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Events > 2017

Opening Night: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Kemp, Royal, Spence, Henschel

13 October 2017, 19:30 - 21:30



Thumbnail of The Sheldonian Theatre

The Sheldonian Theatre

Broad Street
Oxford, OX1 3AZ


The Festival gets offto a stunning start, welcoming a stellar team of musicians to the Sheldonian Theatre.

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Thomas Kemp, perform two of Mahler's great vocal works in chamber orchestrations, created for salon-style performances. A renowned Mahlerian, baritone Dietrich Henschel begins the concert with Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (‘Songs of a Wayfarer), Mahler's moving settings of his own texts. After this, star soprano Kate Royal performs a selection of Strauss’ best-known songs in newly-uncovered arrangements that were originally intended for the cinemaand silent movies (and the OAE will be back two days later for a live performance of Strauss' own score for the film of Der Rosenkavalier).

The second half of the concert features Mahler’s epic ‘song symphony’ Das Lied von der Erde (‘The Song of the Earth’), with Dietrich Henschel and world-renowned tenor Toby Spence. This transcendental masterpiece, written in a time of great turmoil for Mahler, sets ancient Chinese poetry in German translation, exploring profound themes of life and death.

These glittering orchestrations of Mahler were made by Arnold Schoenberg, to allow performances in salon-type settings, and they bring a new level of intimacy to the works and cast them in a new light: revelatory and refreshing to those who already know them well, and enticing to those who are coming to them for the first time.

This concert is presented in association with Music at Oxford, who present prestigious orchestras, ensembles and soloists throughout the year. For details of their season see

Members of the Schubert Circle and the Friends of Oxford Lieder enjoy a special reception after this evening's concert. To find out more about this, as well as the other benefits of being an Oxford Lieder supporter and the vital contribution this support makes, please click here.

Artist Portrait

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment


Three decades ago, a group of inquisitive London musicians took a long hard look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born. And as this distinctive ensemble playing on period-specific instruments began to get a foothold, it made a promise to itself. It v... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Thomas Kemp

Thomas Kemp


Thomas Kemp is a highly acclaimed musician and one of the most versatile and eclectic conductors of his generation, acclaimed for his innovative programming and passionate advocacy in concerts, opera, ballet and as an award winning recording artist. The Guardian recently commented “…an extraordinary performance…with a fluency that came over brilliantly under the baton of Thomas Kemp.” Thomas is the Music Director of the internationally acclaimed ensemble Chamber Domaine, which is at the forefront of ensembles foc... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Kate Royal

Kate Royal


Kate Royal was born in London and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. Awards include the 2004 Kathleen Ferrier Award, the 2004 John Christie Award, and the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award. In concert Kate has appeared with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Sir Simon Rattle (BBC Proms and Festspielhaus Baden-Baden), Bach Akademie Stuttgart with Helmuth Rilling, at the Edinburgh Festival with Sir Charles Mackerras, with the National Symphony Orchestra (Wa... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Toby Spence

Toby Spence


An honours graduate and choral scholar from New College, Oxford, Toby Spence studied at the Opera School of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society 2011 Singer of the Year award. In concert, Toby has sung with the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker under Simon Rattle, the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano, the Rotterdam Philharmonic un... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Dietrich Henschel

Dietrich Henschel


German Baritone Dietrich Henschel’s repertoire extends from the beginning of baroque opera to the modern day avant-garde. A regular at the major European opera houses, his recent engagements include the title roles in Enescu's Oedipe (La Monnaie) and Manfred Trojahn's Orest (De Nederlandse Opera). In addition to opera, a wide range of acclaimed recordings with great accompanists, orchestras and conductors testifies to Dietrich Henschel’s success as a lied interpreter and an oratorio soloist. Of late, Henschel has be... Read Full Biography


Call: 01865 591 276

Standard Ticket
£40.00 SOLD OUT
Lower Gallery £30.00
Semi-Circle £20.00
Upper Gallery £10.00
Upper Gallery
Under 35s Ticket

This event is part of a series:

The Last of the Romantics - Mahler and fin-de-siècle Vienna

Please click here to view the full Festival brochure.    Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century was a vibrant melting pot for music and the arts. Whirling waltzes sat alongside gargantuan symphonies. The height of romanticism had been reached but was nearly exhausted and on the brink of a whole new musical language. Tradition - with Brahms a holder of the torch - ...