'Purcell doesn’t come much better than this...' The Times (6 Nov 2018)

On 1 November 2018, Gabrieli gave the first performance of Paul McCreesh and Christopher Suckling’s new edition of Purcell The Fairy Queen to a capacity crowd at London’s St John’s Smith Square. A stellar cast of British singers and a selection of Gabrieli’s finest players gave a vibrant, innovative performance of this joyful work, to rapturous applause and appreciative, thoughtful reviews, describing it as ‘a compelling and exuberant performance’, prepared with ‘typical zeal’ and ‘lively musicianship and educated imagination’ with an ‘airy, golden instrumental sound’ and ‘plenty to delight the ear’. Read more from these reviews below.

This is our final Purcell performance in the UK before recordings of both The Fairy Queen and King Arthur in January 2019. Our cast for these sessions includes Anna Dennis, Mhairi Lawson, Rowan Pierce, Carolyn Sampson (sopranos); Jeremy Budd, Charles Daniels and James Way (Tenors); and Ashley Riches and Roderick Williams (bass/baritones). You can read more about our campaign to fund these important recordings here

As Sleep’s gently falling line soothed our busy souls, it was hard to imagine Purcell being better than this … There were other moments in this performance of The Fairy Queen that seemed to hold us out of time, out of this world … If Handel’s operas distil human emotion, Purcell here appeals to the senses – and there was plenty to delight the ear.’
Rebecca Franks, The Times


One of the continuing successes of the Gabrieli’s and their director Paul McCreesh is their ability to reinvent themselves and to continually question and push boundaries in their approach to their music making … If this suggests an academic approach to music making, the experience of this concert proved to be anything but. It was a compelling and exuberant performance.’
Andrew Benson Wilson, Early Music Reviews


Paul McCreesh had prepared his band and performing edition (with Christopher Suckling) with typical zeal … McCreesh plays this at a low French pitch of A=392Hz, the string players using adapted bow-holds to play their baggy gut strings. This level of scrutiny is, of course, how performing groups with similar personnel manage to sound different. … The familiar music, handled with love, lively musicianship and educated imagination, gets to speak for itself.’
Robert Thicknesse, Critics’ Circle