Last week’s two-night run of Sacrifices, by Vignette Productions and La Nuova Musica, directed by Andrew Staples, has this week been praised in its reviews in the press. The modern setting and simplicity of direction was seen as ‘wholly appropriate’ to the intricate works of Charpentier and Carissimi, praise indeed for Andrew’s work (Exeunt Magazine).
Sacrifices was performed in Shoreditch Town Hall, as part of the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, a venue which was ‘resonant enough to fill out the sound without swamping it’, an important factor for such a dark yet moving performance (The Evening Standard).
The Evening Standard celebrated La Nuova Musica for providing musicality and colour ‘of often heartbreaking poignancy’, whilst uplifting all of the performers and musicians as ‘exquisite’.
The direction by Andrew, ‘a fine tenor branching into theatre direction’ (The Times) was commended for drawing ‘poingnant, assured performances from the young actors and singers’, also noting the skill with which they performed the difficult polyphony entirely from memory. The Times also individually celebrated the soprano Sophie Junker for her performance of Jephte’s Daughter in the Carissimi work, in particular the ‘touchingly sung’ lament before she is tragically sacrificed; whilst Exeunt Magazine noted Sophie’s fellow soprano Augusta Hebbert for being both confident and engaging.
Andrew’s triumphant work at Spitalfields was applauded as a whole, with the ‘clever linking’ of the two works bringing them up to date and making them relevant to today’s society, in an ultimate portrayal that, even now, Sacrifice can ultimately never be evaded (The Times).
La Nuova Musica in Rehearsal at Shoreditch Town Hall
Speaking on BBC3’s In Tune, David Bates, conductor of La Nuova Musica, lent the “cool aspect” of this modern production to Staples’ directing, due to the “layers” and “visual aspect” of the Spitalfields performance. Suzy Klein of In Tune noted that this performance will bring the works of Charpentier and Carissimi “into our own time”.
‘Sacrifices’ is performed in the Shoreditch Town Hall on the 14th and 15th June from 8pm – 10pm. Tickets are available here.
Listen to the full BBC3 In Tune interview and performances by La Nuova Musica here.
Vignette Productions and La Nuova Musica have revealed a teaser video of ‘Sacrifices’, their upcoming staging of two middle Baroque oratorios – the video hints at what spectators can expect at the Spitalfields Music Festival on the 14th and 15th of June, taking place in Shoreditch Town Hall.
The Director of the project is renowned tenor Andrew Staples who is aiming to present the ‘two achingly beautiful oratorios’ in a performance that will be both exciting and cutting edge: combining actors, singers, musicians, video and sound design, and lighting.
The Youtube teaser gives a glimpse of the uniqueness of this work and hints at how Sacrifices will explore the concepts of the two works and how they are relevant today. The oratorios use ancient biblical texts concerned with the sacrifice of children in the name of faith and honour, yet by peeling away the anaesthetising layers of historical context, it can be seen that these acts of belief-fuelled cruelty are still present in our world. The performance will examine the impact of a struggle between personal belief and its place in an evolving society.
For this year’s Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, Andrew Staples, with his company Vignette Productions, will be presenting a new staging of two trailblazing oratorios on the theme of Sacrifice.
‘Sacrifices’ sees Vignette collaborate with La Nuova Musica and their conductor David Bates for concerts on 14th and 15th June. It is focusing on two early oratorios: Carissimi’s Jephte and Charpetentier’s Sacrificium. The piece evolves from the questions of faith and ritual and what it is to sacrifice.
Click here to read David Bates’ interview with the BBC Music Magazine and visit the Spitalfields Music website for more information.