Review: Around the World with HGO

PUBLISHED: 11:49 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:49 07 August 2019

Luci Briginshaw performs at HGO's Summer Concert on August 3. Picture: David Winskill.

Luci Briginshaw performs at HGO's Summer Concert on August 3. Picture: David Winskill.

Archant

It didn't take long for mezzo Beth Moxon and soprano Luci Briginshaw to remind the audience of St Michael's terrific acoustic.

HGO Summer Concert at St. Michael's. Picture: David Winskill.HGO Summer Concert at St. Michael's. Picture: David Winskill.

The theme of Hampstead Garden Opera's delightful summer concert was an operatic tour round the world - first European venues then further afield after the interval. To set the scene, Beth opened with a piece by the less well known Ambroise Thomas from his opera Mignon "Connais-tu le pays?'

Beth's wonderful voice soared with this rather sad, reflective and mournful song. She was followed by Luci's 'Quando me'n vo' ( Musetta's Waltz) from La Boheme: the audience sat up and took notice as, arms akimbo and eyes flashing, she fully exploited the coquettish possibilities with her stunning soprano.

Daniel Rudge's booming, full powerful baritone was authoritative as the Count from Le nozze di Figaro as he asserted his presence on the improvised stage - later in a Don Giovanni piece he almost broke into tap dancing to match the jaunty, fast paced music.

Nick Pritchard's exceptional tenor first appeared in The Rape of Lucretia, doing a great job delivering Britten's complicated, dissonant and unsettling Prologue.

After Luci's simply beautiful rendition of Puccini's 'Signore ascolta', the highlight of the evening was surely when Luci and Beth combined for the heavenly Flower Duet from 'Lakme'. They were perfectly matched and delivered an outstanding performance.

This was a beautifully balanced programme of well-regarded and lesser known pieces from modern and older composers. The whole evening was imaginatively staged and hats off to conductor/pianist Juliane Gallant for a faultless performance of 17 wildly varied pieces.

The performers (all in the early stages of their careers) have appeared in earlier HGO productions - a tangible example of the excellent work undertaken by HGO in encouraging young talent.

For more details about HGO, visit their website here.

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