Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Sir Charles Mackerras (80th Birthday Concert)

Rebecca Evans – soprano; Susan Tomes – piano; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Charles Mackerras

Queen Elizabeth Hall 25 April 2006

Mozart: Overture; “Al desio di chi t'adora” (Nozze di Figaro);
“Batti,batti, o bel Masetto (Don Giovanni);
Rondo in A for piano & orchestra, K 386;
“Ch'io mi scordi di te” for soprano, piano & orchestra, K505;
“L'amero, saro constante (Il Re Pastore);
Serenade in D, K320 (Posthorn)



After a lively rendering of the Figaro overture, the young Welsh soprano, Rebecca Evans , sang the “substitute” aria Al desio di chi t'adora from the same opera. This is a show-stopper in every sense of the word (anyone who has seen the film with Cecilia Bartoli will know what I mean!).


Following Zerlina's aria from Don Giovanni Rebecca Evans sang Ch'io mi scordi di te – recitative and rondo for soprano, piano and orchestra, finishing with the aria from Il Re pastore beloved of Madame Melba and other Edwardian singers anxious to display their ethereal tones.


Miss Evans rendered all her music with warmth and attention to its dramatic content. The pianist in the Rondo was Susan Tomes who also featured in the Rondo K386 with orchestra – possibly a rejected finale to Piano Concerto K414, an early effort in the genre. She is well known also for her work with chamber music ensembles and on this occasion revealed her affinity for Mozart's compositions. Her book “Beyond the Notes” brought her further recognition – another volume is expected later this year.


The final item was the Serenade in D major K320, known as the Posthorn . The programme notes suggest that this would have been performed outdoors in the “balmy air of an Austrian summer evening”. The air on the South Bank cannot really be described as “balmy” so it was probably as well that the performance was confined to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It is an undemanding piece, suitable to serve as background to some celebration such as a wedding or students' end of term concert.


Sir Charles presided with his usual engaging charm and energy, seemingly unaffected by the passage of time. This month he will conduct The Makropoulos Case for ENO; Emilia Marty will be unlikely to provide him with a recipe for longevity, but we wish him many more years on the podium.


S Jenkins