Mad Dog: The Elizabethan Lute

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Hopkinson Smith is best known as a virtuoso lutenist, but it is tempting to call him a master time traveller too.

Effortlessly guiding listeners through the rich harmonies and lyrical intensity of early music, his captivating musicianship resembles pure magic.

Hopkinson Smith performs solo masterpieces from the late 16th century. His charisma, emotional immediacy and technical assurance is a divine match for the highly charged melodic music of John Dowland, Anthony Holborne, John Johnson and William Byrd. Hopkinson Smith is a founding member of Jordi Savall’s revered ensemble Hespèrion XXI, and a legendary exponent of the lute.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre


Music by John Dowland, Anthony Holborne, John Johnson and Wiliam Byrd.


Lute player Hopkinson Smith is still a phenomenon at the age of 70. No one can bring the Renaissance to life in a way that is as sprightly, as crisp and with as much melancholy as he.

Smith’s approach is the same: locate the soul of each piece through the most sophisticated and subtle use of extemporized embellishment you’ll ever hear. Yes, it’s that good.