In October 2018 we performed three shows of our first Haydn Opera!  You can find out more about the show, the cast and production team here. Here is a review of the opera:

Baroque music and food being things both dear to my heart, I was delighted to happen upon “Baroquestock”, a gang that exists on a wing and a prayer and is appropriately based at the Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead. Over the last couple of years a fruitful relationship has blossomed here, the church turning over its weekday facilities to music, and the enthusiastic oboeist/accordionist/cook Nicola Barbagli, along with bassist John-Henry Baker, taking full advantage with his orchestra Istante and this umbrella organisation which sounds like a Guy Richie film in perruques and powder. So far, Baroquestock has been a springtime festival of concerts and comestibles; these performances of Haydn’s Lo speziale in October were the first staged opera (and came with “Esterhaza” foccaccia and riso-printed libretto zines, so there).

After the usual traumas of pants-seat rehearsal, this turned out very well, and got a pretty good audience. This 1768 opera was partly destroyed in a fire at the Esterhazy palace, so every performance has to botch up the third act; actually by this time (what with the usual dodgy 18th-century dramaturgy) the outcome of the plot is entirely clear, so perhaps not too much is lost. The usual commedia-derived love-triangle comedy, with added pharmaceuticals, zips by on Haydn’s usual light-footed blend of capricious imagination, and prefigures Mozart’s operas in a way that reminds you what a fabulously strong idiom they had going in those days, with pre-echoes of all the da Pontes in script and musical treatment. Those princelings of course had long evenings to fill, so some of Haydn’s fully-worked-out sonata forms can usefully be abbreviated, but despite the somewhat remedial humour of cross-dressing, false beards and the usual fancy-dress Turk stuff, this was full of charm and life.

And there was more class here in musical terms than one could reasonably expect: the small Istante ensemble is full of good players, the quartet of Trinity Laban alumni singers entirely professional, and all held together by John Andrews, conducting with his usual elegance and impetus. There is plenty of instrumental detail, plus Haydn’s usual larks and jovial titivation; maybe one doesn’t learn too much about the world, but Haydn is always packed with human warmth, communicated here with affection. Director Irene Biancalani and designer Salvatore Tabone produced a pretty impressive two-tier stage in the chancel, complete with fully-equipped chemist’s shop, and drew much sparky character-playing from the singers. In a tight ensemble performance by the quartet, Emily Gray, Hilary Cronin, Alexander Pidgen and William Branston, it’s invidious to pick anyone out, but really good to see Emily Gray performing again; a notable child singer a while back, she has returned as a funny and smart mezzo with a really nicely nuanced voice and a glint in the eye. We’ll be hearing much more from her.

Robert Thicknesse, Opera Now


April 10, 2018 Lunchtime Concert #3 

“Blasted Boccherini”

L. Boccherini
Quintet in d minor G436 for oboe, 2 violins, viola & cello
Quintet G337 for 2 violins, viola, cello & contrabasso G337
Sextet in e flat major G467 for violin oboe basson horn viola & contrabasso

March 27, 2018 Lunchtime Concert #2

1pm at Heath Street Baptist Church, NW3 1 DN

“Schubert’s Quintet”

F. Schubert Quintet in C minor for 2 violin viola and 2 cellos D965 Op. posth 163

February 20, 2018 – 9.45pm Istante Classical  in Arezzo

at Circolo Arci Aurora , Piazza Sant’Agostino, Arezzo (IT)

part of ClassicAurora2018


February 18, 2018 – 6pm Istante Classical in Prato

at Ex Chiesa di San Giovanni, Via San Giovanni 9, Prato (IT)

in collaboration with Ex Chiesa di San Giovanni

February 17, 2018 – 9pm Istante Classical in Florence

at Sala Capitolare della chiesa di Santa Felicita, Piazza Santa Felicita 3, Firenze (IT)

in collaboration with KOF (Konzert Opera Florence)

February 13, 2018 Lunchtime Concert #1

1pm at Heath Street Baptist Church, NW3 1 DN

“Little Gems in odd Shapes”

F. L. Gassmann Divertimento in E flat for oboe , 2 violas & cello
I. Playel Notturno in B flat for oboe , 2 horns , 2 violas & bass
M. Haydn Divertimento in G for viola , oboe, 2 horns, cello & bass

February 3, 2018 – 9 pm Istante Folk

at SpazioSeme, via del Pantano 36, Arezzo (IT)

Ceilidh Evening

in collaboration with Semillita Atelier

ISTANTE at Brighton Early Music Festival

November 4, 2017 – 3pm: SHOWCASE ‘Shifting Identities’ at St. Paul’s Parish Church, 60 West St, Brighton BN1 2RS, UK

November 4, 2017 – 9pm: PUB GIG ‘Cimarosa’s Travels’ at The Rose Hill, 70-71 Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, BN1 4JL

ISTANTE at Heath Street Baptist Church

June 13, 2017, – 1pm
Venue: Heath Street Baptist Church, Hampstead, London NW3 1DP

Music by Monteverdi, Telemann and Bach

ISTANTE at St. Stephen’s Festival

June 7, 2017 – 7.30pm
Venue: St Stephen’s Church, Gloucester Road, London SW7 4RL

Vivaldi Concerto for Strings in g minor, RV157
Bach Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060
Vivaldi 4 Seasons


Venue: Heath Street Baptist Church, London NW3 1DP

BeerBratwurstBach Round 1

April 23, 2017 – 6pm

Zelenka Hypocondrie à 7 concertanti
J.S.Bach Suite No.2

~ Beer and BBQ ~

J.S.Bach Brandenburg 5
Telemann Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth (Water music)

Istante Ensemble conducted by Joel Sandelson

April 27, 2017 – 7.30pm

L. Boccherini Sinfonia in A major op.37 n.4
W.A.Mozart “E Susanna non vien..Dove sono i bei momenti” , recitativo acocmpagnato and aria form Don Giovanni

J. Haydn “Infelice sventurata” HobXXIVb:15 wirtten as an insert of Cimarosa’s “I due supposti conti”
W.A. Mozart Sinfonia in A major n.29 Kv299

Pancakes and freshly brewed coffee with Haydn

April 29, 2017 – 11am

Haydn Quartet op.76 n.3 “Sunrise”

Haydn Symphony No.6 Le Matin

Lunch with Haydn

April 29, 2017 – 1pm

K. Stamitz Quartet for violin oboe, viola, cello op.8 n.4
J. Haydn Symphony No.7 ‘Le Midi’

Dinner at the Esterhazy’s

April 29, 2017 – 7.30pm

M. Haydn Divertimento for violin, viola, oboe, bassoon & double bass
J. Haydn Symphony No.8 ‘Le Soir

Sunday Service w/Cantata

April 30, 2017 – 11am

Instante Ensemble directed by Maggie Faultless with guest harpsichordist Christopher Bucknall

Bach Cantata BWV 112 “Der Herr Mein Getreuer Hirt”

BeerBratwurstBach Round 2

April 30, 2017 – 7.30pm

Bach Brandeburg 1
Telemann Concerto for 4 violins G major

~ Beer and BBQ ~

Telemann Concerto for 3 violins 3 oboes and continuo
Bach Cantata BWV112 “Der Herr Mein Getreuer Hirt”

— Thank you!!! See you next year at Baroquestock 2018!!!—

ISTANTE at ClassicAurora 2017

January 24, 2017 at 21:30
Venue: Circolo Aurora, Piazza Sant’Agostino, 52100 Arezzo, Italia

“Oboisti e Oboismi”

Lunchtime Concert – Schubert

November 15, 2016 – 1pm
Venue: Heath Street Baptist Church, London NW3 1DP

Franz Schubert Octet in F major

Lunchtime Concert – Shifting Identities

November 22, 2016 – 1pm
Venue: Heath Street Baptist Church, London NW3 1DP

W. A. Mozart Oboe quartet KV370
M. Haydn  Divertimento in B flat for violin, oboe, viola, bassoon and double bass
P. Wranitzky Sextet in D minor for flute , oboe, violin, 2 violas and cellowithNicola Barbagli – oboe

Istante at St Stephen’s Church Festival

June 8, 2016 – 7.30pm
Venue: St Stephen’s Church, Gloucester Rd, London SW7 4RL



Venue: Heath Street Baptist Church – 84, Heath Street Hampstead, London SE7 7NP

MOSTLY PURCELL | Friday 1st April, 2016 – 19:30

FRENCH FANCIES | Saturday 2nd, 2016 – 13:00

FOUR SEASONS w/seasonal seasonings| Saturday 2nd, 2016 – 19:30

BRATWURST, BEER & BACH | Sunday 3rd, 2016 – 18:00