Review: Lotte Betts-Dean and Andrey Lebedev at Octagon Chapel in Norwich

Norfolk and Norwich Festival' N sculptures at The Forum. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival' N sculptures at The Forum. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The Australian singer Lotte Betts-Dean was the soloist in this recital in the Norfolk and Norwich Festival's Royal Academy series. After taking her Bachelor of Music degree at Melbourne University's Conservatorium in 2012 she went to Germany, Italy and the USA for further studies and is currently completing a master's in London.

She began with John Dowland, revealing at once an even and powerful mezzo soprano voice. Her judicious choice mingled more cheerful lyrics with the melancholy for which the Elizabethan composer is renowned. Unfortunately her diction was not at all clear in the lengthy texts of these pieces.

The point applies too to her interpretations of some of Britten's folk song arrangements and Falla's Seven Folk Songs. Vocally she was impressive, her characterisations were persuasive, but it really was hard to follow the words that are the basis of everyething.

Andrey Lebedev, who has come to London via Moscow and Adelaide, was the accompanist, playing the guitar. In his hands it was a perfectly satisfactory substitute for the Renaissance lute and naturally came into its own in the Spanish music. His solo contributions were maturely restrained accounts of an Overture by Mauro Giuliani and the Three Preludes by Villa-Lobos.

Christopher Smith

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