Great expectations: Beatrice Rana ©Marie-Staggat

Prospect recommends: The best classical music this month

There’s no shortage of performances marking Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary
April 11, 2017
Karita MattilaWigmore Hall, 6th May

Nobody fills a melodic line with greater depth of colour or coaxes more emotion from a phrase than Karita Mattila. Blessed with one of the loveliest voices around, Finland’s star soprano is also an instinctive musician and a supreme stage animal. The opportunity of hearing her in the intimacy of the Wigmore Hall is all but unmissable. Mattila’s signature Richard Strauss dominates, including the exquisitely melancholic “Ach Lieb, ich muss nun scheiden,” and the radiant dream-fantasy of “Wiegenlied.” Brahms’s bright Zigeunerlieder (Gypsy songs) offer a brief respite from intensity.

Beatrice Rana plays the Goldberg variationsSymphony Hall, Birmingham, 9th May

Beatrice Rana’s major competition wins set the Italian pianist on track for stardom when she was still in her teens. Just a few years on and her early promise has been more than fulfilled. Her debut disc with Antonio Pappano confirmed both her emotional and technical maturity, and raises expectations for a solo recital in which she tackles Bach’s intricate Goldberg Variations.

Monteverdi Vespers—Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/Vox LuminisSt John’s Smith Square, 14th May

There’s no shortage of performances marking Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary, but this promises to be one of the best. Two of baroque’s top ensembles—Belgian choir Vox Luminis and the characterful Freiburg Baroque Orchestra—collaborate in a performance of the composer’s ground-breaking 1610 Vespers. Featuring everything from solo plainchant to thickest polychoral polyphony, it’s a work of astonishing breadth and variety that shows how much we owe this musical master.