Lucy Mellors & Rachel Goode – Soprano
Christine Byrne – Mezzo-Soprano
Matthew Clark – Tenor
Dragos Ionel – Baritone
Conan Bembridge-Sayers – Piano.
Last Friday evening a quintet of singers and their accompanist from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama presented a programme of Opera highlights and G&S in the James Wyatt Music Room. All currently studying for their Masters degrees in Opera Perfomance, they were our first New Generation Artistes of 2017, and what an exhilarating opening concert they delivered.
Having already performed to over 140 school children in the afternoon, their voices showed no sign of fatigue, indeed they sounded just perfectly ‘warmed up’. Their programme featured many classic repertoire items, much to the delight of the extremely appreciative and captivated audience. They opened with a characterful performance of the Watch Duet by Strauss, and incorporated in the first half, other solo items and duets from Mozart, Puccini and Massenet. Particular mention must be made of Lucy, who chose as one of her solo items, Oh! Quante volte by Bellini. Here she showed real poise, sustained vocal control and total involvement with the text, leaving the audience quite breathless. One could have heard a pin drop at the end!
Their final item in the first half, the exquisite trio –Soave il vento from
Cosi fan tutte, aptly took us into the interval, as they rightly stated – saying ‘farewell’ to opera (and us, as the audience) and welcoming in the second half of G&S. Here, all performers felt incred
ibly ‘at home’. The enjoyment was evident in faces; in their carefully managed stagecraft, (given the space), and in their overall team work. Vocally they balanced well, and complemented each other in the several popular ensemble items, including ‘Brightly dawns our wedding day’ from Mikado and ‘Regular, Royal Queen’ from The Gondoliers. Dragos even requested the involvement of the audience (and accompanist) in declaring that the ‘Policeman’s lot is not a happy one’!
This was a thoroughly professional performance enjoyed by the whole audience, and these young New Generation Artistes are surely on their way to successful careers. We wish them well.