The Hogboon in words and pictures


On Sunday 26 June we performed the world premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' last opera, The Hogboon, at the Barbican Centre. The concert also included a performance of Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique, with students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama sitting side-by-side with the LSO.

The opera was commissioned for the LSO Discovery children’s choirs, London Symphony Chorus, and students from Guildhall School alongside members of the London Symphony Orchestra, embodying the view of our Music Director Designate Sir Simon Rattle that classical music is for everyone.

Here is a round-up of the evening in pictures and words.

In pictures

 In your words

Press Reviews

The Arts Desk, 27 June 2016
It’s a measure of the man that his final work, The Hogboon, should fill a stage with hundreds of children, professional singers beside students and amateurs, a world-class orchestra – and Sir Simon Rattle; that it should be as rich and complex as it needed to be, with no concessions to its younger performers. Max lived out his belief that his art was genuinely to be made for everyone, and that children "must get their hands dirty in the music".
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The Guardian, 27 June 2016
It was remarkable how Rattle and his diverse forces achieved near flawless ensemble, with extraordinary finesse to the string tone, exceptional energy in the brass and striking vitality from the woodwind.
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Seen and Heard, 27 June 2016
It seems to me the very model of a community opera, offering a good story and good music both to amateurs, indeed to children, and to professionals; this was an opportunity and an experience many of those taking part are unlikely ever to forget. We need to do much more of this sort of thing, and who could set a better example than the LSO and Simon Rattle?
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Financial Times, 27 June 2016
Rattle led a lively performance, directed for the stage by Karen Gillingham, with an able cast led by confident young Sebastian Exall as pint-sized hero Magnus.
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Daily Telegraph, 27 June 2016
The music finds Maxwell Davies at his most inclusive and celebratory, but also satisfyingly weird and dissonant.
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The Times, 27 June 2016
Worries that extra forces would lead to clogged textures were banished within moments; instead Rattle brought a lean, keen edge to music that’s too often treated as a series of lurid postcards, and in doing so ratcheted up the tension to thrilling heights. In a word, fantastique.
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Evening Standard, 27 June 2016
Rattle completed the evening with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, with the LSO augmented by players from the Guildhall School, beefing up the harp section to six, the double-basses to an even dozen. The result? A minimal loss of subtle detail, an exponential growth in raw and raucous energy.
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Classical Source, 27 June 2016
This was a virtuosic, colourful and kaleidoscopic performance, which was thrilling. From a benign household spirit and a sea monster to a coven of hysterical witches, Simon Rattle here ran the gamut of orchestral effects to win a cheering ovation.
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The Independent, 28 June 2016
Strikingly, the children’s choruses portraying the fearsome Nuckleavee were no mere add-on texture but sat at the heart of the enterprise, and when everybody united at the end to sing “God bless you all. Goodbye”, it felt like a very personal farewell.
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