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Anya Szreter is a talented British opera and Lieder singer who brought attractive lyricism in Doretta's song from Puccini's La Rondine, matched by her thrilling rendition of Violetta's main act I aria from La Traviata, with pinpoint precision and delicacy in the coloratura.

Anya Szreter as Violetta in the Ware Operatic Society 2002 'Traviata'. Photo: Geoff Bawcutt
Anya Szreter as Violetta in the Ware Operatic Society 2002 'Traviata'. Photo: Geoff Bawcutt

During the interval the audience was regaled with colourful canapés and cocktails, just the right preparation for a lighter second half of songs from the musicals. Anya Szreter achieved a rapt pianissimo in her artfully phrased account of Gershwin's Summertime and a stylish 'Czardas' from Strauss's Fledermaus sung with flair. It was aptly prefaced by a witty performance of Gershwin's By Strauss by Ruti Halvani who also displayed her dramatic qualities in two contrasting songs from Bernstein's West Side Story, a movingly introspective 'Somewhere' and captivating 'I Feel Pretty', and a pair of jazzy Jerome Kern songs to conclude.

The duets included Delibes' deliciously flowing Lakme duet and Offenbach's evergreen 'Barcarolle', while the audience's enthusiasm was repaid by a vivid encore, Rossini's 'Cat duet' which the feline masked singers delivered with unusually lucid textures and panache. Yet it was the Yiddish song Ich Hob Dich Tzufiel Lieb by Olshanetsky which lingered longest in the memory. Its slinky tango melody formed an appealing appetizer for a forthcoming concert 'Mezzomorphosis' which Ruti Halvani is to sing on 16 November 2003, also at Hampstead Town Hall, which features a remarkable programme of art songs inspired by traditional Jewish folksongs.

Copyright © 23 September 2003 Malcolm Miller, London UK



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