"Summer Serenade" by the Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney
Sunday 17th Feb 2008 2pm
This group held their latest concert at St Paul’s Church in Burwood which was almost full to hear 8 singers accompanied by Sharolyn Kimmorley in a full bodied program. A facsimile program is attached.
Each item was a treat: from Handel, Mozart, Halevy, Verdi and Donizetti to the great verismo composers Puccini, Mascagni and Cilea.
I thought it was an excellent concert with Adam Player, Catherine Bouchier, Margaret Plummer, David Corcoran, Katherine Wiles, David Parkin and Valda Wilson all singing well in a challenging program. It is good to see Maria Pollicina back in Sydney … and she is in fine voice, receiving an excellent reception after each of her three pieces. Her Masked Ball Act III ‘Morro, ma prima ingrazia’ was strong, dramatic and full-blooded. I found her voice has become a little more mature and perhaps ‘taller’ in character. She was totally in control in this difficult aria, using tasteful pauses during which she connected with the audience, focuses the drama and ‘delivering’ in every desirable respect.
Of the others, my personal favourites were the Cardinal’s aria from La Juive sung by basso David Parkin (the ABC Oz Operatunity winner). He has a glorious deep, resonant voice which I hope to hear more of. He may need to connect with the drama a bit more at times, but a rare talent indeed. Equally commendable in the second half was tenor David Corcoran with ‘Recondita armonia’ from Tosca, sung to perfection. Other ‘church’ items after intermission included Ave Maria (Katherine Wiles) and the finale where all joined in a rousing Easter hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana, led by Maria Pollicina.
There were many current and retired singers in the audience including Lauris Elms who spoke at the start of the second half. She reminded us it was the birthday of Marjorie Lawrence, another great Australian singer. She had heard her in Melbourne as Amneris in Aida, singing from a wheelchair due to her polio paralysis. The brief address reminded us that singers are real people who suffer more than most the ups and downs of life, sentiments reflected in the Prologue from Pagliacci.
Correction from my last posting: Mr Joshua Bloom comes to the Toreador role from recent performances as Dandini in Cinderella. Mr Jose Carbo, another excellent but underutilised Australian baritone, sang Marcello in La Boheme. Apologies for my error.