|UWA Choral Society, Winthrop Hall|
Christopher van Tuinen conducted with assurance, leading from harpsichord for the recitatives. Concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen led the freelance orchestra with emphatic style, highlighting the light and shade. There were plenty of rousing moments but the most gripping were the more intimate, like the sparse pizzicato raindrops and hushed timpani roll anticipating the summer storm.
Soprano soloist Jennifer Barrington sang with pearly tone and brought a sense of drama to her beautifully sustained lines. Tenor Andrew Sutherland delivered a gleaming “The traveller stands perplexed” but lacked projection at other times. Robert Hofmann’s baritone sounded forced at times but his crisp diction was appreciated in the reverberant Winthrop Hall (a printed libretto would also have been appreciated).
The choir gave a mixed performance. Outstanding moments included the warm, lush “Come, gentle Spring” and the clean, blended men’s chorus in “Now cease the conflicts”. But there was also droopy pitch in the sopranos and messy entries (particularly in the laboriously slow drinking song) which compromised an otherwise worthy performance.
This review copyright The West Australian 2013.