"Music is the glorious escape, from all that would burden me. The world stops." Anon
There is nothing better than leaving the cold, grey day outside and spending an hour or so lost in the sound of some of the most hauntingly beautiful music ever composed. Whether you are a connoisseur, just enjoy the occasional dabble or are a complete newcomer to the world of classical music, there is sure to be a performance at Fairfield Halls in Croydon this month to delight you.
For a lunchtime escape on Tuesday 7th February, award-winning Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna will be performing some of the works of JS Bach, Mendellsohn and more as his reputation for excellence continues to grow. This young maestro has performed with both the London Philharmonic and Halle Orchestra, and his life and career has been the subject of a documentary shown on BBC4.
On the 8th February at 7.30pm, Fairfield Concert Hall in Croydon plays host to a Grand Opera Gala featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Britain’s best loved soprano, Lesley Garrett CBE. As well as possessing one of the finest voices currently performing in the opera arena, Lesley has successfully 'de-mystified' the genre with her down to earth personality and humour displayed through her many TV appearances, from Comic Relief to her stint as a Loose Woman. The evening’s extravaganza promises spellbinding performances, including the works of Puccini, Mozart, Verdi and Wagner.
On the 9th, 10th and 11th February, Surrey Opera stages the World Premier of Samuel Coleridge-Taylors opera Thelma. This long thought lost work, in the true tradition of opera, is a saga of deceit and retribution, a triumph of love over evil. Surrey Opera's Artistic Director Jonathan Butcher will conduct professional soloists and orchestra with the Surrey Opera Chorus at The Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon where this talented composer lived and worked until his untimely death aged only 37.
Alternatively, join the Tango Fiesta on the evening of the 11th and enjoy an exciting concert of uplifting Latin-American music, with a show culminating in a dramatic arrangement of the now iconic Ravel's Bolero. Witness the skills of top Tango Dancers, Russian cellist Liubov Ulybysheva and the vibrancy of the Sambadrome Drummers. Expect to hear Gershwin, Bernstein's West Side Story and Piazzolla's Grand Tango and Libertango. I guarantee you will leave the venue tapping your toes and swivelling your hips!
Another lunchtime performance takes place on the 14th February, and no doubt love will be in the air as pianists James and Philippa Willshire treat us to the delights of Elgar's Salut D'Amour, Gershwin's Three Preludes, Strauss's Blue Danube and much more.
Far from being a 'high brow' niche genre, this variety of performances proves that classical music takes many forms, can be relaxing and therapeutic or vibrant and uplifting. If you've never experienced it beyond catching Land of Hope and Glory on BBC2's Last Night of the Proms, then come along to Fairfield Halls in Croydon and you are very likely to find yourself hooked on classics!
Ticket and booking details for these events can be found via the Fairfield Halls website.