Archive for June, 2014

Review of ‘Golden Moments from Opera’ at Chatteris on Saturday 21st June 2014.

June 22, 2014


Hatstand Opera presented some golden moments from opera on Saturday in Chatteris for the Music Society. This was one of the many high profile events the Society has organized and it was, indeed, a series of ‘golden’ moments.

Opera favourites were mixed with lesser known delights in this varied programme and the evening ended with some highly entertaining re-workings of more, familiar tunes. The whole evening was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, because not only was the singing first-rate but joy and humour regularly infused the programme, leaving us mesmerised.

Toni Nunn (soprano), Kirsty Young (mezzo), and Jochem van Ast (baritone) were in fine voice and very ably accompanied by pianist Sue Graham Smith. Songs were sung mostly in English but we were entertained with some delightful numbers in their original language. The French sounds of ‘The Flower Duet’ helped to make this one of the most memorable items. Toni and Kirstys’ voices were perfectly matched in this piece as were all voices in ‘Soave sia el vento’ from Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart.

The highlight for me was Toni’s performance of ‘Vissi d’arte’ from Puccini’s ‘Tosca’. The Italian language, the smooth phrases infused with passion and, of course, the wonderful voice was transfixing.

Kirsty and Jochem were also impressive singers and their characterization and humour were most engaging. There was not a dull moment in this array of opera gems.

Meanwhile, constantly providing expert support was Sue Graham Smith on piano. No matter how intricate or rapid the accompaniment, she played with absolute security and accuracy, adapting to the songs’ mood swings perfectly.

This was a highly entertaining evening well worthy of its enthusiastic support.

The next event offered by Chatteris Music Society will be a free piano recital by Natalia Williams-Wandoch on Saturday 26th July at the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul at mid-day.


For Chatteris Music Society: or

Review: Hannah Roberts (‘cello) and Simon Parkin (piano) at the Hayward Theatre in Ely on Friday night 20th June 2014.

June 22, 2014

ImageHannah Roberts (‘cello) and Simon Parkin (piano) gave a splendid concert on Friday night in the Hayward Theatre as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series. They played works by Beethoven, Fauré, Debussy, Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss. Fauré ‘s ‘Elegie, op 24’, a very well-known piece, was played on an instrument made by Robin Aitchison who was in the audience.

This duo played with potency, verve and excellent syncopation. Hannah brought out most beautiful rich sounds from her instruments while Simon exhibited tremendous technique and timing. These two were particularly good at maintaining a sense of excitement and anticipation, never missing an opportunity to vary the expression and build up the climaxes to tremendous heights.

In the opening Beethoven sonata the musicians were masters of surprise, highlighted the contrasting louds and softs. In this work, Simon’s meticulous articulation became immediately apparent.

Fauré’s popular ‘Élégie’ was as sonorous and melodious as hoped for.

Debussy’s Sonate contained expressive long phrases with many reminders of his unique transparent style in the piano part – the Submerged Cathedral, for example. Hannah gave a very good impression of a passionate guitarist in the second movement while in the final ‘Finale’ the performers set our souls free with their uninhibited involvement.

After interval, Mendelssohn’s ‘Variations Concertantes, Op 17’ were wonderful, the phrases cleanly executed and movement between notes in the ‘cello was particularly smooth and seamless.

The final ‘Sonata in F, op.6’ by Richard Strauss opened strongly with the varied demands of articulation within the phrases beautifully managed. The second movement, ‘Andante ma non troppo’, contained meaningful pensive moments with Simon bringing out key notes on the piano particularly well. The final ‘Allegro vivo’, was, indeed, lively while the ‘cello positively sang at times and the timing between the performers was beautifully synchronised, no matter how tricky the parts.

This was a wonderful concert. The next in the series will feature Dan Curzon (horn) and Elliot Launn (Piano) and will be on Friday 19th September in the Recital Hall, 1930.

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