- May 14, 2018
Glyndebourne was the setting on a fine spring afternoon for a programme of sea inspired songs and words that took us on a journey of pure delight. To start accompanist Julius Drake, a musician at the very top of his game, is so wonderfully engaged in his delivery of these songs that the word accompanist hardly suffices. Perhaps the whole could have only been bettered had he had his own solo moments. Mark Padmore is undoubtedly a fine tenor with a clarity and richness of voice seldom bettered and Roderick Williams’ beautiful baritone voice is rich and expressive. And expressive is perhaps the key to the whole. Many fine singers can stand on a stage and deliver a song with precision of pitch and timing, but few can give a whole performance, a dramatic, poetic delivery that is completely engaging. And when it comes to poetry Rory Kinnear does something that only a fine actor can do. I’m no fan of poetry readings, so often delivered with that received voice, the solemn drabness of “poetry reading” that strips the words of their music and heart. Kinnear recited, seldom looking at his script, in a way that brought those words magically to life, beauty and drama, calm and storm. His final reading of Lear’s The Jumblies was delivered with all the credible reality of a news report – a brilliant moment of stunningly sensible silliness. The afternoon sailed by and to bring the whole into harbour the four returned to the stage and all four performers sang a capella a moving rendition of Shenandoah that reduced me to tears.