Five star reviews for Brockes-Passion

Five star reviews for Brockes-Passion

“A Handel rarity rediscovered in a richly evocative performance.”

We’re delighted to share a whole host of five star reviews for our seasonal performance of Brockes-Passion on Good Friday at the Barbican with Robert Murray, Tim Mead, Cody Quattlebaum and the Choir of AAM.

Overtaken by many of Handel’s more famous choral works, the Brockes-Passion is, undeservedly, a lesser-known piece: there are very few performances, and even fewer recordings. But we believe this work merits much greater recognition.

If you’re interested in supporting our recording project, you’ll find more details here:

Gwilym Bowen – Tenor

Read the full reviews:

“A gruesomely graphic work to break Bach’s monopoly… full marks to the Academy of Ancient Music for coming forward with the rarely performed Brockes Passion…”

“Elizabeth Watts, warm of voice, spirited in delivery, was well chosen… thoroughly rehearsed, the AAM chorus and orchestra, not least its hard- working first oboe [Leo Duarte], were on top form under Richard Egarr’s direction.”

The Financial Times

“The AAM soloists and instrumentalists communicated the musical drama and feeling with compelling commitment and power.”

“Translator Moritz Grimm retained the astonishingly graphic, often quasi-erotic, conceits of Brockes’ text which abounds with explicit imagery.”

“Elizabeth Watts sang with tremendous poise and presence… Gwilym Bowen – Tenor was a superb Peter… Nicky Spence – tenor’s Faithful Soul bristled with rage, the lovely warmth of his tenor winning empathy for his indignation; Judas’ recitative and aria of self-castigation was superbly sung by countertenor Tim Mead. As Pilate, Caiaphas and the Centurion, Morgan Pearse – Baritone sang with firmness and resonance. Ruby Hughes’ fresh, strong soprano and clarity of line conveyed the passionate faith of her Faithful Soul while the exchanges between Rachel Lloyd’s Mary and Cody Quattlebaum, Bass-Baritone’s Jesus were persuasively sincere and human

Opera Today

“A Handel rarity rediscovered in a richly evocative performance”

“The Academy of Ancient Music performance was strongly cast… this was a terrific achievement“

“Elizabeth Watts made a strong case for the Daughter of Zion… Her two final arias in Part One were wonderful, and both paired her with Leo Duarte’s solo oboe to powerful and consoling effect… Robert Murray brought a strong dramatic sense to even the smallest utterance and his performance was highly compelling… Cody Quattlebaum, Bass-Baritone[gave a] finely lyrical and inward account of this very human Jesus… Nicky Spence – tenor brought great rhetorical strength to his role… Tim Mead made a strong Judas… Ruby Hughes [gave] a performance which powerfully identified with the character’s reactions… her final contribution was a striking accompagnato where the music really did react to the drama of the words. Gwilym Bowen – Tenor’s Peter drew a lot of the dramatic action in Part One, with Bowen creating a very human character and it was in moments like this that we experienced Handel the dramatist.”

Robert Hugill

“Handel’s Passion… has an earthiness, an urgency to its telling.. With a recording from the same forces shortly to be released and [Leo] Duarte’s edition as a jumping-off point, will further performances follow? I certainly hope so.”

“The Choir of the AAM were as crisp as the band under Egarr’s direction, with special mention for solos from leader Bojan Cicic and oboist Leo Duarte, whose new edition also enabled this project.”

“…no fewer than nine soloists give Handel’s narrative first-person immediacy… Cody Quattlebaum, Bass-Baritone’s warm and all too human Jesus… pleaded for mercy with disarming simplicity and restraint – a yielding foil to the chilly, metallic beauty of Tim Mead’s Judas. Gwilym Bowen’s bright, agile voice emerged with new fragility, bringing out the brittle, impetuous quality of this disciple… Faithful Soul Nicky Spence – tenor… erupting first into thrilling rage before later floating tenderness on the very surface of his glorious beast of a voice… Elizabeth Watts made much of the verbal drama of the Daughter of Zion…”

The Arts Desk

“This was a superb performance from the AAM… from the chorus, who layered their various lines extremely well, to the oboe playing of Leo Duarte that accompanied many arias, there were delights at every turn… it is highly likely that AAM’s work will lead to an enormous revival of interest in a piece that would seem to appeal to our modern mind-set…”

“Robert Murray was an authoritative Evangelist and Cody Quattlebaum, Bass-Baritone a charismatic Jesus, while Ruby Hughes and Rachael Lloyd made strong soprano and mezzo-soprano contributions respectively. Tim Mead was an excellent Judas and Gwilym Bowen an effective Peter, while Nicky Spence – tenor’s powerful tenor and Morgan Pearse – Baritone’s brilliant bass came to the fore in their various roles. The highest accolades, however, go to Elizabeth Watts for demonstrating such consistency and feeling over what is a notably large sing for the Daughter of Zion.”