Tenor Dan Norman

It’s not going to be such a quiet Easter after all thanks to the plentiful musical goodies to enjoy online. 

Oxford Bach Soloists

Our top pick for Good Friday is Oxford Bach Soloists’ St John Passion. Episode 1 begins this Friday, which you can catch on YouTube at 3pm.

Roderick Williams

This Bach favourite was recorded in isolation by the OBS singers, in collaboration with production company Positive Note, and features a stellar principal line-up including tenor Daniel Norman as the Evangelist, baritone Roderick Williams as Jesus and baritone Christopher Purves as Pilate.

Follow the OBS on social media for updates on the next episodes – www.facebook.com/oxfordbachsoloists/ or on Twitter @OxfordBach.

Baritone Christopher Purves

If you were looking forward to the Easter Oratorio on Saturday, head over to the OBS website (www.oxfordbachsoloists.com/videos) and watch a live recording of last year’s performance in New College Chapel. 

Join in with The Self-Isolation Choir

If you fancy doing some singing yourself – a great way of boosting your well-being during these tough times – then join The Self-Isolation Choir and enjoy rehearsing for a virtual performance of Messiah on 31st May, complete with professional instrumentalists and soloists.

The choir was set up on 20th March, and this first event, The Messiah at Home, is being presented in association with Choraline (www.choraline.com).

Weekly rehearsals are held via the choir’s YouTube channel and include full choir rehearsals and separate voice part rehearsals, all with choral director Ben England. 

Rehearsals have already started, but you can join in at any time as the weekly rehearsals are still available for catchup online.

Head to the choir’s website at www.theselfisolationchoir.com to register, and you will be given full joining instructions. Once you have signed up, you will receive access to free vocal scores, links to ChoraLine’s recordings and more, and there are lots of tips on learning your part on the ChoraLine website. 

And if singing is not for you – well, tune in to the Messiah on 31st May and just sit back and enjoy the performance from the comfort of your sofa!

More Messiah with the OSJ

If you’re thinking of joining The Messiah at Home, get some inspiration from this particularly lovely performance by the Orchestra of St John’s on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us9aygrbsls.

Recorded at St John’s Smith Square, London, in March 2016, this performance features conductor John Lubbock’s acclaimed re-orchestration for wind orchestra. The soloists are Nardus Williams (soprano), Roderic Morris (countertenor), Christopher Turner (tenor) and Bozidar Smiljanic (bass), and they are joined by the OSJ Voices and the Orchestra of St John’s.

Get motivated with Garsington Opera

Get fit and have fun with Garsington Opera’s new #MondayMotivation digital project, a weekly 20-minute workshop of singing, moving and motivation for all ages led by Karen Gillingham, Director of Garsington’s Learning and Participation Programme, with composer Hannah Conway and choreographer Natasha Khamjani. Budding creatives can also have a go at the weekly design challenge.

Karen Gillingham, Natalya Romaniw, Hannah Conway and Natasha Khamjani during one of the song warm-ups.

This wonderful initiative launched on 23rd March, attracted 60,000 viewers to the first livestreaming, and has so far featured special guests Joshua Bloom (baritone) and Natalya Romaniw (soprano) singing from The Marriage of Figaroand Rusalka.

Tune in at 10am every Monday at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3xcPTjcoxE orhttps://www.facebook.com/GarsingtonOpera/, where you can also catch up with the earlier workshops.

Also, a reminder that Garsington’s 2019 production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride is available to watch at https://www.garsingtonopera.org/news/watch-bartered-bride-online until May, and the 2017 production of The Marriage of Figaro is available on the OperaVision website at https://operavision.eu/en/library/auffuhrungen/opern/marriage-figaro-garsington-opera until 25th September.

Relax with the Oxford Philharmonic

Finally, grab a glass of wine, settle yourself on your sofa and enjoy this performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.1 in C major by the Oxford Philharmonic: https://www.oxfordphil.com/concert-performance/stream-the-opo-performance-of-beethoven-s-symphony-no-1.

Don’t forget to raise your glass to the great man – after all, we were supposed to be celebrating his birthday this year! Let’s hope there will still be time to let off a few party poppers later in the year.

NICOLA LISLE

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