So, after the rather scattered events of the summer last night’s fundraiser for Opera 5 at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu felt like the start of a new season. It was well attended and organised in an intriguing and fun format. Basically, Team Day and Team Night were competing to see who could raise the most money. There were four rounds in which a singer from each team presented an aria, song or MT number. The one with the most pledges got to sing his or her “show off” aria. For an additional donation, the loser got to do the same. Given that some of the city’s best young singers were performing it was to be expected that it was a good show.
Round one pitted coloratura soprano, and soccer player, Teiya Kasahara against baritone Jeremy Ludwig. Despite a sensitive reading of Vaughan William’s Silent Noon by Jeremy he was blown away by Teiya’s fireworks in Regnava Nel Silenzio from Donizetti’s Lucia. This gave Teiya all the excuse she needed for a full blooded Der Hõlle Rache; something of a signature piece. Jeremy bounced back with a cheeky account of Where is the Life that late I Led from Kiss Me Kate. 1-0 Team Night.
Next up was Claire de Sévigné, for Team Day, with Gretel’s aria from Hansel and Gretel, sensitively sung in English. She was edged though by baritone Peter Bass with Billy Budd’s number on the morning of his execution (spot the Tom Allen theme emerging here). It was nicely done and it’s a deceptively difficult piece. He followed up with Pierrot’s Tanzlied; staple of competitions and auditions the world over, before Claire bounced back with a splendidly sassy Chacun le sait from La Fille du Régiment. 2-0 Team Night.
Just when one would have bet odds on that Team Night would close things out with smoky mezzo Beste Kalender next up, Team Day bounced back in the person of Justin Ralph with Britten’s arrangement of Bonny at Morn. It’s a piece I have kind of mixed feelings about having heard it sung super refinedly by Peter pears and in the back room of Durham pubs with lou Killen and tom Allen coming somewhere in between! Anyone this was more Pears than Killen and reet canny. Justin celebrated his victory with Bring Him Home from Les Misérables before Beste launched into a dead cheeky and dead sexy Habanera from Carmen. Somebody cast her in this soon please! 2-1 Team Night.
Before the final round organiser and Opera 5 GM Rachel Krehm was “persuaded” (bribed) to sing. She gave us a very competent account of Depuis le jour from Charpentier’s Louise. One day, maybe, i’ll get into that Romantic French rep.
The final round pitted Team Night’s baritone turned tenor Adrian Kramer against his fiancée the rather lovely Lucia Cesaroni. Lucia gave us a very well characterised I Feel Pretty (and well she might) from West Side Story. Adrian also went the musical theatre route with On the Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady. His has become a big voice. No Mozart tenor here. Rosemarie’s Atelier isn’t a huge space but I’d be checking it for structural damage after this performance. It’s going to be very interesting to see how he evolves as a tenor. Lucia took the honours evening it up at 2-2 and team Day was declared “Ruler of the Skies” on points difference. She celebrated with Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine before being joined by Adrian for a spirited version of the Act 1 duet from La Traviata. I wish them the best for the wedding and after. With voices like theirs, if it doesn’t work out, it will be Hell for the neighbours!
So lots of fun with Maika’i Nash being exceedingly versatile on both piano and electric keyboard.
Photos taken on my iPhone.