Rhinegold Guest festival director Kate Tempest

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Brighton Festival to celebrate the ‘everyday epic’

11:27, 15th February 2017

Guest director Kate Tempest has revealed the full programme for the 2017 Brighton Festival, which will take place 6-28 May.

The recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist has chosen ‘Everyday Epic’ as the theme for the event, which will celebrate ‘art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes’.

The programme for this year’s event includes a live orchestration of Tempest’s recent album Let Them Eat Chaos, produced in collaboration with Mica Levi, whose score for Under the Skin will also be performed by the London Sinfonietta.

BrightonThe Chineke! Orchestra will perform on the opening night of the festival, with Jonathon Heyward conducting a programme including Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ overture to L’Amant anonyme and Sheku Kanneh-Mason in Haydn’s first cello concerto.

Two concerts will pay tribute to Monteverdi in the composer’s 450th birthday year: I Fagiolini will be joined by the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble for a reconstruction of a Vespers service as it might have been celebrated in 1640, exploring the composer’s lesser-known sacred music, and Les Talens Lyriques with Christophe Rousset will present a performance based on Pierre Audi’s production of Madrigals for Dutch National Opera.

Other classical highlights include recitals from Paul Lewis, Sarah Connolly and Benjamin Appl, lunchtime recitals from recorder quartet Palisander, violist Timothy Ridout, Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Young Artists and the Pelléas Ensemble, and performances from the Doric String Quartet, and the London Symphony Orchestra under Nicolaj Znaider.

A performance from Britten Sinfonia will conclude the festival. The ensemble will present works by Copland before being joined by the Brighton Festival Chorus for John Adams’ Harmonium.

‘This year’s theme, Everyday Epic, seems to encapsulate some of my feelings about how music, literature and poetry can give us back our lives,’ said Tempest. ‘Singing, playing, dancing, moving, painting life and communicating about that in public spaces – it requires no qualifications, no training to enjoy it. It’s truthful communication between humans about humanity and in these times, it feels more important than ever to try and understand what that humanity is and what it could be.’

‘We are thrilled to be presenting more work across the city than ever before – much of it outdoors in a celebration of everything this city has to offer – the everyday and the epic,’ said Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Festival. ‘With new initiatives such as Your Place and the Pay-it-Forward scheme, I hope that Brighton Festival 2017 will encourage the whole city to come together to celebrate the creativity in their communities and try something new.’

At 31, Tempest is the youngest Brighton Festival guest director to date. Previous guest directors include Anish Kapoor (2009), Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), Vanessa Redgrave (2012), Michael Rosen (2013) and Laurie Anderson (2016).

Tickets for the Brighton Festival 2017 will go on sale on 24 February.


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