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Baroquestock and barrels of fun at Heath Street Baptist Church

03 May, 2019 — By Michael White

Baroquestock cast, crew and orchestra

MUSIC and eating are two things that tend not to go together in your average concert hall, but they do at Baroquestock – which is the mouth-watering name for nine days of concerts with food that are about to run at Hampstead’s Heath Street Baptist Church.

My experience of it from previous years is that it’s slightly chaotic but fun. And the programme this year is astonishingly busy, with a lot of interesting off-piste repertoire that’s worth a journey if you have an ear for the baroque.

It starts this Friday with an ambitious performance of Rameau’s opera Dardanus: an 18th-century Parisian extravagance of battles, monsters and magic that’s only being done here in concert (so alas, no chariots or ostrich feathers) but should still be an event. And as you watch, you will be served French crêpes which ought to sweeten the experience.

Other concerts feature serious quantities of music by Zelenka, the Bohemian baroque superstar whose sound-world can be strange and fiendish to perform (which is why you don’t often hear it). And venturing beyond the baroque, there’s Mozart, Michael Haydn (with Tiramisu) on Saturday; the medieval mysticism of Hilde­gard of Bingen in­triguingly combined with modern electro-acoustic works (and Focaccia) on Wednesday; Norwegian folk music on Thursday; and a clearly unmiss­able “jacket-potato ceilidh” next Friday, May 10.

Involving coach-loads of musicians from Britain, Austria, Norway and elsewhere, there’s so much going on in these nine days that you need to check the website for details. As I say, it may not prove the last word in smooth-running concert admin, but it’s an experience. Go with an open mind and empty stomach.

• Baroquestock, May 3-12, single tickets for all events £10; three concert pass £25; access all concerts £65; Heath St Baptist Church, Heath St, NW3: www.baroquestock.com

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