News FromThe Choir

Capacity audience for Bach B minor

Capacity audience for Bach B minor

Sunday 2nd April 2023

Almost every seat in St Mary’s Church Warwick was sold for our performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor on Saturday 1st April. At the end of the concert, our audience were moved to give a standing ovation.

Doubtless they were stirred primarily by the power and beauty of the music itself, Bach’s undisputed choral masterpiece and arguably one of the greatest works in Western music. To perform such a piece requires a great deal of hard work from a dedicated team of musicians, and we were fortunate to have such wonderful professionals to collaborate with us. The highly regarded period instrument ensemble Charivari Agréable provided the authentic sounds of baroque strings, woodwind and natural brass, with their director Kah-Ming Ng on harpsichord and chamber organ.

Our stellar line-up of soloists amply demonstrated the wealth of talent available amongst the young singers in this country. Soprano Esther Mallett, who stepped in at short notice, is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the University of Oxford, who has just returned from a season with Scottish Opera. Mezzo soprano Cathy Bell, who first delighted our audience in our Viva Italia! concert last summer, is a Cambridge and Birmingham Conservatoire graduate, now based in London and busy with a wide range of solo, opera and ensemble work. Tenor Jonathan Hanley, a University of York graduate and former lay clerk at Peterborough Cathedral, joined us amidst a packed international schedule with the vocal group Stile Antico. Bass-baritone Jacob Bettinelli, originally from Hong Kong and a graduate of the Royal College of Music and the Welsh International Academy of Voice, is currently being mentored by Roderick Williams as he further develops his operatic career. And our very own Nicola Deards stepped up to join the professionals when a second soprano soloist was required - well done, Nicola!

It was a privilege and a joy to take part in such a moving and memorable performance, both for those of us who had sung the work before and for those who had learnt the music for the first time for this concert. It has been a challenging term, but immensely rewarding. A huge ‘thank you’ to our MD Lee Dunleavy, as always, for all the energy, enthusiasm and hours of hard work he puts in to ensure that the choir give of their very best on the night.

Please see below for Clive Peacock's review of the concert in the Leamington Courier.

Courier review (0.59Mb)

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