Yesterday evening I was at the Barbican for two events in one - an opportunity for friends, colleagues, and the musical world at large, to remember with affection and respect Andrew Porter who died in April at 86, and a semi-staged performance of Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'ulisse in patria.
Andrew first - during his long life he enriched the musical world with his passion as well as his scholarship, his sensibility and his sensitivity. I first met him a mere 53 years ago - last evening there were friends and colleagues going back much longer. Jeremy Noble, David Cairns, Diana McVeigh, Jeremy and Gillian Isaacs, Christopher Hunt and many many others came to remember this unique spirit. And we were grateful to Nick Kenyon and John Allison for organising this event, and to Nick for having hit the mark so well in his tribute to Andrew.
And what a special treat it was to see Diana Bradshaw there with her son James, Andrew's Godson. And here in this photo by Tannis Toohy you have Andrew rehearsing the Zauberflöte which he directed in Toronto in 2005 at the invitation of the late Richard Bradshaw, the Canadian Opera Company's General Director.
The concert provided a welcome opportunity to hear Ulisse, now it appears less performed around the world than Poppea and Orfeo. In the title role was the peerless Ian Bostridge, deeply inhabiting the role as only an artist of his supreme quality can do. It would not be immediately obvious casting, but, my goodness, it was a success. So good for the Academy of Ancient Music and their Music Director Richard Egarr, for giving us this opportunity. He was supported in major and minor roles by a tremendous galaxy of singers young and not so young, including Alexander Oliver as Iro, a role he sang in the famous Peter Hall production at Glyndebourne in 1972! And he sounded as fresh as ever - remarkable. In addition Sandy shared the staging credits with Tim Nelson.
More opera tomorrow - the long awaited English Touring Opera production of Pelléas et Mélisande.