ORA launches at the tower of london
ORA's official launch saw a programme of Renaissance masterpieces and commissioned reflections in a sell-out concert at the stunning Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula, inside the Tower of London. The amazing history of this building, the final resting place of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, seemed particularly apposite for a programme based around the works of William Byrd and Girolamo Savonarola. The religious complexities of both their lives seemed to echo those of the people buried here. It was amazing to hear the music of William Byrd, famously a recusant Catholic in the reign of Elizabeth I, in the final resting place of Elizabeth’s mother, who had so much to do with the schism of England from the Roman faith!
Patrick Kinmonth designed a beautiful and elegant lighting backdrop for the music which included a circle of 18 metre-high cast-iron candlesticks, one for each singer in the ensemble. There were also 7 world premieres, all ORA commissions, performed in the concert:
Eriks Ešenvalds – Infelix Ego
Roxanna Panufnik – Kyrie after Byrd
Francis Pott – Laudate Dominum
Alexander L’Estrange – Show me, deare Christ
Owain Park – Upheld by stillness
Charlotte Bray – Agnus Dei
Roderick Williams - Ave verum corpus Re-imagined
“a musical comet … you’ll go a long way to hear singing this good. Truly, this is British choral music’s new golden age.”
Claudia Pritchard - Independent on Sunday, 14th February 2016 ***** 5 Stars
"...it was a real delight to hear this performance, the second of two launching Suzi Digby’s new vocal ensemble...This was an unfailingly elegant performance, with all sharp edges and breaths airbrushed out. But what was most striking was the singers’ sheer vocal power..."
Hannah Nepil - Financial Times, 11th February 2016 **** 4 Stars
"Suzi Digby drew from them a remarkably strong, focussed sound notable for its flexibility, vibrant yet well blended with a lovely sense of line."
Robert Hugill - Planet Hugill, 10th February 2016 **** 4 Stars
"...the end result was rather special. As was the quality of performance: with the choir occasionally split and repositioned around the church for spatial effects, the aural potential of the experience was maximised. Digby drew finely controlled yet rhythmically fluid performances from her expert singers throughout."
George Hall - The Guardian, 10th February 2016