Voix Joyeuses review


Birmingham Cathedral ****

Somehow an elegant baroque cathedral was transformed into an intimate drawing-room this evening, purely thanks to the atmosphere created by the charming vocal duo Voix Joyeuses.
The joy in performing together displayed by soprano Jill Saunders and mezzo Alison Cripps is palpable. They have a wonderfully natural body-language, their voices are well-blended, and in Rob Challinor they have an accompanist who can conjure a gamut of orchestral timbres from his piano.
This delightful evening was promoted in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust, and engendered an immense amount of goodwill. The programme contained some substantial offerings in a variety of languages, but was never intimidating, and ranged from Handel to Wagner, adding bonnes bouches from Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Leonard Bernstein.
Highlights included a resonant aria from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur (Alison Cripps), a flirty Musetta's Waltz Song from Puccini's La Boheme (Jill Saunders), and a heartstopping "Abends will ich schlafen gehn" duet from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.
Despite an acoustic uncongenial to this kind of vocal delivery, Voix Joyeuses succeeded in communicating great warmth and engagement. And it was a pleasure to step out from this into the gorgeous little Christmas market in the Cathedral grounds, worlds away from the pickpocketing paradise of the hellhole at the other end of Colmore Row.

Christopher Morley

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