Opera Scotland

Venus and Adonis 2015Dunedin Consort

Read more about the opera Venus and Adonis

John Blow's Venus and Adonis is a work that defies categorisation. Sometimes thought of as a masque, others consider it the first English opera. Regardless, it is an important piece of musical drama, demonstrating the powerful fusion of music and words. Combining elements of Ovid, Shakespeare and the influences of 17th-century French opera, it creates a powerful dramatic retelling of a tale that charts the extreme states of love and grief.

The Dunedin Consort combined this with the premieres of the winning pieces from the BBC Radio 3 NCEM Young Composers Competition. In May 2015, Dunedin spent a highly rewarding day at the National Centre for Early Music in York, working with composer Christopher Fox and the shortlisted entrants, on their works inspired by Claudio Monteverdi's seminal opera L'Orfeo, and his dramatic Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. Appropriately, the latter piece opened this programme. The 18-25 Category Winner John Goldie Scot's Why are you in such a hurry? evoked the war-like energy of Tasso's text. Joshua Urben's Fractos Corde (winner of the 14-17 category) traced the pathos of the legend of Orpheus.

In all, the entire programme was a great success. Blow's opera contains plenty of fine dramatic music, set to an excellent text with varied moods - officially anonymous, this libretto has been suggested to be the work of the noted female playwright and spy Aphra Behn. It is certainly a good text that inspired Blow to produce some superb writing for soloists and chorus.

Performance DatesVenus and Adonis 2015

Map List

Mackintosh Church | Glasgow

2 Oct, 19.30

Central Hall, Tollcross | Edinburgh

3 Oct, 15.00

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