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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: January 20, 2009 Archive

VocalEssence in the UK: Day 3 - London

Posted at 6:03 AM on January 20, 2009 by John Birge


No public concert today, but VocalEssence has a radio date at the BBC. After lunch and shopping in Covent Garden (including Puccini-singing buskers adjacent to the Royal Opera House), we head for the BBC's Broadcast House for a live performance on "In Tune," on Radio 3.

VE BBC queue.JPG

Studio space is tight, so there's room for only half of the Ensemble Singers. But the atmosphere is genial.


Affable host Sean Rafferty was very taken by the music, and interviewed conductor Philip Brunelle and two singers. Here's how it looked from the control room:


"In Tune" airs weekdays from 5p -7p, and mixes live performance and chat in a fashion not unlike our own "Performance Today." Top-drawer talent only: Yo Yo Ma was the guest the day before, and just before VocalEssence sang, Sean Rafferty had a live phone interview with Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb, about the Met's financial crisis. You can listen to VocalEssence on the BBC here. This visit was a treat for me as well, as I was able to get a radio-insiders tour of the the BBC studios. How reassuring to discover that the BBC is every bit as messy as every other radio station I've ever ever seen!

Next, it's the first of two London concerts, an all-American program with some special treats for Inauguration Day. Be sure to tune in to Classical Minnesota Public Radio this evening at 8pm for the performance from St. John's, Smith Square in London.

For many more tour photos, check out the VocalEssence photo stream, and for the singer's inside track, the VocalEssence tour blog.