Festival International et Académie

Catholic Herald, Michael White

Passionately spirited performances, packed houses and the culture of extended friendship that the name suggests.

On Claviers: the concerts, which have minimal formality… but a habit of delivering miracles. A good example last week was a pair of countertenors singing Purcell side by side in one of those neglected churches that you get in France…One countertenor was James Hall, a voice of velvet power that had projection but with easy, almost laid-back charm and purity of town. The other was a a fascinating curiosity: a 16-year-old Swiss boy, Constantin Emanuel Zimmemann, who ought to be too young to be the voice he is and was apparently still singing treble just a month ago. He was an outstanding treble, who recorded with Ton Koopman. And he seems to have emerged like Venus, fully formed (or very nearly)…there’s no doubting his musicianship, which is precocious. We’ll be hearing more of him, I’m sure.

Tosca: the location was magical, the orchestra heroic and the Scarpia magnificently sung by Adam Green….an achievement

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