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‘A Night at the Opera’ review

Published in the Darlington & Stockton Times, 29/12/23:

“Church offered warm and entertaining evening”
In spite of the very wet weather, Stokesley Methodist Church – always comfortably warm – was full to overflowing to enjoy ‘A Night at the Opera’. In fact such was the demand that the menfolk were pressed into service to fetch in more and yet more chairs from the schoolroom until there wasn’t an empty space left.
The programme got off to a rousing start with the ‘Cachucha Chorus’ from ‘The Gondoliers’, and continued with a series of great choruses, including from ‘Iolanthe’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’, the ‘Anvil Chorus’, the ‘Bridal Chorus’ from Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’ and the haunting ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’.
G&S is so delightfully overflowing with lovely melodies, so many of which are well known, that it is tempting to sing along! And I’m afraid as in ‘when a felon’s not engaged in his employment’, some of us did’ run them in’!
In addition, we were treated to the lovely ‘Humming Chorus’ from ‘Madama Butterfly’, the ‘Voyager’s Chorus’ from Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’ and the ‘Pilgrims’ Chorus’ from Wagner’s ‘Tannhauser’. There were some beautiful solo items from Jeremy himself, who has a fine tenor voice, from Rohan Hill who sang’Dido’s Lament’ from Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ and Rhianne Kent with’O mio babbino caro’ known as ‘O My Beloved Daddy’ from ‘Gianni Schicchi’ by Puccini.
Dido’s Lament is a very beautiful piece that we don’t hear often enough, with the plaintive ‘remember me’ plea, and it was performed to perfection by Rohan
Hill. Rohan has a very lovely silken soprano voice and Rhianne Kent, who sang the Habanero from ‘Carmen’, a beautiful mezzo. The Pilgrims Chorus from
Tannhauser,’Brindisi’ from Verdi’s La Traviata and a storm of applause sent us home with our heads full of glorious music.

By Irene MacDonald

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