Europe Day Concert

You are invited to the annual Europe Day Concert which will be broadcast from St John’s Smith Square on Sunday 9 May at 12pm UK time.  

Current government guidelines prevent the organisers from welcoming guests to St John’s in person. They hope, however, you will join them virtually together with your friends, family and anyone else to whom you would like to extend their invitation.

The theme of the concert is ‘Journeys’, both earthbound and spiritual.

With Portugal currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council, we celebrate that maritime nation. We also pay homage to the ultimate literary journey, The Divine Comedy of Dante, whose 700th anniversary we mark this year. Top Portuguese lyric tenor Luis Gomes takes us from ‘Inferno’ – the word which begins an aria from Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra  about the seafaring Genovese people – to ‘Purgatorio’ in the possibility of exile envisaged by Benjamin Godard’s  Dante in an operatic rarity of 1890, and finally heavenwards with da Gama’s ‘O paradis’ in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine.

Orchestrally, we celebrate a hunt through fantastical woods in the ‘All’Ouvertura’ from Sibelius’s second set of  Scènes Historiques , then ocean journeys in Mendelssohn’s  Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and the poignant quotation of it in Elgar’s thirteenth ‘Enigma Variation’, plus a rarity – the UK premiere of 99-year-old Estonian composer Ester Mägi’s The Sea . A train ride is succinctly and humorously etched in a Johann Strauss polka, and locomotive loving Dvořák evokes the other side of the pond in the finale of his Ninth Symphony, ‘From the New World’. The outstanding performances of Jonathan Bloxham and his  Northern Chords Festival Orchestra  of young and established professionals in the past three Europe Day Concerts guarantee a concert of the highest order.

This year we are partnering with the Embassy of Portugal in the UK,  the Camōes Institute and the Delegation of the European Union in the UK.

You can watch the concert by going to our dedicated Europe Day page:

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