A pity so few people turned up for Opera on Location’s debut outing, although it wasn’t an entirely perfect affair.
The timeline was broken for a start, in important places given the concert’s enterprising premise, with no Handel, Verdi or Wagner because of last minute vocal indisposition.
It meant company co-founder, tenor Gareth Lloyd, restricted himself to two less vocally exposed ensembles, including an excellent account of the ‘canon’ quartet from Beethoven’s Fidelio.
Young bass Matthew Thistleton began proceedings with an impressive Arise, ye subterranean winds (Purcell’s Tempest) with the low notes there and firm delivery of the vocal melismas. Clearly a burgeoning talent, his voice later proved to be a little short on support and weight at present, however.
Andrea Tweedale got a bit carried away with the Czardas (Fledermaus) but sang it spectacularly and rather tended to over-sing Doretta’s ‘Dream’ (Puccini’s Rondine), almost as if she had not got a worthy rendering of Casta Diva (Bellini’s Norma) out of her voice.
Her Nero in a finely-sung final duet from Monteverdi’s Poppea, Rosie Middleton, sang fabulously throughout, her splendidly focussed mezzo-soprano voice next been heard in a nicely pointed Che faro? (Gluck’s Orfeo) and later providing the evening’s highlight, a lusciously sung Mon coeur s’ouvre à te voix (Samson and Delilah).
Sara Ogden offered beautifully sung, heart-felt accounts of Dido’s Lament and later, Rusalka’s Song to the Moon and Puccini’s O mio babbino caro without the affectation that tends to plague them these days.
All three female voices combined as a vocally formidable trio of Ladies in Mozart’s Magic Flute when they discover the comatose Tamino (replacement item), while Ewan Gilford performed many acrobatic finger wonders in his piano accompaniments.