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Young Artists Summer Concert
The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, London Saturday, July 21, 2007

Il barbiere di Siviglia – Overture
Il turco in Italia – Act I quartet
Kishani Jayasinghe, Haoyin Xue, Krzysztof Szumanski & Robert Gleadow
Die Entführung aus dem serial – Act III recitative and duet
Ana James & Nikola Matišic
Werther – Act III/scene 1 ‘Air des lettres'
Liora Grodnikaite
I due Foscari – Act II scena, trio & quartet
Marina Poplavskaya, Andrew Sritheran, Darren Jeffery & Robert Gleadow
Billy Budd – Act II [excerpt]
Jacques Imbrailo, Andrew Sritheran, Robert Gleadow, Nikola Matišic, Krzysztof Szumanski & Darren Jeffery
L'amico Fritz – Act II duet
Kishani Jayasinghe & Nikola Matišic
Pelléas et Mélisande – Act IV/scene 4
Marina Poplavskaya & Jacques Imbrailo
Lakmé – Act III Duo finale
Ana James, Haoyin Xue & Krzysztof Szumanski

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Stephen Barlow
Andrew Griffiths

Harry Fehr – Concert Staging
Robert Marsh – Lighting

Gavin Douglas - female artists' outfits (illustrated)


This was a hugely enjoyable evening, a testimony to the organisation of The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, set up in 2001 to continue the work of the course associated with the name of the disgraced Alberto Vilar - q.v. our review of the 2005 summer concert.

The arrangements and the concert are described in detail by our colleague at Classical Source and so I will content myself with adding a few points to their comprehensive report to which I direct you, and from which I have been pleased to learn that the concert was recorded for future broadcasting on BBC Radio 3.

The orchestra was on stage with the singers acting their scenes in front. Simple evocative lighting supported the moods of each.

Expert direction was in evidence, and some of the featured singers displayed gifts in assuming different characterisations, notably Marina Poplavskaya as a robust Verdi heroine and later the very different world in which the fragile Melisande lived. Jacques Imbrailo was her winning Pelleas (presumably taken on at short notice as he had the score at hand in case of need) and he was also a convincing Billy Budd.

The Britten excerpt was less satisfactory because Robert Gleadow had not yet the body language at his command to make Glaggart suitably sinister (he'd been a fine Selim for the very popular Kishani Jaysinghe's Florilla - she, a popular finalist in the Ferrier Competition). The Turco scene was particularly successful for the clever direction of the men vying for Kishani's affections.

Some splendid period costumes created by the winner of Fashion Fringe 2006, including a particularly gorgeous gold/green gown for Liora Grodnikaite, helped to give the concert a real sense of occasion.

There were no serious caveats in the singing, and we left feeling that all the participants deserved to progress to successful operatic careers.

Peter Grahame Woolf





Photographer  Johan Persson