On Friday 15th April 2016, we at City Music Foundation celebrated William Shakespeare’s death in our own unique way, by holding a Shakespeare Cocktail Concert at the Guildhall Art Gallery.
Three of our patrons, internationally renowned artists; Simon Callow, Joan Rodgers CBE and Roger Vignoles, were joined on stage by CMF Artist and soprano Raphaela Papadakis for an evening of words and music. From the onset, the Shakespeare Cocktail Concert was a way to celebrate both the bard, and the role City Music Foundation plays in the lives of our young professional artists.
Simon, Joan, Roger and Raphaela all worked together with City Music Foundation’s Managing Director Dr Clare Taylor to create a truly engaging and exceptional evening. Combining songs and lieder by composers from Schubert to Strauss along with extracts from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, the audience were guided through this rousing marriage of two artistic mediums. As if that wasn’t enough, audience members were treated to delicious cocktails and nibbles as they sat surrounded by the incredible works of art within the Guildhall Art Gallery’s main hall.
The concert itself was entitled ‘Music, ho!’ which Simon revealed was the phrase uttered when music was required during Shakespeare’s life. Titania, the Queen of the Fairies herself in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream exclaimed “Music, ho! Music such as charmeth sleep!” after she was awoken from her deceiving spell by her husband Oberon.
Music not only pervades the words of Shakespeare’s works but also the performance and stage direction. Music and drama have been inextricably linked for years from Greek theatre all the way to modern film. For Shakespeare music and its traditional associations, its divine power, often play an integral part of his works driving and seeping into the narrative. Music lulls unsuspecting lovers to sleep in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ariel ‘the airy spirit’ in The Tempest is instructed to enter ‘invisible, playing and singing’ and Duke Orsino famously opens Twelfth Night with the words.
“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die”
The City Music Foundation’s Shakespeare Cocktail Concert was a celebration of the unique place music holds in Shakespeare and, as today marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s burial, it is exciting to see what the rest of this year has in store to honour and celebrate England’s greatest literary artist.
See the gallery below.
Photographs taken during rehearsal and the interval.
Photography by Sara Lejon.