“Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin returns to Milton Court with the BBC Singers in a programme of early French music with a twist … joined by dynamic South Asian dance company Akademi for a vibrant and contemporary interpretation of Rameau.” [BBC Radio 3 website]
In convertendo Dominus
Selections from Les Indes galantes, Les fêtes d’Hébé, Castor et Pollux
Academy of Ancient Music
Dancers from Akademi [Sanskriti UK & Ankh Dance]
Reviewed by: Amanda-Jane Doran
Reviewed: 19 October, 2018
Venue: Milton Court Concert Hall, London
An intriguing and colourful juxtaposition of music and dance styles, this combination of Indian classical dance with Baroque vocal music was inspired by the collaboration of the BBC Singers in Sukanya, Ravi Shankar’s opera.
The first half of the concert opened with Lully’s Te Deum to set the elegant, ceremonial tone of the French court in the seventeenth-century with this rather martial, grand setting. Drums and trumpets vied with the vocal soloists and chorus to outdo each other in a bright and dramatic rendition. Tenor Chris Bowen and bass Michael Bundy shaped the narrative with verve, but the overwhelming impression was elaborate pomp.
Rameau’s In convertendo Dominus followed, a gorgeous eighteenth-century confection, highly theatrical with lovely detailing from flute and bassoon. The BBC Singers let joyful rip here, in refined and technically expert fashion, changes in mood and spiritual tone captured with entirely unforced flourishes.
The focus shifted to Rameau’s operas. The dancers’ technical grace and expressivity complimented the orchestral writing and the lovely communicative singing, whether from solo or corporate Singers. The dancers mesmerised and charmed throughout, their movements magically integrated with Rameau’s compelling scores. The dancers from Ankh took pride of place in white robes for Castor et Pollux; like the Three Graces they twirled and gracefully stamped as the chorus described a landscape of ghosts and monsters. Overall, Sofi Jeannin staged an intoxicating and memorable cultural and artistic fusion with subtle presence and aplomb, and the BBC Singers and the Academy of Ancient Music were resourceful, powerful and delicate.
- Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 (available on BBC iPlayer for thirty days afterwards)
- OAE dance