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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Hugill    FLUID PERFORMANCE


Judith Howarth's singing of Elvira's music was glorious and apparently free from strain -- she tossed off Elvira's roulades with ease and included some notable high notes. All the more impressive, given that she stepped in at short notice to replace an ailing Clare Rutter. It seems churlish to complain when presented with such a consummate account of Elivra's music, but if Howarth's performance lacked anything, it was temperament. I wished that she had brought more character to the music, something more than cool perfection. But perhaps this is something which would come with more rehearsals and the help of a good producer.

Conductor Dominic Wheeler kept good control of the performance, allowing Bellini's endless melodies to flow beautifully, though occasionally I would have liked to dally more. More problematically, he failed to rein in the enthusiasm of the choir and orchestra and there were moments when the singers were covered.

As ever, the Chelsea Opera Group orchestra produced a wonderfully fluid performance. Bellini's orchestration may not be the most sophisticated, but the orchestra obviously appreciated the music's beauty. Bellini gives the chorus a significant role in this opera, and the chorus of Chelsea Opera Group seized its opportunities with relish but perhaps with more enthusiasm than style.

This was a performance of which any opera company would have been proud, more so, as Chelsea Opera Group was giving us the chance to hear an opera missing from London for some time.

Copyright © 13 June 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK





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