Tag Archives: Hostry Festival

Lady Macbeth

(reviewed at the Hostry Festival, Norwich on 24 October)

This solo operatic cantata by Kenneth Ian Hÿtch takes the words spoken by Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy and weaves them into a tonal but uncompromisingly modern examination of a woman with ambitions who ultimately fails because she finds herself able to initiate but not to execute.

It requires a singing actress, which is what Lisa Cassidy shows herself to be, managing the coloratura and bravura passages (notably in the banqueting scene) as well as the guilt expressed in the repeated “The Thane of Fife had a wife” from the sleep-walking scene which Hÿtch sets to a quasi folk tune which haunts the listener well after the conclusion of the piece.

Pianist William Fergusson and violinist Elizabeth Marjoram accompany Cassidy as – black-robed and variously mantled and crowned (with thorn-like spikes) – she demonstrates her love for her husband (a fur-collared cloak thrown over the back of a throne-like chair) and writhes both vocally and physically in a tortured torrent of impotence; she can take no action herself.

The promotional image for Lady Macbeth is the famous Sargent painting of Ellen Terry in the rôle, robed in Byzantine splendour and holding the crown aloft. Cassidy also holds the crown but shows that Lady Macbeth’s grasp is altogether less secure. it would be interesting to see and hear Cassidy in the Verdi Macbeth opera – the 1865 revision rather than the 1847 version.

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Filed under Opera, Reviews 2015

The 2015 Norfolk Arts Awards

In its fifth year, the Norfolk Arts Awards attracts both sponsorship and public interest, demonstrated by over 6,500 votes being cast in the three categories of the Eastern Daily Press People’s Choice Awards. The gala presentation event at the Maddermarket Theatre on 19 September marks the start of this year’s Hostry Festival (19 to 31 October), the fruitful brainchild of Peter Barrow and Stash Kirkbride, which is based around Norwich Cathedral.

For each award, three individuals or organisations are short-listed and have their chance to explain their operations through a short film. This year the Theatre Award goes to Sewell Barn Theatre, a new community arts venue on the northern outskirts of the city. The runners-up are the RSC production of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, which had visited the Theatre Royal last autumn and the Cromer Pier shows at the Pavilion Theatre, a seaside tradition going back to the beginning of the 20th century.

The Dr Frank Bates Musical Theatre and Dance Award, commemorating a long-serving cathedral organist, goes to the Norwich Arts Centre which was a category winner in 2014 and also picks up the People’s Choice Award for smaller scale venues, organisations and projects in competition with Frozen Light Theatre and the Diss Corn Hall. Break Charity’s GoGo project (dragons were the 2015 theme) is the winner, with the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and the Norwich Theatre Royal the runners-up. GoGoDragons also scoops the Lifetime Contribution to the Arts Award.

Individual artists receiving due recognition are Matt Reeve, one of the GoGoDragons designers, in the Eastern Daily Press People’s Choice, Grace Leeder who wins the Peter Barrow bursary to facilitate her ambition to attend drama college and Caroline Flack for her work outside as well as within the county; she wins the new Norfolk Icon Award. Brewery Adnams, which sponsor and supports festivals and theatre in Suffolk and Norfolk wins the Business and the Arts Award; the 20-year old Norwich Print Fair gains the Hy Kurzner Arts Entrepreneur Award.

The Music Award goes to the Norwich Philharmonic Society and the Broadcast and Press Award to BBC Voices, a media workshop and production unit based in the city’s BBC studios. The Fashion and Costume Design is won by theatre designer and costume designer Kirsteen Wythe for, among other work, that for the Theatre Royal and the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. The Visual Arts Award goes to Toni Lawon and Sweet Arts with its projects for vulnerable women.

Education and community work is also recognised with Marcus Patteson of Sistema in competition with The Garage in Norwich, run by Darren Grace, and the two Access to Music centres catering for over 300 young people under the aegis of Ian Johnson. Mascot Media – husband and wife team of Alan and Marion Marshall – wins the Jarrold New Writing Award with the multi-artist The Artful Hare. Norwich City Council’s Team Norwich and Rebecca Chapman’s Total Ensemble theatre company win the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Norfolk Awards.

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Filed under Reviews 2015