Showing posts from August, 2022

Norman Stinchcombe reviews new SOMM-Recordings

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE REVIEWS THREE NEW SOMM CDs 'On This Shining Night': Bevan, Gilchrist, Williams, Coull Quartet (Somm Recordings) ★★★★ A rare collection of 'Music for Voice and String Quartet'. So rare in fact that only two of the four composers' works here were originally in that form; a collection of Peter Warlock's songs and Sally Beamish's 'Tree Carols'. The three songs by Delius and two of the three Samuel Barber's songs were arranged by the multi-talented baritone Roderick Williams. The eleven Warlock songs are gorgeous, with Williams' baritone, soprano Sophie Bevan and tenor James Gilchrist all fitting hand-in-glove in their particular songs. Try to resist smiling at the zestful Gilchrist in the opening 'Chopcherry'. Barber's dark and pensive 'Dover Beach' is here but Williams' arrangement of 'Sure on this Shining Night', and of course his expressive singing, make this is the stand-out track. Be

Longborough double bill

LOVE ISLAND AT LONGBOROUGH The Spell Book / La Liberazione di Ruggiero Longborough Festival Opera,**** In the deathless words of Nigel Tufnell, what's wrong with being sexy? Jennie Ogilvie's Longborough production of Francesca Caccini's La Liberazione di Ruggiero (1625) places the sorceress Alcina (Lauren Joyanne Morris) and her toyboy Ruggiero (Oskar McCarthy) on a pink, high-kitsch Love Island. And once you overlook Alcina's penchant for transforming people into rubber plants, they're clearly having the time of their lives - lolling around in their candy-coloured smalls, attended by sexually-ambiguous trolley-dollies with Michael Fabricant hairpieces. Ruggiero's wife Bradamante (Simone Ibbett-Brown) is having none of it, and the plot of the opera concerns her grim-faced mission to slap Alcina down, and force Ruggiero to put his kecks back on and get back to killing people, like a proper man. And there you have it: the first known opera in th