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5 July 2024, Friday, 19:00-21:00

Works of Henry Purcell, one of the most important composers of 17th century English music, will be played to the audience of Csigó Mill.

Musicians: Zsombor Tóth-Vajna, harpsichord and Audrey Gábor, soprano

Salon programme: wine tasting courtesy of Aklan Winery, informal discussion, signing.

Tickets. HUF 3,500

Orpheus of London

The 17th century was one of the most turbulent periods in English history. In 1649, with the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell established the Puritan Commonwealth, which ended in 1660 with the restoration of the English monarchy when Charles II ascended the throne.

The new ruler spent his exile on the continent, in the Netherlands and France, from where he brought back a love for high culture. Music soon began to flourish in his court. In this musical atmosphere, the young Henry Purcell was nurtured. In addition to being the organist of the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey, he became the most important theatrical composer of his time.

In this era, music primarily served as accompaniment for plays, and actors often delivered the most significant parts by singing. The popularity of these songs is evident from the fact that most of them were quickly published, and thus they were often performed outside the theater in civic and noble house concerts.

The concert features songs composed by Purcell for plays and operas, providing a glimpse into the vibrant English musical life at the end of the 17th century.

Zsombor Tóth-Vajna

Specialist in early keyboard instruments and conductor, Zsombor Tóth-Vajna is a prominent figure of the young Hungarian musician generation. He earned his honors degrees in harpsichord and organ performance at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, studying under Miklós Spányi and Borbála Dobozy. He continued his master’s studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where he received diplomas in organ, harpsichord, fortepiano, and clavichord under the guidance of Menno van Delft, Richard Egarr, and Jacques van Oortmerssen. He perfected his conducting skills under the mentorship of Richard Egarr, Ton Koopman, and Howard Williams. Additionally, he pursued studies at the Faculty of Medicine at Semmelweis University in Budapest. He is a frequent guest in concert halls both in Hungary and abroad, having performed in numerous European countries and the United States. Notable among his performances is his solo concert at Westminster Abbey in London, where he was the first Hungarian to perform, as well as at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. He is a returning guest at the Halle Handel Festival and the Handel House in London. A passionate chamber musician, he has collaborated with partners such as Erika Miklósa, Eszter Sümegi, Gábor Bretz, István Várdai, András Keller, and Avi Avital. He has recorded for Hungarian Radio and Television, including projects with András Batta to promote early keyboard music. He is the founder and artistic director of the Harmonia Caelestis Baroque Orchestra, established in 2015, and is dedicated to four-hand keyboard music with his twin brother Gergely under the name Duo Piano e Forte. He has further honed his keyboard skills in masterclasses with Pierre Hantaï, Skip Sempé, Ton Koopman, Masaaki Suzuki, Malcolm Bilson, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Christine Schornsheim, Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, Jon Laukvik, Andreas Staier, and Hans Fagius, and his conducting in masterclasses with Riccardo Muti and Sir Roger Norrington. As an educator, he has given masterclasses both in Hungary and abroad and has served as a jury member in international competitions. Since 2020, he has been a scholarship doctoral student at the Royal College of Music in London. His research focuses on performance issues in 17th-century English keyboard music. He has released nine solo albums, including several under the Hungaroton label. In 2013, Zsombor Tóth-Vajna received one of the highest honors from Semmelweis University, the Kerpel Award; in 2015, he was named one of Hungary's 50 most talented young people by La Femme magazine; and in 2019, he received the Bach Festival Award.

Audrey Gábor

Audrey Gábor, an Australian-Hungarian soprano, was born in Sydney, where she earned a double degree in classical singing and theatre studies, followed by a master's degree in opera from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Audrey made her debut as Mercédès in Bizet's Carmen at the Sydney Opera House. Her significant roles include Susanna (Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro), Laetitia (Menotti: The Old Maid and the Thief), Amore (Gluck: Orpheus and Eurydice), Beth (Adamo: Little Women), Juno (Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld), La Paix (Campra: Tancrède), and Ernestine Hill (Boyd: Daisy Bates at Ooldea). Audrey has since moved to Hungary, where she debuted at the Hungarian State Opera in the 2016-17 season in Samu Gryllus's vocal theatre piece Two Women. Her debut was also featured on a recording released by OperaTrezor to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Hungarian State Opera. In the same season, she sang Mimì (Puccini: La Bohème) and Berta (Rossini: The Barber of Seville) with the Művész Symphony Orchestra. Until the 2019-2020 season, she was a soloist in the tourist program of the State Opera House.

As a freelancer, Audrey has worked with numerous ensembles, including the Szolnok, Alba Regia, and Művész Symphony Orchestras. She continues to expand her repertoire with new roles: Micaëla / Frasquita (Carmen), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Despina (Così fan tutte), Serpina (La Serva Padrona), Gilda (Rigoletto). In the 2022-2023 season, she appeared as the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, invited by the Andrea Rost Foundation, at the Solti Hall of the Liszt Academy and the VeszprémFest. Audrey received critical acclaim for her performance with the Győr Ballet in the premiere of Peer Gynt, where she sang the role of Solveig. She is a founding member of Trio Laudor with László Kéringer (tenor) and Orsika Pataki-Tóth (guitar/soprano). She has expanded her concert repertoire with works by J.S. Bach, including the B Minor Mass and the Coffee Cantata, and sings the role of Duemila in Katalin Szalai's opera Interludi. She also performs solo roles in works by Esterházy, Kuhnau, Péter Wolf, and Charpentier and looks forward to many concerts with wonderful chamber partners, one of the highlights being a return to the Csigó Art Fest with Zsombor Tóth-Vajna.



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