Howard Rogerson and his Promenade Concert Orchestra ended their latest successful season by regaling the large and appreciative audience at the Platform with a selection of operatic musical favourites.
The orchestra’s programme – very appropriately in a year that sees the bicentennial of two of the most accomplished operatic composers, Verdi and Wagner –was designed to showcase just a small selection of these operatic delights and hopefully engender a taste for more.
The concert consisted of operatic orchestral showpieces and selections interspersed with accompanied arias and duets.
In all 15 operas were featured, composed between 1786 and 1918, and mainly from the Italian repertoire but also including French and German examples.
Two very talented young singers currently undertaking advanced studies at the Royal College of Music – soprano Soraya Mafi, who was making her second appearance at the Platform, and tenor Vasili Karplak – were warmly welcomed as the soloists.
Both of the singers possess considerable stage presence and fine, pleasing voices and treated the audience to some memorable moments in their solo performances of a variety of famous but testing arias by Mozart, Donizetti Verdi, Puccini, Flotow and Gounod. They also combined particularly well together in their performances of three beautiful but bitter sweet love duets from ‘La Boheme’, ‘La Traviata’ and ‘Carmen’.
The orchestra, led by Wendy Cann, accompanied the singers with great sensitivity. Achieving the right balance of sound between the orchestra and the vocal performers is an art in itself and Howard Rogerson was able to call on his considerable experience in the orchestra pit with Opera North to meet the composers’ carefully crafted wishes in this regard.