The Queen without a Realm

Saturday 8 October, 7.00pm

Flauguissimo Ensemble

Emily Atkinson, soprano

Yu-Wei Hu, flute

David López, violin

Johan Löfving, theorbo

Masumi Yamamoto, harpsichord

The young Christina was raised to be an enlightened queen in a brutal age of war and conquest. With her great interest in religion, philosophy, mathematics and alchemy, she attracted leading thinkers to Stockholm in her quest to make it the "Athens of the North".

As a woman far ahead of her time, Queen Christina’s decisions not to marry and to convert to Catholicism both caused great scandal and even a constitutional crisis in the 17th-century Protestant Sweden. She abdicated her throne and went into exile. In 1655, to celebrate her official conversion in Innsbruck, the opera L'Argia was composed for her by the celebrated composer Antonio Cesti. The opera was performed twice during the week-long lavish party which almost bankrupted the Archduke of Austria!

During her visits to France, Christina was an honoured guest of the young Louis XIV and his mother as well as Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, one of Lully’s early patrons. Later, Christina was warmly welcomed by the Pope and settled in Rome where she founded the Academy of Arcadia in 1656. She was a great patron to many poets, artists and musicians, including L. Colista, A. Stradella and A. Scarlatti. Even the great violinist and composer Corelli was taken under her wings and he dedicated his first work, Sonate da chiesa opus 1, to Christina.

With Christina’s lavish events and parties reimagined, we invite you back in time to enjoy a dazzling musical evening (with a glass of Prosecco!) at the beautiful Swedish Church London by candlelight.

Flight of Fancy

Sunday 9 October, 4.00pm

Sam Brown, lute

The countless personalities of the lute held sway over European audiences for centuries. A vehicle of elegance and ecstasy in equal measure, this modest-looking instrument had the ability to capture the hearts of Kings and Queens alike, not to mention that of the great Bard himself.

Join lutenist Sam Brown for an intimate afternoon soiree, showing the rich variety of plucked sounds from the early 17th century, including music by Dowland and Holborne.