In Georgian times, Britain offered its population a wide range of entertainment. In London and the provinces, purpose-built auditoriums were built for the performance of plays and music (it was a time of much theatre music), with London’s Drury Lane, Covent Garden and Haymarket theatres, each seating several thousand people, abuzz nightly. Audiences included people of means seated in the boxes, with poorer people squeezed into hot and dirty galleries. Audience behaviour there was generally unruly.
The ostentatious pleasure gardens became a special feature of the London entertainment scene: at the Ranelagh Gardens, boasting sweeping avenues, a Chinese Pavilion and a fountain of mirrors, concerts were held in the 200-foot-wide Rotunda. It is known that 12,000 people flocked to the Vauxhall Gardens to watch Händel rehearse his “Fireworks Music” in 1749. By the second half of the 18th century, there were many spas and over 60 fashionable pleasure gardens in London as well as in a number in provincial towns, modelled on those of London.
The public was also drawn to riding the new hot air balloons, the many fairs, exhibitions and to the viewing of a variety of strange beings and events. The latter included giants, midgets, the obese, unfortunate and the strange people, imported exotic animals, animal baiting and cock-fighting, not to speak of such curiosities such as the famous “performing pig” with its ability to spell and trained bees and birds, but also visits to view the inmates at London’s hospital for the insane – “Bethlehem”! “Passion and Madness”, one of Ensemble PHOENIX’s most fascinating and more theatrical programs, presented stories and music – mad songs and instrumental – inspired by the goings-on in the Bethlehem Hospital and the public’s fascination with them.
Once again, Ensemble PHOENIX is about to turn its focus to Georgian London, a period of unprecedented prosperity and of culture then becoming available to a wider cross-section of the public, in particular, the new middle class – successful merchants, traders, craftsmen and professionals. “Glamour and Fashion: London in the 18th Century” will present audiences with fine instrumental music from London’s cosmopolitan musical scene of the second half of the 18th century, its vibrant events enhanced by the arrival of such colourful figures as Felice Giardini, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel and by the influx of such outstanding foreign musicians as Haydn and Stamitz. Audiences will have the opportunity of hearing works of composers popular in their lifetime but not frequently enough heard on today’s concert platforms. Artists performing in this program will be Moshe Aron Epstein-Classical flute, Lilia Slavny-violin, Marina Minkin-harpsichord and PHOENIX founder Myrna Herzog-direction, cello.
Sat. 04 March at 20:30
Haifa, The Studio, Beit Hecht, 142 HaNassi St., Carmel Center
Reservations: 04 836-3804
Sun. 05 March at 20:00
Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, Mormon University, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem
Thu. 09 March at 20:30
The PHOENIX Salon, Raanana
Sat. 08 April 2017 at 11:00 (Rachel Ringelstein-violin)
The Eden-Tamir Music Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem
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