Monday 11 January 2016

Ilona Domnich says thank-you with Gilda, Mimi and Tatyana

Alexander James Edwards, Ilona Domnich, James McOran-Campbell - image from Ilona Domnich's Facebook page
Alexander James Edwards, Ilona Domnich
& James McOran-Campbell
image from Ilona Domnich's Facebook page
The soprano Ilona Domnich has had a busy year, not only a series of roles including Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme, the four heroines in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann and the title role in Lehar's The Merry Widow, but the release of her solo CD, Surrender: Voices of Persephone, a disc of opera arias with Leo Nucci, the Southbank Sinfonia and Simon Over.

As a way of thanking all those involved in her journey, and to celebrate, she gave a private 'Thank you' concert on Saturday January 9, 2016. She was joined by the tenor Alexander James Edwards and baritone James McOran-Campbell with Simon Over accompanying on the piano. They performed selections from Verdi's Rigoletto, Puccini's La Boheme and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin plus music by Rachmaninov As a lyric coloratura soprano, the roles of Gilda, Mimi and Tatyana have proved important so far in Ilona Domnich's career.

Domnich and Edwards sang the Duke and Gilda's duet from Act One of Rigoletto followed by Domnich singing Caro nome, with Edwards displaying his firmly flexible Italianate tones and Domnich showing that she combines rich lyricism with coloratura facility. McOran-Campbell then sang Rachmaninov's song When yesterday we met, Op.26, no. 13, bringing Rachmaninov's rich melancholy alive.

We then had a sequence from Puccini's La Boheme, the conclusion to Act One with both Rodolfo and Mimi's well known solos ending with the final duet (with McOran-Campbell off-stage, standing in for the three other bohemians). Singing without the score (as was the whole programme) the scene was nicely dramatic and delightfully affecting, with lovely off stage top C's from both soprano and tenor. McOran-Campbell returned with more lyric Russian melancholy, this time Aleko's aria from Rachmaninov's opera Aleko.

The evening concluded with a sequence from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, the music not quite given in the proper order but still making a satisfying whole First Edwards gave us Lensky's Act two aria, bringing a lovely sense of line to the music. Then Tatyana's letter scene, followed by Onegin's Act one aria in response and finally their climactic Act three duet. I say Ilona Domnich and James McOran-Campbell in the roles of Tatyana and Onegin with Grange Park Opera in 2012 and their strong rapport in the excerpts was testament to their stage experience together.

The grouping of the arias into dramatic sequences and the complete involvement of the performers meant that this enjoyable evening felt far more than a selection of arias and was indeed a fine celebration.

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