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Mark's girlfriend Jenifer was played by Amanda Roocroft. Like Hartman, Roocroft is currently mixing lyric and more dramatic roles. Jenifer is perhaps a surprising departure for her given her recent successes in Janácek's operas, but she made her début as Madame Butterfly quite recently so is obviously determined not to be pigeonholed.

Will Hartman as Mark and Amanda Roocroft as Jenifer at the end of Act III. Photo © 2005 Bill Cooper
Will Hartman as Mark and Amanda Roocroft as Jenifer at the end of Act III. Photo © 2005 Bill Cooper

Both singers made attractive leads and convincingly made the transition from arguing young lovers to archetypes. Both have, in the past, had voices which were comfortable with lyric coloratura (as a student, Roocroft sang Alcina at the Royal Northern College of Music), but today neither has an ideal voice for Tippett's elaborate effusions which are so much part of the colour of this opera. Both sang credibly and confidently and I have little to complain of beyond lamenting that Roocroft and Hartman are not Joan Sutherland and Richard Lewis, the singers who created Jenifer and Mark.

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Copyright © 13 November 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK

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Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller