Bampton Classical Opera's autumn visit to London features Thomas Linley the Younger and Georg Benda
Bampton Classical Opera, based in Oxfordshire, makes one of their regular appearances at St John’s Smith Square with, perhaps, the very last celebration of the year to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Thomas Linley the Younger (1756-1778) was a precocious composer who became known as the ‘English Mozart’ and died at the age of only 22: He wrote a few Shakespeare inspired pieces of which Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare is a complete work and his masterpiece, evoking the supernatural atmospheres of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.
The second part of the concert is excerpts from Bohemian-born Georg Benda’s Romeo and Juliet; the company mounted its UK première in 2007. Benda (1722-1795) composed the first and most controversial operatic setting of the play, focusing on Juliet's relationships with her confidante Laura, her intransigent father Capulet, and Romeo, whose rash murder of Tybalt has led to his banishment. Romeo and Juliet naively hope that their marriage will bring their feuding families together but when this proves unsuccessful Juliet heeds the advice of her confessor and swallows a sleeping draught. What happens next together with additional characters in the form of wicked aunt Camilla and Romeo's servant Francesco will intrigue anyone familiar with one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.
Bampton Classical Opera’s Shakespeare concert – For who can wield like Shakespeare’s skilful hand? takes place at St John’s Smith Square, London on November 15.