Covered Covered & Performed Scenes Premiere of New Work Concert
Ombra mai fu - Handel Serse
"Needless to say, the evening's music was of an incredibly high standard, with countertenor Kesby, keyboardist Claire Williams, recorder player Lauren Brant, and guest performer David Beaney alternating between the recorder and flute. Kesby's resonant countertenor really succeeded in bringing the various vocal pieces to life: his performance was at once technically excellent and sensitive to the character of the music, employing a great range of different timbres. Prime examples of this were the last two arias of the first half. Handel's 'Ombra cara' from Radamisto was full of emotion, in which Kesby fully captured Radamisto's despair. This was contrasted completely with the high, virtuosic character of 'Sento la gioia' from Amadigi." - Hannah Templeton, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2014)
"Among so many musical bonbons, Telemann's cantatas offered something rather more substantial but even the earnestness of Kesby's coloratura couldn't obscure the tongue-in-cheek morality of works that exhort us to drink, gamble and worse, so long as we do so in moderation." - Alexandra Coughlan, The New Statesman
Glenn Kesby made his professional singing debut at the 25th Handel Festival in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he played Adelberto in Handel’s Ottone, conducted by Charles Farncombe CBE. Since then, he has played several lead opera roles including Julius Caesar and Ruggiero in Alcina for the Handel Opera Society, Rinaldo at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, Apollo in Parnasso in Festa, and Tirinto in Imeneo with Baroque Encounter at St John’s, Smith Square.
Other opera roles have included Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (ENO Baylis), Silvio in Handel’s Il Pastor Fido (Harmonie Universelle), Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Spirit in Dido and Aeneas (Burghley Opera), and Venus in a concert performance of Pepusch’s Venus and Adonis for the Handel House Museum. Glenn was delighted to be part of the Stanton St John Opera performances of a new work Lizzie Strata – Make Love, or War? by Roger Simmonds and David Willcock.
Glenn was a soloist for the modern-world premiere performance of the rediscovered Mozart orchestration of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus for John Pryce-Jones and the Halifax Choral Society, broadcast on BBC TV and on Trio Arts Channel (USA). He was also selected as a soloist for the first performances of the new English version by Neil Jenkins of Handel’s Brockes’ Passion.
His other concerts have incorporated much of the main repertoire for counter tenor including Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Handel’s Messiah with the Halifax Choral Society, and also with Choros and Oxford Sinfonia, the first performance of a Bach Passion (St John) at Douai Abbey, Bach’s Mass in B Minor in Cambridge and Reading, Purcell’s Come ye sons of art away and Mozart’s Coronation Mass for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee at St Alban’s Cathedral, and both Vivaldi’s and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. His performances have contributed to festivals around the UK including the Chichester, Chelsea, Rye, Shipton, Wandsworth, Dulwich, Edinburgh Fringe and Pennine Spring festivals, lute songs at Hampton Court Palace, St John’s College Chapel in Cambridge, and arias for counter tenor, oboe and orchestra in London and Brighton.
In recital Glenn has performed at St John’s, Smith Square, the National Portrait and Dulwich Picture galleries, Banqueting House, Handel & Hendrix in London (formerly Handel House Museum), and most recently at Brunswick House. He has performed in Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Cyprus, Ireland, France and his native Australia. Although, unsurprisingly, he specialises in music from the baroque period, his repertoire extends well beyond early music and he has given recitals of Finzi’s Let us garlands bring, Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été, and Britten’s canticle Abraham and Isaac.
In 2004, Glenn established the early music ensemble, Baroque Encounter, to explore two main avenues of performance: costumed period performances of baroque theatrical works; and more intimate chamber music mostly in the form of a trio of counter tenor voice, recorder and harpsichord.
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