kremer & CBSO play Weinberg, Symphony Hall Birmingham, 31st March

Praised by Shostakovich as “one of the most outstanding composers” of his day, Mieczyslaw Weinberg has more recently been described as “the greatest composer you’ve never heard of.” In this centenary year there will be plenty of chances to hear his work but few will be as enticing as this one from Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla and the CBSO. Gidon Kremer is the starry soloist in the composer’s virtuosic Violin Concerto. Also included is music from Weinberg’s attractive ballet The Golden Key.


Barbara Hannigan & LSO, Barbican, 7th March

As if a career as the finest contemporary soprano of her generation wasn’t enough, Barbara Hannigan (below) has recently turned to conducting. Here she combines both in a typically eclectic programme with the LSO—the final concert in her Artist Portrait series. Repertoire ranging from Berg to Haydn, Gershwin and Ligeti should make for an exhilarating evening, and you’d be mad to miss this account of the suite from Berg’s opera Lulu, whose title role Hannigan has made her own.


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