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Michael Bracegirdle as Malcolm has even less to do, but he did it very well indeed. Similarly Staphanie Corley (as the Lady in Waiting) and Daniel Grice (in three small roles) fulfilled the needs of the opera more than adequately and I hope to hear them in bigger roles next time.

Verdi's orchestration in Macbeth is strong and rich, as befits the subject matter; the choral accompaniments are often brass rich. Chelsea Opera Group fielded a band of some eighty players (plus off-stage banda). Under the admirable baton of Brad Cohen they played superbly, giving a fully professional account of the score with some superbly nuanced playing. But without a pit, there is no doubt that the score came over strongly, and this gave the Chelsea Opera Group chorus some trouble in the livelier passages. This was particularly true of the scenes for the witches when the female chorus is split into three. The chorus sang manfully but sometimes fought a losing battle. A little more help from Brad Cohen's baton might also have improved the cohesiveness of the choral performance. But for all their faults, the chorus did give a performance which was strong on commitment and energy.

As ever, this was an impressive performance from Chelsea Opera Group. In recent years they have managed to combine extremely strong casts with some very strong performances, I only hope this continues. Plans for next season include Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur (with Nelly Miricioiu) and Rossini's Guillaume Tell (with Majella Cullagh).

Copyright © 2 April 2008 Robert Hugill, London UK

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BELLINI'S 'BEATRICE DI TENDA' AT CHELSEA OPERA GROUP

VERDI'S 'ATTILA' AT CHELSEA OPERA GROUP

'MACBETH' AT COVENT GARDEN

CHELSEA OPERA GROUP

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