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Philharmonia Online: Elgar's Enigma Variations

When
Wednesday May 12, 2021 at 19:30
Available online until
Saturday August 7, 2021
Where
Online: Royal Festival Hall, London
Tickets
£10 to £20
Phone for tickets: 0800 652 6717
Phone lines open: Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 3.30pm, UK time
Book Online
No tickets "at the door"
  1. Fantasia Concertante on a theme of Corelli - Sir Michael Tippett
  2. Phaedra Op 93 - Benjamin Britten
  3. Variations on an original theme, 'Enigma' Op 36 - Sir Edward Elgar

It’s rare for John Eliot Gardiner to conduct the work of British 19th– and 20th-century composers. But it’s precisely his expertise in the music of the Baroque era that makes him an insightful pilot through this fascinating programme.

Michael Tippett’s Fantasia was composed in 1953 to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli. In Tippett’s skilled and respectful hands, a movement from a typical Corelli concerto grosso, with its contrast between a small group of string players and the whole ensemble, is transmuted into a work of timeless, lyrical radiance.

Greek myth, seen through the prism of Baroque theatre, provides the raw material for Benjamin Britten’s ‘dramatic cantata’ Phaedra. This exploration of forbidden desire – Phaedra’s deadly infatuation with her stepson Hippolytus – compresses all the emotional intensity of an opera into a fifteen-minute span. Alice Coote, ‘the superlative British mezzo’ (San Francisco Chronicle), sings the title role.

Variations on a theme have been around since the Baroque era too, but most composers begin by stating their theme clearly. Not so Elgar, who has kept us guessing at his ‘Enigma’ for over a century. His memorable musical portraits of his wife, colleagues and friends – and in particular the solemn and majestic ‘Nimrod’, representing his publisher – are a firm favourite for countless listeners.

Filmed as live at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre

Capture date: Sunday 18 April 2021

How to watch: You will receive an email with the watch link shortly before the performance.


Venue
Online: Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road
London
London
SE1 8XX
England
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