nadsa concerts newsletter - April 2024

By John Rockey
10 April 2024

Our final concert of the season is on Friday 19th April at 7.30pm in the Courtenay Centre, and introduces voices as well as instrumental players – a little unusual for nadsa.

Described as "pure vocal beauty" by Classic FM, Fair Oriana are a soprano duo known for the purity of their voices and trade-mark blend. They specialise in singing historical repertoire, and, in collaboration with regular teams of instrumentalists, perform chamber concerts with a hint of theatre… Sounds too much like ‘early music’ for you? Well, their programme for us this month is called ‘Eliza is the Fairest Queen’ and celebrates the lives and reigns of both Elizabeths, so besides madrigals from Dowland and Morley, expect to hear The Beatles and Vera Lynn, maybe even Irving Berlin, albeit infused with Tudor warmth!

Both members of Dame Emma Kirkby's ensemble Dowland Works, specialist early music sopranos Angela Hicks and Penelope Appleyard joined forces in 2019 to form Fair Oriana, a unique duo that mixes their passion for historical music with entertaining staging, contemporary influences and, varying genres such as folk, jazz and cross-over. Their concerts are often characterised by their use of gesture and acclaimed acting - as well as vocal - abilities.

Penelope’s place is taken tonight by regular collaborator Lucy Cox, a former Brighton Early Music Festival Young Artist, and finalist in the 2020 John Kerr Award for English Song. She has performed as a soloist at venues including Cadogan Hall, St George’s Bristol, Oxford’s Holywell Music Room, and the NOSPR Katowice Concert Hall in Poland, appearing with ensembles including the Villiers Quartet, the Monteverdi String Band, the Gabrieli Consort and Players, and the Hanover Band.
She has also sung the title roles in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and in Semele, Cyril Rootham’s Andromeda, Scarlatti's La Giuditta, and Cavalli's La Calisto, for Brighton Early Music Festival, Cantata Dramatica, and New Chamber Opera.

Fair Oriana bring with them three distinguished instrumentalists; Harry Buckoke plays the Viola da Gamba with several other ensembles and has recorded with Fieri Consort and Ensemble Augelletti; while Sam Browne has been described as ‘the Eric Clapton of the Lute’. . Known for his sensitive style and stagecraft, Sam enjoys an international career that has taken him to major venues across three continents. No details yet about our percussionist; watch this space!

With such joint credentials this will be a staging which is almost music theatre – it certainly won’t be a static performance! Read about Fair Oriana here: , hear them here: and then book your ticket at Don’t forget to bring your credit card because by the interval, you’ll want to buy their debut CD, ‘Two Voices’ – listen to an extract at

This concert is generously sponsored by Sue and Jeff Collman, to whom we are most grateful.

After the winter concert season comes the summer festival season, so keep an eye open for Shaldon Festival in June, and other local events.

Devon Philharmonic Orchestra are at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday April 27th with five of their musical friends: Falstaff (Elgar), Romeo & Juliet (Tchaikovsky), and Daphnis & Chloe (Ravel) -

Exeter Philharmonic Choir present ‘An Evening at the Opera’ at St David’s Church, Exeter on Saturday 18th May -

On the same evening Shaldon Singers are at St Peter’s Church, Shaldon with the Mozart Requiem and Pergolesi’s Magnificat, accompanied by Shaldon Sinfonietta - look at where you can also read more about their Verdi Requiem workshop on April 27th.

Torbay Singers are at Buckfast Abbey on Saturday 29th June with Langlais’s Missa Salve Regina and Hassler’s Duo Seraphim -

Devon Baroque join with Exeter Festival Chorus at the Cathedral on Saturday 6th July for Bach’s B-minor Mass -

And of course there is the usual calendar of BSO concerts at the University Great Hall and music at Exeter Cathedral.

That's all for now; have a tuneful summer, catch up again in August.
John R