Archive for April, 2014

Review: Ely Choral Society’s performance of the Mozart Requiem in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 12th April 2014.

April 14, 2014

Ely Choral Society filled Ely Cathedral with some powerful music in their concert featuring Mozart’s Requiem last Saturday. Conductor Andrew Parnell, brought this huge choir, expert orchestra and a fine group of soloists together to create a potent effect in their performance. He had no difficulty in drawing out some very effective contrasts and expression from this massive group of performers and was invariably aware of the musical effect in maintaining a vibrant, energizing pace. The Ely Festival orchestra, led by Helen Medlock, and Edmund Aldhouse (organ) gave excellent support for this compelling choir and the soloists, Daisy Brown (soprano), Katie Schofield (mezzo soprano), Oliver Johnston (tenor), and Henry Neill (bass) were first rate.
The concert opened with ‘Vesperae Solennes de Confessore’ by Mozart in which the enthusiasm and personal involvement of the singers in the choir immediately became apparent. The highlight of this work was undoubtedly the ‘Laudate Dominum’ in which the sheer beauty of the composition was enhanced by exquisite tone, timing, cohesion, control and balance.
Mozart’s appealing sense of joy was reflected in the performance of the ‘Requiem’ while at the same time, its moments of reflection, excitement and darkness were coloured magnificently. Andrew’s astute timing brought this familiar work alive and the sizeable audience were soon caught up in the radiant atmosphere this wonderful performance created.
The next performance to enjoy will be on Saturday 12th July when Ely Choral Society will perform a concert version of Bizet’s ‘Carmen’.
Contact: http://www.elychoralsociety.org
Rosemary Westwell

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Review: ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ presented by Wilburton Theatre Group in St. Peter’s Hall Wilburton on Friday 11th April.

April 14, 2014

Review: ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ presented by Wilburton Theatre Group in St. Peter’s Hall Wilburton on Friday 11th April.
The title of this musical was intriguing. How could anyone make a show out of a Spelling Bee? Well, Wilburton Theatre Group, under the excellent directorship of Emily Starr, made more than just an entertaining show of this script, they wowed the packed audience with delightful scenarios that brought the characters alive and the house down. The show positively sparkled, it was well paced, the music was highly accomplished and there were wonderful moments in the choreography.
Louis Prime will never be forgotten for his portrayal of the emerging adolescent, Chip Tolentino, India Barton played the rigid Lograinne Schwartzandgrubenniere to a tee and Lacey Webdale effectively portrayed Leaf Coneybear with her tizzy ways contrasting wonderfully with those hypnotic moments when suddenly, she could spell. Tim Meikle was absolutely brilliant as the know-it-all William Barfée much maligned by the frequent mispronunciation of his name. Tim’s foot movements were fantastic. Not to be outdone, Emily played a wonderful dead-pan Marcy Park, at one time causing the audience to ‘ah’ as she easily did the splits. Nadia Saif gave the character Olive Ostrovsky emotional depth, while Becky Gilbert (as Rona Lisa Perretti), Tim Brown (Vice Principal Douglas Panch) and Mitch Mahony (Mark Wright) were credible adults with their own particular hang-ups. Douglas Panch’s and Mitch Mahone’s backgrounds were particularly intriguing.
Although a small cast, many of the actors had no trouble portraying other key characters in the show making the characters stand out with their noticeably different traits in a way that disguised their duplicate roles really well and the impromptu additional spellers invited from the audience all acquitted themselves most fittingly.
The music under the directorship of Richard Hayward was a major contribution to the sparkle and vivacity of the show. His team Keith Hayward (synthesizer), Lisa Verrinder (clarinet and alto saxophone) and Helen Hayward (trombone) provided secure and assured accompaniment to the drama. Highlights for me were Olive and Barfee’s ‘Pas de Deux’, Olive and Parents the ‘I Love you Song’, Chip’s ‘Lament’ and Marcy and Girls’ ‘I speak six languages’.
Emily Starr and her team are to be congratulated for a wonderful night’s entertainment.
Future events include Summer Plays for the Hunstanton Drama Festival at Wilburton: ‘Dracula Revived’ and possibly a youth play – ‘The Exam’ and at Hunstanton 10-13th July and possibly at Wilburton 18th and 19th July. ‘Batman the Panto’ will be performed 11,12, 13th December 2014.
For more information contact: http://www.wilburton.org.uk/theatregroup
Rosemary Westwell

Ely area news

The title of this musical was intriguing. How could anyone make a show out of a Spelling Bee? Well, Wilburton Theatre Group, under the excellent directorship of Emily Starr, made more than just an entertaining show of this script, they wowed the packed audience with delightful scenarios that brought the characters alive and the house down. The show positively sparkled, it was well paced, the music was highly accomplished and there were wonderful moments in the choreography.

Louis Prime will never be forgotten for his portrayal of the emerging adolescent, Chip Tolentino, India Barton played the rigid Lograinne Schwartzandgrubenniere to a tee and Lacey Webdale effectively portrayed Leaf Coneybear with her tizzy ways contrasting wonderfully with those hypnotic moments when suddenly, she could spell. Tim Meikle was absolutely brilliant as the know-it-all William Barfée much maligned by the frequent mispronunciation of his name. Tim’s foot movements were fantastic. Not to…

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Review: Ely Sinfonia playing Elgar in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 29th March 2014.

April 5, 2014

Steve Bingham has reached astounding levels of musicality with Ely Sinfonia. In the concert last night they were positively inspired and brought Elgar’s music alive with almost tangible excitement. While strong patriotism was present, what transfixed us was the sheer joy the musicians exuded as they revelled in Elgar’s sweeping phrases, emotional exuberance, lyrical tenacity and thrilling and colourful orchestration

‘Introduction and Allegro for Strings’ was magnificent, featuring The Cassia String Quartet and refining the music with precision and soul – even in the ‘devilish’ fugue. It was sheer magic.

The ‘Sea pictures’ were sung by the impressive mezzo-soprano Hannah Pedley. Voice and orchestra captured the messages and atmosphere of the poems beautifully.

The evening culminated with one of the most vibrant performances I have heard of the popular ‘Enigma Variations’. Highlights for me included the familiar seventh variation (Troyte) in which they created a fantastic storm, while the well-known ‘Nimrod’, the ninth variation, was particularly dynamic, maintaining its inherent potency with exquisite control.  All the other characters were there in full splendour including the charming Caroline Alice Elgar, the composer’s wife, the bombastic local squire who ‘spoke’ very energetically, the stammering Dora Penny and the accident-prone bulldog.

This was indeed a splendid evening.

The next performance by Ely Sinfonia will be as part of the Ely Festival and they will be presenting Mozart for Midsummer on Friday June 20th in Ely Cathedral Presbytery at 8 pm.

Contacts: http://www.elysinfonia.co.uk http://www.stevebingham.co.uk