CHRISTOPHER SMITH King of Hearts, Norwich
King of Hearts, Norwich
This recital of women's life and love as shown by the writers and composers of the 17th century made a pleasant lunchtime entertainment, in turn touching and amusing, never lingering too long in one mood. A rather cynical tone was established at the start when one of Henry Purcell's best known tunes was the vehicle for lyrics by John Gay, and it was a delight to be reminded how cleverly Thomas Campion could set his own worldly-wise words to music that allowed his little joke to come across.
Soprano Jeni Melia shaped the occasion ornament gracefully and without fuss. She also took particular care with her words, but generally sang with only a mere thread of evenly produced tone. Fortunately it carried well enough in the small venue, and there was no danger of the voice being swamped by the gentle lute accompaniment provided by Chris Goodwin. He also sang a couple of items, bringing a welcome extra touch of vocal colour.
Forthright and indignant, Kathryn Hamilton-Hall read an interesting choice of texts in verse and prose with energy and the odd telling gesture.
There was some loss of focus at the end with extra items added. Better planning could have enhanced the audiences pleasure.