The 2013 City of Discovery Charity Concert
Concert Review – Courier 10th June 2013
The expression “it’ll be alright on the night” is one that is trotted out quite often, but in terms of the latest City of Discovery Charity Concert the words rang completely true. A decent-sized audience who seemed determined to enjoy themselves was the first part of the jigsaw, but it was the three other parts – orchestra, soloist and choir – that made the evening the success that it was.
One would have expected that two of them, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and soprano Lesley Garrett, would have been expected to deliver a first class display but it was the performance of the Discovery Youth Choir that bettered every expectation. The five songs they sang were spirited, well-balanced and full of excellent diction, befitting a choir who were an experienced ensemble and not one formed only months ago. Full credit for this goes to choir director Anna Flannagan who exploited their natural aptitude turned them from a group of individuals into a chorus of great distinction and polish. Lesley Garrett is the sort of performer who quickly establishes a rapport with the audience, never letting it go, and one who can deliver a medley of music and song that is wide and varied but one that never dips in quality. I’d be hard pushed to pick out a favourite from a selection that ranged from Gershwin to Puccini, with a little Rogers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Dvorak and Bizet thrown in for good measure, but if pushed I’d go for Summertime, with her Rusalka aria a close second. Her encore Prima Donna sealed what was a superb performance.
This was conductor Christian Kluxen’s last concert with the RSNO, and I doubt if he could have signed off more significantly. His interpretation of the Wagner Meistersinger Overture drew out every delicious morsel taking equal care over the well-loved Hebrides. Most importantly, he kept the perfect balance between voice and instrumentalists, with the choir especially benefiting from his sympathetic approach. The evening ended with his own farewell piece, Lumbye’s Champagne Polka, a fitting choice considering the evening’s overall sparkle.
The City of Discovery Charity Concert – Performers
Lesley Garrett, CBE, is Britain’s most popular soprano, regularly appearing in both opera and in concert, on television and CD; she has won both critical acclaim and the affection of many fans and music lovers. As a recording artist, she has fourteen solo CDs to her credit; Soprano in Red received the Gramophone Award for ‘Best-selling Classical Artist of the Year’. Recent albums are Travelling Light, The Singer, So Deep is the Night, When I Fall in Love andAmazing Grace. Her most recent classical recording was the role of Despina for Sir Charles Mackerras’s recording of The Magic Flute. Lesley’s new album A North Country Lass was released in April 2012.
Lesley continues to perform regularly in concert with all the major UK orchestras including the Hallè Orchestra with Sir Mark Elder, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and she has recently formed a new musical partnership with clarinettist Emma Johnson and pianist Andrew West.
In 2013 Lesley will be returning to the opera stage with a new production at Opera North singing the role of Elle in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine.
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra is one of Europe’s leading symphony orchestras. Formed in 1891 as the Scottish Orchestra, the company became the Scottish National Orchestra in 1950, and was awarded Royal Patronage in 1991. A host of renowned conductors has contributed to its success, including Walter Susskind, Sir Alexander Gibson, Bryden Thomson, Neeme Jarvi, Waler Weller, and Alexander Lazarev.
Anna is an award winning soprano and the vocal coach for the BBC Proms, The BBC SSO and the BBC Philharmonic Learning Programmes. She trained the Dundee Proms Chorus, who wowed audiences at the Caird Hall in their performances in 2010 and 2011 for the Last Night of The Proms, from Scotland. Anna received outstanding reviews for her work with 120 children as Chorus Master for Victoria Wood’s That Day We Sang (Manchester International Festival). The journey over 10 months that the children made was an extraordinary one – their lives and perspectives had been changed forever. Anna also trained 100 children from Salford to perform at the Lowry Theatre as part of the project Songs for the Bridgewater Canal, as part of the BBC’s Music Nation. In March she conducted the Salford Family Orchestra in their performance for the Queen, for her Jubilee visit to MediaCityUK.