Ian Bostridge, tenor
Saskia Giorgini, piano
19 November 2021 – 8pm
Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Benjamin Britten
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“Music before anything else” wrote Verlaine, advice which Ian Bostridge initially did not heed. He first completed a D. Phil at Oxford in the history of science only turning to music at the age of 27 and never going back. On the opera stage, Ian Bostridge naturally excells at the modern English-language repertoire, such as his Aschenbach in the 2019 Deutsche Oper Berlin production of Death in Venice. For some years now, he has focused his performance skills on recitals, concerts and oratorios, along with an abundant literary and intellectual activity and has been the recipient of numerous academic and civil honours. Ian Bostridge’s recital this season at the Grand Théâtre comes 18 years after his début — and only — performance of Schubert on our recital stage, which is a very long time to be deprived of such an accomplished artist. For this recital, Ian Bostridge has chosen the two cycles of Debussy’s Fêtes galantes, set to the poems of Verlaine and the perfect expression of the injunction quoted above, which begins his Art poétique, from the rhythm of the verse to the musical play with the words them-selves. The three languid songs of Ravel’s Shéhérazade will end the first, French, half of the recital which then crosses the Channel. Winter Words (1953) is a song cycle by Benjamin Britten, set to poems by Thomas Hardy, full of Britten’s life-long obsession with the loss of innocence when one first attains consciousness and begins the inevitable journey towards old age and death.
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