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Opera Gala 21

by on 15 June 2021

Grand Passions Portrayed

Opera Gala 21

Rose Opera at Normansfield Theatre, Teddington, 12th June

Review by Helen Astrid

Opera excerpts from George Frederick Handel to William Walton provided a selection of arias, duets and trios to less well-known pieces at Rose Opera’s Gala latest gala evening.  Indeed, they rose to the occasion with aplomb showcasing some of their up-and-coming talents.

Rose Opera’s co-founder Tamara Ravenhill opened the programme singing the luscious Io son l’umile ancella, from Cilèa’s rarely performed Adriana Lecouvreur.  The romantic and voluptuous vocal line was finely rendered in her performance.

Baritone, Ian Helm was in fine voice singing Pierrot’s Tanzlied from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt another uncommon choice for UK opera houses.  The harmonic and melodic parallels with Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos was apparent and more so in the virtuosic piano reduction of the orchestral score.  The opera contains the stunning Marietta’s Lied, one for the next concert perhaps.

Die Tote Stadt Linz Opera

No opera gala would be complete without Handel, Mozart and Verdi providing staple repertoire.  Luckily, we had all three and more.  The charming Anna Marie McLachlan sang Sta nell’Ircana pietrosa tana from Handel’s Alcina, a bright and effervescent performance displaying her qualities to that of a fine soubrette though in this case, a trouser role.  Da Capo arias require elaborate decoration – after all this is the moment we’re all waiting for; let’s have the icing on the cake.

Rossini’s Sois immobile from Guillaume Tell was ably sung by Crispin Lewis, an aria of Verdi proportions (even though Verdi was just sixteen years old when it was premiered in Paris in 1829).  Another French aria was given by one of Rose Opera’s Young Artists, Matt Seacombe who delivered an assured Avant de quitter ces Lieux from Gounod’s Faust.  A big sing for such a young voice though with the absence of an orchestra, it nevertheless worked well on piano, superbly played by Andrew Robinson.

Guillaume Tell Welsh National Opera

One would not normally associate Tchaikovsky with an Austrian composer yet the trio from his Queen of Spades, Intermezzo, Faithful Shepherdesses in Act 2, Scene IV,is not unlike the dance-like lilt in Giovani Liete from Le Nozze di Figaro.  Could it be that Tchaikovsky took inspiration from Mozart when at five years old he heard Vedrai carino from Don Giovanni, reducing him to tears?  Lorna Perry excelled as Milovzor with a strong and even delivery.  A suitable end to the first half.

The highlight for me was the duet Uzh vecher , again from The Queen of Spades, beautifully sung by Tamara Ravenhill and Elizabeth Deacon, their voices blending effortlessly and sung with graceful elegance.  Mention must also go to Ravenhill’s Pace, Pace mio Dio from Verdi’s La Forza del destino, where Leonora calls on God to grant her eternal peace: a demanding sing for any lyric soprano and well executed on this occasion.

Rose Opera concluded the evening with the finale from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, an appropriate choice of repertoire to incorporate the entire cast of singers.  Pian, pianin le andro piu presso, gave the ensemble the chance to sing in one of the most glorious ensembles ever written.  Benedict Collins Rice conducted with generous assurance.  Love and forgiveness prevail over deceit, greed and skirt-chasing.  Da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist said “The portrayal of grand passions is not my strength” which is hard to believe given the exuberance by which Rose Opera concluded its Opera Gala. 

Helen Astrid, June 2021

Photography by Tom Medwell, Francisco Peralta Torrejón and Clive Bada

From → Opera, Recital, Rose Opera

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