We’re premiering in London for our Advent concert series!

‘Hail, nobly born, hail, honoured and inviolate, you Maiden are the piercing gaze of chastity…’
‘…You ladies would have been happy had fate made you less cruel and inhuman, or less graceful and beautiful: poor wretches, o poor wretches!’

This concert series will explore the Virgin Mary in the context of Christian and Classical concepts of femininity, virginity, chastity, and the heavenly ideal of perfect ‘womanhood’. How has the idea of the infallible Virgin been used to pit women against other women? How have women subverted this rhetoric historically, and how do we do it today?

Music from Hildegard to Verdi will explore celebrations of the Virgin in different contexts, while fragments of Sappho and erotic portraits of Venus consider womanhood and sexuality in a Classical setting. Weaving away from the idealised femininity of the Virgin, we will consider the experiences of historical women, bringing new life to Anne Boleyn’s last words, relating the exciting legend of St Frideswide, and performing Monteverdi’s complex depiction of Poppea, the ill-fated wife of Emperor Nero. The concert will end far away from the realm of the heavenly Virgin with excerpts from Monteverdi’s Ballo delle ingrate, which addresses the women in the audience with a stark warning…

December 16, 7:30 pm – Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street
December 17, 8 pm – St Cuthbert’s, Earl’s Court

Tickets available online or on the door. £15/£10 (under 26)


Hildegard – Ave generosa
Durufle – Tota pulchra es
Guerrero – Santa et immaculata
Verdi – Lauda alla Vergine Maria
McDowall – Ave Maria
Britten – There is no Rose from A Ceremony of Carols
Britten – Balulalow from A Ceremony of Carols
Holst, I – Lullaby from Welcome Joy, Welcome Sorrow
Dufay – Ave maris stella
Gjeilo – Ave generosa
Larsen – Try Me, Good King (Anne Boleyn)
Willis – Non Omnis Moriar
Lesemann-Elliott – The Legend of St Frideswide
Holst – Hymn to the Dawn and Hymn to Vena
Strozzi – Le tre gratie a Venere
Monteverdi – Pur te miro from Poppea
Monteverdi – Excerpts from Ballo delle ingrate

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