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Baroque by Candlelight in Shrewsbury
08 Oct 2015
by Rhea Alton

It was my first experience of heading into town on the dark Winter nights as I ventured out to see Baroque by Candlelight at Theatre Severn.

I really enjoy watching opera and when I spotted this on the Theatre Severn line-up for 2015 I was eager to see it.

When I review opera my reviews are always a little different from the norm – and in true form I cannot go into
detail about the dissonant and chromatic work of Bach or whether the Handel opera arias flowed in the way they should (according to the critics).

At the same time as I booked tickets for Baroque I also booked tickets for Tree-Fu Tom so not all my viewing pleasure is critically acclaimed!

The night opened with the European Baroque Ensemble performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto in G Minor, First Movement and the audience were immediately enthralled by the work of these musicians.

Somebody once said to me that they loved to hear people making instruments sing and the violins sang in the Theatre Severn auditorium on this night.

It was jaw-dropping for me and I was so into the music I was almost surprised when the first soloist appeared.
Baroque by Candlelight features soloists from leading opera companies and they were fantastic at illustrating the mood and events surrounding the piece being played – especially when it came to arias involving angry wives!

A number of the pieces performed in the two acts – which included Handel’s Prendi da questo mano, Ariodante, Bach’s Betrachte mein Seel, St John’s Passion, and Vivaldi’s Agitate da due venti, La Griselda – were given an introduction explaining the plot of the opera and what was happening at the point of this song. For someone like me this was very much welcomed and it would have been great to have had more such introductions.

My favourite is always Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and I needed no introductions to that being performed. Seeing it played this close up and by such talented musicians was a real joy.

I left with my opera tastebuds satisfied and with Theatre Severn pulling out all the stops at the beginning of 2016 and putting on three amazing nights of opera before the middle of March it won’t be long before I am back in the seats once again.

Carmen returns to the Shrewsbury theatre on January 31st, Dido and Aeneas and Stabat Mater will be shown on February 14th and the fabulous Madame Butterfly will be on the stage on March 4th. See you there!