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This is noisily Protestant England – the England of William and Mary’s Glorious Revolution at the end of a century of civil strife. This is London in the 1690s, the monster city tamed into awe by our only Orpheus: Henry Purcell.
Monarchs, princes, prostitutes, wigmakers, composers, tapsters, musicians, transvestites and watermen jostle for attention in the teeming, unruly world of late seventeenth-century London, where enthralling stories both real and imagined merge and intersect.
Samuel Adamson’s Gabriel premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, in July 2013 with Alison Balsom, one of the world’s finest trumpeters, performing the music of Purcell and Handel.
Every day three trumpet calls from the theatres on the Bankside, then songs would float over the thatch and roll across the water and make my work sweet.
Gabriel leaves you giddy with pleasure and fully smitten with the work of Henry Purcell.
A piece that gloriously defies definition. It can best be described as a series of short plays by Samuel Adamson celebrating the rackety London of the 1690s, the genius of Henry Purcell, and the limitless potential of the solo trumpet, here played by Alison Balsom, who inspired the whole enterprise. It makes for one of the most enjoyable evenings I've spent at the Globe.
It is an exceptional evening unified by Dominic Dromgoole's production, which marries the bawdy and the beautiful, and provides, in the solemn funeral procession for Queen Mary that snakes through the auditorium, an unforgettable image of grief
[An] unclassifiable delight... A delectable departure for the Globe.
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