Harriet Fraser, Norwich

CHRISTOPHER SMITH The soprano, on her return to her native city, revealed a bright and flexible voice.


We had to wait for the magic moment. It came in the Songs For The Lord Mayor's Table by William Walton, of whose works we ought to hear a lot in his centenary year. What was spellbinding was the exact balance between composition and performance, between voice and accompaniment, music and words.

Everything gelled, whether in a ballad about a woman in Wapping laundering a sailor's trousers or an evocation of the Thames.

With an engaging personality and an attractive smile, soprano Harriet Fraser had, on her return to her native city, revealed a bright and flexible voice with plenty of volume, if no particular riches of tone.

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With fine support from accompanist William Hancox, she put a lot of expression into songs in German by Brahms and in French by Faure and Poulenc. But communication was only intermittent.

The programme supplied rather halting translations of what were in many cases long and complicated lyrics. Diction, as proved in the Walton settings, is not the least part of singing.

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t Harriet Fraser was performing at the King of Hearts, Norwich.

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