Creative, entertaining programmes that combine solos, duets, instrumental music and spoken word
The Trials and Triumphs of Oriana
This programme is intimate yet theatrical. It centres around Thomas Morley's madrigal collection of 1601, "The Triumphs of Oriana" uniquely arranged here for two voices with instrumental accompaniment.
The programme features three of these 'Triumphs' to represent the glorious public face of the Queen, but pitches these against the stark contrast of her private persona, her 'Trials', which are represented by lute songs and more internalised, emotional music. It is designed ideally to be performed with viol consort and lute, but is equally possible with single viol and lute. This programme takes the audience on a journey, exploring the public and private sides to Elizabeth, the performers moving between three areas of the stage: a concert platform for the Triumphs, a domestic setting for the Trials, and a 'throne', reserved for the items that use Queen Elizabeth's own words. All this is achieved using only a series of chairs, meaning it is easily achievable, and adaptable.
The programme celebrates the works of John Dowland in particular, while also introducing a brand new psalm setting and contemporary lute song by composer Fraser Wilson, that sets Elizabeth's own words to music and explores jazz as well as historical influences..
Aminta e Fillide - Handel
Fair Oriana collaborates with Opera Settecento (directed by Leo Duarte) for historically authentic performances of this charming and virtuosic pastoral cantata by Handel, beginning with a performance for the London Handel Friends in Autumn 2019. Angela plays Aminta, who throughout the cantata attempts to win over Fillide, played by Penelope. She stubbornly resists his advances until he manages to melt her heart with the aria Se vago rio. For this project Angela and Penelope are working closely with researcher and Baroque Opera specialist Brian Robins to bring historically informed performance to modern audiences. This can be lengthened into a full evening programme with the inclusion of further pastoral baroque instrumental music.
The term 'silvery' is often used to describe clear, high voices and is a word that has always been associated with the ethereal sound of Fair Oriana. Penelope and Angela have taken this concept as inspiration for an atmospheric night-themed programme of baroque music, which celebrates the sound of the pure soprano voice. It contains both well known and more diverse repertoire (often uniquely arranged for their two voices) spanning opera, oratorio, chamber music and song, in a variety of languages. As they recite at the opening of the programme, the night is a time for sleeping, praying, hiding, wishing, loving, dreaming and bewitching. They explore these themes through a varied programme of solos, duets, spoken word and instrumental baroque music in which they play a variety of characters, from lovers to witches, with some surprise twists along the way. As always, they use the available performing space creatively and semi-stage parts of the programme in an entertaining way that flows seamlessly from piece to piece.
Soprano duo Fair Oriana present an entertaining hour of early music and folk fusion in their earthy Robin Hood themed programme, premiered in 2020 at the Mozart-Saal of Vienna's Konzerthaus as part of their Resonanzen Festival. In this subtly theatrical and varied programme, Fair Oriana lend their trademark pure sound to a more rustic and folk-inspired sound world, collaborating with an energetic band of period instrumentalists (viols, lute, cittern, percussion and recorder) to bring the legend to life. The programme celebrates the roots of our music and folk lore, combining spoken word (extracts from the ballads of Robin Hood) with a fascinating compilation of medieval and Renaissance songs and uniquely arranged folk tunes. Through speech and music the ensemble explores the different stages of Robin Hood's life, set within the leafy back drop of Sherwood Forest. With typically characterful delivery, Fair Oriana combine ethereal moments with plenty of lively toe-tapping ones.
Leçons de ténèbres - Couperin
This was one of the first programmes that Angela and Penelope ever performed together, and so was instrumental in the formation of this partnership. The purity of their voices is ideally suited for this light and expressive repertoire.
Fair Oriana are pleased to be able to offer bespoke baroque and lute-song programmes designed to suit the themes and requirements of the individual festival or event.