Breaking news: Anti-Tory opera to open in Cheltenham

Breaking news: Anti-Tory opera to open in Cheltenham


norman lebrecht

December 21, 2010

I’ve just had a press release announcing that Mark-Anthony Turnage’s anti-Thatcher opera, Greek, is to have its first revival for ten years in the English heartland festival at Cheltenham.

I wonder what they’ll make of it in the shires.
Also on the cards is the concerto debut of wild-lad pianist, James Rhodes, and a kooky little sub-theme on the connections between maths and music from Pythagoras to Steve Reich.
Press release follows:

Cheltenham Music Festival, one of the UK’s most established and well-loved music festivals, announces its programme for 2011. The programme features top-notch performers, mainstage classics and cutting-edge contemporary music – all in a variety of stunning locations in and around this beautiful Cotswolds town.


Highlights of this year’s festival include:


  • Evelyn Glennie gives the world premiere of a new percussion concerto by Joseph Phibbs that celebrates cocktails from around the world – a cocktail shaker will inevitably be part of the proceedings!
  • From Pythagoras to the avant-garde, the Festival delves into the connections between music and maths, building on the success of the Science Festival tie-up, Sound Mind, in 2010.
  • A special percussion weekend features not just Evelyn Glennie, but Graham Fitkin’s new band Fitkin and Steve Reich’s minimalist masterpiece from 1971, Drumming, played by the Colin Currie Ensemble.
  • Other premieres include a new saxophone quartet by Gavin HigginsMartin Butler’s Nonet, Edward Rushton‘s new twist on the popular mythical story of Pandora, and a piano quartet by RPS Composition Prizewinner Charlotte Bray
  • Performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage‘s controversial debut opera Greek by Music Theatre Wales. A startling yuppy era retelling of the Oedipus story, in its first production in the UK for ten years.
  • A taste of renaissance Spain in Gloucester Cathedral with award-winning Stile Antico. Music by Victoria, Morales, Guerrero and Palestrina will mark the 400th anniversary of thedeath of composer Tomás Luis de Victoria.
  • Performances by exciting young artists including pianist James Rhodes in his concerto debut, a Dvo?ák chamber music double-bill featuring cellist Natalie Clein, and a performance from one of classical music’s hottest new properties, guitarist Milos Karadaglic.
  • Wagner, Brahms and Strauss’ Four Last Songs from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski and Amanda Roocroft, and an all-Russian programme from theBournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits and pianist Boris Giltburg.


The full programme will be announced in the spring.  More information can be found at