Purcell: The Fairy Queen & King Arthur

Gabrieli have been known for excellent performances of Purcell’s music throughout our 35 year history. Whether it’s the quirky ribaldry of the stage works or the solemn piety of the sacred repertoire, Gabrieli’s distinctive sound and innate understanding of this music remains a cornerstone of our reputation as the foremost Purcellians of our day. Our 2018/19 season celebrates Purcell’s most-loved stage works, The Fairy Queen and King Arthur.

The Fairy Queen, written just three years before the composer’s untimely death, is one of Purcell’s most glorious scores. Brimming with energy and invention, it is by turns funny and sad, erotic and, frankly, silly.

Paul McCreesh describes King Arthur as ‘the great patriotic opera of its day’. This vivid and imaginative score depicts battles between King Arthur’s Britons and Saxons amidst brilliant, energetic dances and beautiful song settings of Dryden poetry, including the renowned ‘Fairest Isle’ and the great Frost Scene.

After years of research, Paul McCreesh and principal cellist Christopher Suckling have collaborated to prepare new performing editions of both works, and we are delighted to be touring and recording performances using both of these in the coming months. Visit our Events page HERE for details of forthcoming performances at St John’s Smith Square (November), Baden Baden, Vienna and Budapest (January).

In January 2019 we will record both King Arthur and The Fairy Queen with a cast that includes Carolyn Sampson, Rowan Pierce, Anna Dennis, Mhairi Lawson, Jeremy Budd, Charles Daniels, James Way, Ashley Riches and Roderick Williams. To support this unique and exciting project, please click HERE!


“McCreesh is one of today’s finest Purcell interpreters, and musically this was rather special, played with an admirable mixture of sensuousness and majesty, and sung with consistent finesse and elan.”The Guardian