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Performance: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – BBC Radio 3’s In Tune featuring Iestyn Davies and John Williams

2:21, 26th January 2015

On Friday 23 January, BBC Radio 3’s In Tune with Sean Rafferty was broadcast live from the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe. The new indoor Jacobean theatre, completed last year and now running its second season of winter productions and events, was sparkling in its beeswax candlelight as a number of respected guests, actors and musicians took the stage to perform.

The programme opened with an impressive performance from students of the Royal Academy of Music’s historical performance course, and continued in that vein, with music on the whole originating from the period appropriate to the space. Something noticeable for the players and audience in the theatre itself but sadly lost to the radio audience is the intimate nature of the environment, and a number of performers remarked upon the pleasure of playing in the warm and captivating acoustic of what renowned guitarist John Williams described between performances as being ‘like a living room’.

Iestyn Davies gave a taste of his upcoming performance as the superstar castrato of his day in the new play Farinelli and the King, which will play at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February and March. Though beautifully accompanied it seemed a shame that a piano had been decided upon when a harpsichord would have felt so much more appropriate in so authentic a space, though Davies’ explanation about the relative warmth of the piano sound when not joined by other instruments perhaps has validity. Rafferty also spoke with Claire Van Kampen about her writing of the play, and of her compositions for the television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall, currently showing on BBC 1.

The programme is available to listen again until 21 February 2015; www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04yb7d8.

(Image credit: Benjanin Ealovega)

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