- May 18, 2019
The first notes from Frederick Jones (tenor) told us we were in for a treat. His powerful, clear voice filled the generous acoustic with love-sick Oronte’s poignant aria from Handel’s ‘Alcina’.
Later he sang Lensky’s tragic aria from ‘Eugene Onegin’, usually quite safely contained within the action of Tchaikovsky’s opera, but sung as a concert solo it was utterly heart-breaking.
Fully at ease on the platform, Sam Carl, a resonant bass-baritone, entertained us as Mozart’s witty Figaro with a wonderful range of indignation, frustration and determination. His comic skills were even stronger in Rossini’s Slander aria from ‘The Barber of Seville’, and he went brilliantly over-the-top in Bizet’s drunken showpiece ‘Quand la flamme de l’amour’.
Harry Thatcher (baritone) gave us Mozart’s scheming Count Almaviva, also from ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, and later some fine bel canto singing Riccardo’s aria from Bellini’s ‘I Puritani’. His voice then seemed to glow as he sang Wolfram’s sublime prayer to the evening star from Wagner’s ‘Tannhäuser’.
Texan tenor Sahel Salam melted our hearts with Nemorino’s naïvely optimistic aria from Donizetti’s ‘L’elisir D’amore’. Slight, chatty and yet full-voiced, Salam also made a convincing Rodolfo impressing Puccini’s cold-handed Mimi with a ringing top ‘C’. He also calmed the justifiable applause with a tender encore, Quilter’s setting of Tennyson’s sonnet ‘Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal’.
Sometimes joint recitals can seem competitive, but each of these singers is so accomplished and distinctive that they delivered a well-rounded programme, magnificently accompanied throughout by Matthew Fletcher, who was clearly enjoying the concert as much as everyone else.
All Saints’ Church, Hove,
17 May 2019