Thursday, 24 October 2019

National Opera Studio - 2019/20 young artists showcase

National Opera Studio - 2019/20 young artists
Last night (23 October 2019) we heard a private recital showcasing the latest cohort of singers and repetiteurs at the National Opera Studio (NOS). Each year, a different intake of young artists do an intensive nine-month course at the studio, and this year's cohort have been in place for just five weeks. We heard eleven singers (out of 13) and four repetiteurs in a programme which took in arias and duets by Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Handel, Cilea, Puccini, Donizetti, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Bizet, Offenbach and Mozart. A diverse group of singers and pianists all with wonderfully vibrant voices and personalities, from New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, China, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

We heard sopranos Eliza Boom, Alexandra Lowe (who we heard in Janacek's Jenufa at Grange Park Opera, and Britten's Owen Wingrave at British Youth Opera), and Ella Taylor (who we heard in Alex Mills' A Father looking for his Daughter at Second Movement's Rough for Opera), mezzo-sopranos Elizabeth Lynch (who we heard in Handel's Giulio Cesare at Bury Court Opera) and Samantha Oxborough, tenors Luis Aguilar, Frederick Jones (who we heard in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress with British Youth Opera), and Shengzhi Ren, baritones Kyo Choi and Benson Wilson (who won this year's Kathleen Ferrier Award), and bass Msimelelo Mbali. They were accompanied by Juliane Gallant, Mairi Grewar, Fernando Loura and Bradley Wood.

Besides the operatic programme, we had two delightful non-operatic items. Shengzhi Ren sang a lovely traditional Chinese song, and then Elizabeth Lynch gave a hilarious rendition of Tom Lehrer's Poisoning Pigeons in the Park!. For the ensemble finale, there was the Brindisi from Verdi's La Traviata with the audience providing the chorus (adroitly warmed up and rehearsed before hand by the NOS's music director Mark Shanahan).

The NOS presents regular free Wednesday lunchtime recitals, and on Tuesday 26 November there is a chance to catch The Fatal Gaze, scenes and extracts from opera directed by Tim Albery at Conway Hall. Full details from the NOS website.

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