Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra, Snape

MICHAEL DRAKE It cannot be too much fun being transformed into a fountain but that is the musical fate of the handsome shepherd (Acis) following the destruction of his beloved nymph (Gallatea).

MICHAEL DRAKE

It cannot be too much fun being transformed into a fountain but that is the musical fate of the handsome shepherd (Acis) following the destruction of his beloved nymph (Gallatea).

The love story of Acis and Gallatea, one of Handel's most popular works, took a while to act out, but it was sung and played most convincingly by the romantic tenor voice of Ed Lyon, the vocally alluring soprano, Lucy Crowe, with the jealous monster Polyphemus (Andrew Rupp) working his declamatory bass into a frenzy and Simon Biazeck, a more lightweight tenor as the “linkman” Daman, notable for his immaculate diction.

With a strong vocal quintet chorus and the small Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra responding with feeling to conductor Richard Egarr, this was a carefully balanced and intimate performance.

For my money the evening could have ended with the final, fateful chorus. But there followed Handel's setting of Psalm 110.

Dixit Dominus was sung by a strong chorus of 15 singers from the Britten-Pears School who were impressive in their attack and articulation in a pacey — perhaps overly so — performance with the strings of the orchestra keeping up their standard with precision.

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Solos were taken by members of the choir with some well-matched voices and, although confidently sung by splendid individual voices, in the final analysis it lacked real heart and did not translate into true ensemble singing.

t The Aldeburgh Festival event was performed at the Maltings Concert Hall, Snape.

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