Brighton Festival, Various venues, Brighton
Giustino, Trinity College of Music, London

In Brighton, 'Giovanna d'Arco' was performed next to Anish Kapoor's sculpture of dismemberment

It must have been a noisy place, the mind of Joan of Arc. All those visions, all those voices, the tinnitus of celestial commands. From Schiller to Shaw, Tchaikovsky to Verdi, Anatole France to Marina Warner, the story of the 19-year-old patriot, visionary and virgin has fascinated artists and historians.

And, on Monday afternoon, while riot police and anti-war protesters fought in the pleasure gardens, two readings of the same legend collided in the crumbling concrete of Brighton's Old Municipal Market as Anna Grevelius and Chamber Domaine performed Rossini's Giovanna d'Arco from among the blood-red body-parts of Anish Kapoor's Dismemberment of Jeanne d'Arc.

Written for mezzo-soprano and piano in 1832, for private performance by the celebrated courtesan Olympia Pélissier (later to be Rossini's second wife), Giovanna d'Arco celebrates the tomboy heroine of France in limpid, moon-bathed whispers and defiant fioritura. The flames invoked are not those of the stake but those in the eyes of the Angel of Death, for this is Joan on the eve of battle, devout but untried, "a lamb among lions". Orchestrated by Salvatore Sciarrino in 1989, in Rossini's favoured rose and violet timbres, the gran scena's pathos is intensified. A dove-like flute (Anna Wolstenholme) answers Giovanna's plangent questions, a jubilant clarinet (Duncan Prescott) cheers her on through the victory cabaletta, while the bassoons and cellos press and push below, warning of retribution.

It is a measure of Rossini's sophistication that the pity of Giovanna d'Arco works independently from the listener's knowledge of the violent end that awaited Giovanna. Youth and bravery are what touches, and Grevelius's faultless performance – first gently insinuated then incendiary – captured these qualities. Singing from a white scaffold, with the players and conductor Thomas Kemp below, the pure-toned ingénue was a startling contrast to Kapoor's five-part installation: two severed limbs, two conical mounds of igneous rubble, a deep, oval void hacked into the floor; brutal centrepiece of Brighton Festival's sculpture trail and the "after" to Rossini's "before". This is Joan the victim of sexual mutilation: her womb eviscerated, her breasts sliced off, the femininity concealed beneath her armour laid bare and bloody. It didn't happen. Though 15th-century executions operated on the more-is-more principle, her body was burned twice to avoid leaving relics, her ashes scattered in the Seine, her story left open to centuries of interpretations.

There was more girlish vulnerability in Kate Royal's lunchtime lieder recital at the Pavilion Theatre, and another violent death. Schumann's Maria Stuart Lieder progresses from the poignancy of the young queen's "Abschied nach Frankenreich", through the urgency of "An die Königen Elisabeth" and on to the resignation of "Abschied von der Welt" and the final, austere playout of "Gebet". In this, as in Brahms's blanched and bitter "Anklänge", in the exuberant birdsong of "Nachtigallen schwingen" and in the wild lovers' metaphors of "Wie die Wolke nach der Sonne", pianist Christopher Glynn's sensitive voicing and nimble articulation were as impressive as Royal's expressivity. Hers is a generous, open, frank voice that sounds as though it could burst into laughter or tears at any second – and she's a persuasive storyteller.

Save for the Takács Quartet's assured and well-contrasted programme of Haydn, Bartók and Schumann at the Brighton Dome, this has been a week dominated by youthful heroics. In the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich, there was a double dose: that of Giustino, the bear-battling, monster-murdering shepherd-turned-soldier of Handel's 1737 opera, and that of Trinity College of Music Baroque Orchestra, which made its debut in Olivia Fuchs's production, coached and led by baroque violinist Walter Reiter, and conducted from the harpsichord by Philip Thorby.

Long dogged by its runt-of-the-litter reputation among London's conservatoires, Trinity fielded a stylish ensemble, with vividly varied articulation, tone and phrasing from the violins, a delectable trio of recorders (Emma Williams, Julie Dean and Alice Clarke), and an alert and characterful continuo double-bass (Jan Zahourek). Ellan Parry and Johanna Town's production and lighting designs conjured Constantinople's seashore and imperial palace from little more than scaffolding and a scrunch of plastic sheeting, sending miniature battleships speeding across the nave on pulleys and concocting a sea-monster from two giant lobster claws.

Fuchs mobilised her whooping cast of clowns, cleaners, sailors, princesses and political predators through Wren's handsome aisle and galleries. The lack of surtitles (too expensive) proved advantageous as the singers worked overtime to convey the emotional roller-coaster of military machinations, romantic intrigues and improbable perils in song and gesture. This was an infectiously charming, energetic show, with some notably poised singing from young soprano Zoe Bonner (Arianna) and her mezzo sidekick Georgina Murray (Leocasta). Daniel Roddick's feline Amanzio, Peter Kirk's athletic Vitaliano and Matthew Kellett's Polidarte played for maximum laughter, Helena Daffern worked the boy-girl travesto thing as Anastasio, while Cara Curran's shy, bespectacled, valiant Giustino handled her heavy, glossy contralto voice with the half-excited, half-terrified air of a learner driver at the wheel of a very large car.

Festival to 24 May (01273-709709)

Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Albert Hammond Junior of The Strokes performs at the Natural History Museum on July 6, 2006 in London, England.

music
Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tv review
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

The best TV shows and films coming to the service

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003