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Recalling Monteverdi's Vespers in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Thinking about his upcoming performance

of the Monteverdi Vespers at Cadogan Hall, Mark Dobell was immediately transported back to a performance of the work inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was, he said "an amazing space, acoustically speaking, but also filled with antiquities and they had set up incredible lighting to make it a hugely atmospheric performance." At the time, Mark was performing the Vespers with Boston's famous Handel and Haydn Society, conducted by Harry Christophers. "Funnily enough", he says, "I saw that same space in a film just the other day – it’s the scene of the heist in Ocean’s 8!"

Mark has worked as a soloist all over the world with renowned conductors including Harry Christophers, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington and Sir James MacMillan. Asked about music he particularly liked to sing, Mark says "I’d like to think Monteverdi suits me well enough. Other than that I love Britten, in common with many tenors, but it’s always a joy to come back to Bach. His music is so pure and perfect, I find it hugely comforting. That said, I consider myself fairly versatile and I think I would give anything a try – within reason! He sings regularly with The Sixteen and The Orlando Consort.

Matthew Long's memorable international experience of Monteverdi's Vespers was in Osaka, Japan. Other remarkable experiences have included: Purcell in a Roman ruin in Libya; touring Australia with a circus troupe; and singing Bach for Japanese royalty in their hotel suite in the Hong Kong Ritz. He also spent two full days in a freezing cave dressed in a white Tuxedo for an insurance advert and was part of Germany’s bid for the Eurovision Song Contest live on TV. Obviously a versatile chap!

Matthew adores Monteverdi and particularly

favours the baroque. "Renaissance polyphony is fun although I’d rather hear it than sing it these days! I am not religious but there is a strange place in my heart and soul for the music of J S Bach. In general however I don’t listen to classical music. I like heavy metal and I play the guitar although I’m not often allowed to play metal!"

This Easter, Matthew will be joining Neuiwe Philharmonie Utrecht for their regular tour of the Netherlands, performing the Bach Matthew Passion. "As with so many projects we haven’t been able to do this the last two years so it will be lovely to return." Matthew is also a member of the solo voice ensemble, I Fagiolini and looks forward to singing with them during the coming year.

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