Verdi Requiem Review
Some comments from our come 'n' singers..........
"I wish to thank all of you who made this wonderful experience possible. I learned so much from the weekend and look forward to being a part of any future opportunity.
"Thank you so much for the opportunity to sing this marvellous choral work with such a choir."
"I enjoyed the experience immensely. It certainly was memorable - the most exciting Verdi Requiem performance I have been involved with."
"I thought I must write you a quick note to express my appreciation for the wonderful musical experience that you and the Orpheus Choir offered us at the weekend. It was a superb work, so ably and inspiringly directed, with wonderful soloists, venue, organist, pianist, music, programme - all laid on. But more than that there was a friendliness and generosity of spirit about it all, which inspires us to endeavour to do all the better in our own smaller musical back yards."
"I would like to thank you and the Choir for the Come and Sing and the great opportunity it gives to join in a great sing. It was a great experience. I loved every moment of the weekend, and was so pleased to be a part of it. I have no suggestions for improvement in the planning; as far as I was concerned, it was faultless. The members of the Orpheus Choir around me were extremely welcoming and supportive to ‘outsiders’ like me."
"I have to say that I got a great thrill out of singing the Verdi Requiem once again. Many many thanks for the opportunity to be able to do it one more time, they don't come along very often. I loved the whole experience, singing and working with such wonderful musical directors, soloists, musicians and some gorgeous voices around the choir is very uplifting."
Singalong with Orpheus Choir thrill audience
What: Requiem, by Verdi, The Orpheus Choir, enlarged with a massed chorus, conducted by Michael Fulcher, John Wells (organ) and Fiona McCabe (piano). Soloists: Janey Mackenzie, Annabelle Cheetham, Richard Greager and Justin Pearce
Where: Wellington Town Hall
When: Saturday, 18th July
Reviewed by: Lindis Taylor
The Orpheus Choir has been staging singalong or "come 'n' sing" performances as long as I've been writing reviews - more than two decades.
It's always been popular, a wonderful way of meeting unfulfilled singing ambitions. If the audience was not as big as you'd expect for Verdi's Requiem (its first performance in Wellington for eight years), which fills theatres anywhere in the world, it was because so many of the potential audience were on stage singing. The choir totalled nearly 300.
One might have expected a few weaknesses, but the result of solid rehearsal under Michael Fulcher, on Friday evening and all day Saturday, achieved a performance of energy, clean attack and ensemble and confidence: its very opening pages were highly impressive and the sheer size of the choir produced a sometimes thrilling sound.
Accompaniment was by the organ (Auckland City organist John Wells) rather than an orchestra, with sections for solo voices accompanied by Fiona McCabe at the piano.
An orchestra would have been better, but it would have added unaffordable cost. (Help came from a subsidised Town Hall rental and form the city's creative communities fund.)
Both organ and piano were more than adequate and there were many times (the piano with the four soloists in the Offertorio) when their contributions were most satisfying.
The soloists might not have been New Zealand's top opera voices, but their performances varied from pretty good to surprisingly excellent.
Justin Pearce was clearly nervous at this big assignment, but by the Confutatis Maledictis his voice had settled, admirably fitting the sense of that movement.
Professionally experienced mezzo Annabelle Cheetham and tenor Richard Greager (who stood in for John Beaglehole at short notice) were the most polished.
Cheetham shone in the Recordare and Lux aeterna; the tenor's main outing is the aria common in opera aria collections, the Ingemisco; better suited to his timbre were his parts in the Rex Tremendae and the Offertorio.
Janey Mackenzie sang her soprano role very engagingly; she had a successful duet with Cheetham in the Agnus Dei, and then astonished me with her penetrating, high-flying solo, floating above the choir in the latter stages of the Libera Me: there was nothing better than the conclusion with that varied, magnificent, beautifully controlled movement.