Henry Purcell (1659-95) was to English music what Shakespeare was to English theater. Purcell composed “Dido and Aeneas,” the first opera we have in English, and many other works for the musical stage, including “The Fairy Queen.” Many sopranos (and a few tenors) have made its famous aria “Hark, the echoing air” a showpiece of their skills.
Britten created his own performing editions of “The Fairy Queen,” “Dido and Aeneas,” and many other works of Purcell. In Britten’s concert arrangement of this famous aria, the vocal parts and bass lines were preserved intact, while the orchestral accompaniment is re-imagined in a modern idiom.
Click here to view Bianca Hall’s performance of “Hark, the echoing air,” from our recent “Britten in Song” concert in Glendale. Krystof Van Gyrsperre is at the piano. Winged cupids are prominently featured.
Soprano BIANCA HALL is an active early music performer, and has appeared in various festivals around the country, including the Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals, and in concert series including the Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society with the instrumental ensemble Ciaramella. In addition to her ensemble work, she has performed the roles of Drusilla (Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea), Cherubino (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro) and both Dido and the Sorceress (Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas). In the realm of contemporary music, Bianca performed in the L.A. Microfest in 2011 and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as part of the Made in L.A. 2012 exhibition. Bianca is a soloist and chorister with De Angelis Vocal Ensemble and Bach Collegium San Diego, a founding member and co-director of the Natur Early Music Ensemble, and a soloist at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Newport Beach.