“I have seen Tosca many times, including a production in Berlin that included Pavarotti, and I enjoyed your performance as much as any of them and more than most. Cavaradossi was excellent, how nice it is to hear a proper lyrical tenor in these days when the lower register seems to be favoured, as was Tosca. But I have to say that my highest praise is reserved for your Scarpia, who was simply splendid throughout. Not only is his voice absolutely marvellous but, wonder of wonders in Opera, he can act and was beautifully menacing throughout. Tomorrow we go to Cosi fan tutte; I just hope it's as good as you were tonight.”
“excellent singing ...... clever economical staging”
“The London Opera Players put on a superlative production both in the staging and in the performance, I am so pleased to have presented them. I’m looking forward to their next visit!”
The stage was set with colourful hangings for the Andover Music Club concert at The Lights on November 28th. This was given by The New London Opera Players - a group of four professional opera singers with a pianist. They are a versatile and entertaining company and their performance was much enjoyed by the audience. The soprano was Yvonne Patrick with Mezzo-soprano Louise Crane, tenor Robin Pietà, Graham Stone the bass baritone and pianist, Andrew Charity. The first half of the evening was entitled The Savoyards and consisted of well-known arias from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. The Mikado, The Gondoliers, Iolanthe, HMS Pinafore, Yeomen of the Guard and The Pirates of Penzance. These were sung with great enthusiasm. The singers' diction was excellent - so important in G and S when the words tell the story and sometimes the plots of the operettas are quite involved. There was some excellent singing and the duet “Tripping hither”, sung by Yvonne and Louise and the duet “The peers chorus” sung by Robin and Graham were very good. The audience rather enjoyed being addressed as “lower middle class”! Yvonne sang from HMS Pinafore and managed to portray the dilemma she faced very effectively. One of the highlights was the unaccompanied quartet singing the madrigal from the Yeomen of the Guard. The tuning was perfect and the blend of voices really excellent. As is usual with Gilbert and Sullivan some of the libretto was changed to make the aria more topical and Graham's aria “Make the punishment fit the crime” included the X Factor, a billiard cue and other modern subjects. The audience enjoyed joining in the Policeman’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance. After the interval, and a change of dress for the ladies the subject was Wine, Women and Song and we had arias by Verdi, Lehar, Saint-Saëns, Puccini, Leoncavallo, Coward and Strauss. The opening of the second half was the “Drinking song” from La Traviata with the singers enjoying a drink as they had in the first half of the concert. The highlights from the opera part of the programme were Yvonne's “Vilia” from the Merry Widow and Louise singing “Softly awakes my heart” from Samson and Delilah, both beautifully sung with sensitivity and feeling. There were other highlights too. The arias from I Pagliacci were exceptional. The prologue sung by Graham was excellent and Canio's famous aria was very dramatically sung by Robin. He really made one feel that his heart was breaking. A quartet from Rigoletto followed with Robin enjoying playing the part of the lecherous Duke. Noël Coward and Johann Strauss II ended the performance in festive mood with the singers each holding a glass of Champagne. Mention must be made of Andrew Charity's excellent accompaniment. He played with sensitivity and flair throughout setting the mood for each item. It was a sparkling five star performance and will have delighted Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts and opera lovers alike.