Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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2013 Staff Highlights

Fri 31 Jan 2014


With the first month of 2014 nearly behind us, we look back at some of our concert highlights from 2013…

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TOTS Playlist – Purcell’s Fairy Queen

Fri 29 Nov 2013

© Anna D'Emilio

For those of you who’d like to delve deeper into the work of Purcell, here’s a taste of the music from his much celebrated opera Fairy Queen, featured in TOTS this weekend.

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A Souvenir from Beverley

Thu 30 May 2013

Education Director Cherry Forbes discusses her time at the Beverley Early Music Festival.

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A Northern Treat!

Tue 21 May 2013

Education Director Cherry Forbes is currently up in Beverley, working on an exciting project based on Purcell’s Fairy Queen.  Here, Cherry tells us about the first day of the project; the quirks of staying in this beautiful historic town and what to expect from the rest of the week.

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Recipe for Success: My week in Bradford on Avon

Tue 18 Oct 2011


1. Take:

A fairy queen and her feuding king
4 mixed up lovers
A mischievous sprite and a powerful love potion
Oh! and of course – a donkey’s head


2. Mix with:
8 Year 7 classes (age 11-12) – 240 in total and their very trusting, game and able music, dance and drama teachers
8 wonderful dances from Purcell’s Fairy Queen
8 colourful scenes from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream


3. Place in the Wiltshire Music Centre, two classes at a time.  Add a team of 3 OAE musicians including education director Cherry Forbes, a professional singer, and the wonderful animateur James Redwood.


4. Stir  into one class the magical creative energy of James and Hetty Wayne until you have a new song. It might be about Helena’s misery at being unloved, of Bottom’s surprise at his new head.


5. Meanwhile to another class add drops  of Shakespeare, and Purcell, with a flavour of Cherry Forbes and myself, to form narrative scenes told in drama and dance. -Thank goodness for my dance O level, of which I’m very proud, though I haven’t been able to do a full pike since!


6. When ready swap the classes over and repeat.


7. Repeat stages 4 to 6 four times from Monday to Thursday, not forgetting to add a tablespoon of singing tips from singers Carys Lane or Giles Underwood.


8. On the fifth day assemble all your new songs and narratives. Inject into the mix:

An orchestral school ensemble playing Purcell
A mixed GCSE and A level ensemble’s newly created piece using a ground bass by Purcell
5 A level dancers who have choreographed the First Music, and the Chaconne (Purcell).


9. Finally garnish with a tutti performance of ‘Hush, no more’.


10. Present your brand new, funny, magical and moving version of Fairy Queen to assembled parents and future pupils.


The hardest part of  my week: out of Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, remembering who loved who at any one time.

The highlight:  240 young voices singing Hush, No more.  Such an incredible, special sound.


Cecelia Bruggemeyer, OAE Double Bassist, at St Laurence School in September 2011

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Matthew Truscott on Wilton's

Wed 14 Jul 2010

The other week we were preparing a press release about our forthcoming Night Shift at Wilton’s Music Hall, and we asked OAE leader and

director of this performance, Matthew Truscott for a quote to go on the release. We really loved his description of the venue so thought we’d share it with you here. We’ll post some pics of the venue  here tomorrow.

“Wilton’s is a wonderful and lavishly evocative venue where the walls are imbued with the sweat and cheers of generations of Londoners. It’s perfect for The Night Shift and especially for this one where we’ll be playing music written for a London audience. Handel composed his magnificent set of Concerti Grossi down the road on Brook Street and Purcell’s Fairy Queen has in it some of England’s most vivid and sensual theatre music”

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Your reviews

Wed 5 Aug 2009

A week or two ago we asked you for your reviews of our Fairy Queen prom. I’ll be honest – we weren’t exactly indundated! But we did recieve the one below – thank you! If anyone else has comments or reviews you can comment here or email us.

I thought the OAE were impeccable, and the Carolyn Sampson plaint as perfect a collaboration as one gets.  This, and some of the other songs saved the evening.

But the production had a spineless and somewhat aimless feel – it seemed over-liberal as a guise for not really having its visionary feet on the ground.  Neither was it out and out “Music Hall”: it was too prissy for that.

I think it sadly betrayed a Mark Morris’s influence (consciously or unconsciously I don’t know) (as in King Arthur) which it failed to pull off by being merely a poor and rather messy imitation of his great style.

The bunny costume scene was really appalling. The applause it raised just sycophancy or bemusement at best.*

But we were overall very glad we went,  Thank you!

Ben Gaskell

*Editors note : Not from me – I was in tears – of laughter!

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