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Project information

Purcell The Fairy Queen and King Arthur

Gabrieli will edit and publish, perform and record two of Purcell’s most popular works, The Fairy Queen and King Arthur. The project's legacy will be two excellent new performing editions and energetic, joyous new recordings celebrating these masterpieces of early Baroque theatre.

January 2019 - March 2020

Charity information: Gabrieli Consort & Players

Gabrieli Consort & Players logo
  • Need


    In the 1980s and 1990s there were several new recordings of these operas, but very few new recordings of the works have been made in in the intervening decades. Today there are few up to date recordings available and therefore for anyone without the means to attend concerts regularly, the repertoire has become out of reach. Performers, meanwhile, struggle to interpret and perform from outdated editions with many editing errors, thanks to conflicting, often missing, original sources


    Informed Purcell interpretations have changed radically in recent decades. Gabrieli are standard-bearers for excellence in the scholarship and performance of this repertoire. We will deliver excellent new print editions (informed by years of performance, forensic research of early sources and an understanding of contemporary playing techniques) and 2 definitive new recordings that will both satisfy the baroque expert and entice new listeners, revelling in the music’s elegance, joy and wit.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To produce new editions of both operas that inform and inspire musicians for generations to come.


    » Use early manuscripts, librettists' original wordbooks and contemporary sources to compile new performing editions.
    » Use our detailed knowledge of contemporary instruments and performing techniques to inform editorial and performance decisions.
    » Disseminate our editions and scholarship amongst the wider musical community to share our discoveries and enhance general understanding of this music.
    » Share our scholarship in an accessible manner with audiences and the general public, through journalism, blogs, newsletters, podcasts and other media.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by the editions being widely used and adopted as the authoritative text for this repertoire, cementing our scholars' reputation in the field.

    Aim 2

    To make the definitive recordings of our time of Purcell’s operas King Arthur & The Fairy Queen.


    » Assemble an excellent cast of singers, perfectly suited to this repertoire, combining the leading baroque singers of our generation with rising stars.
    » Harness the expertise of our leading period-instrument musicians to identify correct instruments and adopt correct contemporary performing techniques.
    » Employ academic scholarship to underpin and inform joyous, individual interpretations of great music that can be readily enjoyed by all.
    » Use our reputation as leaders in this field to disseminate our recordings widely, sharing our understanding and enjoyment of the repertoire.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through excellent press coverage, recording awards, good international record sales and increased demand for Gabrieli’s live performances of the music.

    Aim 3

    To increase Gabrieli’s reputation for excellent performances informed by highest calibre scholarship


    » Widely disseminate our recording, made on our own record label but in partnership with one of the UK’s most respected distributors, Signum.
    » Secure excellent PR and marketing for the recordings to ensure wide press coverage, in both specialist and general press, in print and online.
    » Use the recordings as a launchpad to secure further national and international performances, to widen Gabrieli’s audience and network of supporters.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through critical praise, increased membership of our supporter schemes, larger audiences and increased demand for Gabrieli to perform this repertoire.

  • Impact


    Our impact and legacy will be to give audiences and musicians a thorough understanding of sources for Purcell’s music, how the music might originally have been performed, the pragmatic compromises available to satisfy modern performance situations (recordings, opera in concert), the instruments and contemporary performance techniques used.
    Our recordings will demonstrate the impact of rigorous scholarship: it is not the stuff of dusty libraries but the vital lifeblood of excellent performance.


    The greatest risk is that of unsuccessful fundraising, mitigated by:
    Strong support amongst our directors, evidenced by special major gifts & their increased fundraising activity;
    A good schedule of performances prior to recording, publicising the project and fundraising campaign;
    Building up charity reserves to enable us to invest directly in the project if necessary.
    There is also a risk if other ensembles make similar recordings – we have minimised this risk by researching others’ plans.


    Major donors will be invited to attend recording sessions, meet artists, meet researchers, and see the performing materials and original manuscripts. Personal correspondence and newsletters will inform all donors on fundraising progress, record sales, future performances and use of our new editions.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £150,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £34,500 Artist costs Fees for soloists and conductor
      £30,300 Artist costs Fees for orchestra and consort singers
      £10,000 Research costs Research, editing, material preparation
      £31,200 Production team Record producer, engineer, sound editing
      £18,000 Manufacture CD design and manufacture
      £10,000 Venue Recording venue for 2 weeks of recording sessions
      £12,500 Administration Administrative costs
      £3,500 Contingency Calculated at a relatively low level (2.5%) as the repertoire and artists are well known to us

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Alan Gemes £30,000 Guaranteed
    Richard Brown £5,000 Guaranteed
    Truell Charitable Trust £5,000 Guaranteed
    Paul McCreesh £10,000 Guaranteed
    Jan Louis Burggraaf £8,750 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The recording will be made in London, in private sessions to which major donors will be invited. Preparation for the project has included international and national performances and we are planning many more future performances. The CDs will be released internationally, made available on free streaming services such as Spotify, trailed on our website, social media and other sites such as YouTube, ensuring that we reach the widest possible audience, sharing our learning and love of the music.


    Our recordings will enable new understanding and appreciation of these operas, which in turn will encourage more performances and recordings, to the benefit of musicians and audiences, professional and amateur alike. Gabrieli’s musicians - soloists, orchestra and academics, will benefit from having a clear record of their great skill in this repertoire. Gabrieli will benefit organisationally by further enhancing their credentials as leading exponents of the early Baroque repertoire.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Having performed this music throughout our 4 decades of existence, Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli are regarded as the foremost Purcell interpreters of our day, delivering distinctive, individual performances underpinned by robust scholarship. We are renowned and trusted for the highest calibre of research and its rigorous application in performance; we have earned a place within the musical community where we have the admiration and respect to be able to effect real change in performance trends.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Paul McCreesh

    Artistic Director, researching repertoire in partnership with Christopher Suckling, combining rigorous research with pragmatic performance decisions.

    Dr Christopher Suckling

    Scholar and musicologist who has studied contemporary manuscripts, text sources and performance accounts to create our new performing edition.

    Carolyn Sampson

    The foremost Baroque soprano of our day, Carolyn Sampson will lead our cast, attract press coverage and encourage high record sales.

    John McMunn

    Gabrieli General Manager, John McMunn is responsible for the careful budgeting and logistical delivery of this complex project.

'Purcell doesn't come much better than this ... there was plenty to delight the ear'

The Times, 6 November 2018