TITLE: Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra Opera Gala
VENUE: Huddersfield Town Hall
BY: DAVID HEATHCOTE
HUDDERSFIELD Philharmonic Orchestra crowned its 150th season with an excellent programme of well-loved opera classics.
Opening with Les Toréadors from Bizet’s Carmen, they played with spirit, energy and excitement.
The overture from Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie showed the orchestra at its best and afforded conductor Nicholas Smith an opportunity to explore his excellent musical instincts, giving the audience an interesting, colourful and engaging piece.
The young violinist Peter Chase embodied the physicality and excitement of Rossini in his playing. He is a generous performer, who thoroughly enjoys making music with the Huddersfield Philharmonic.
Mezzo-soprano Flora McIntosh gave a magnificent Rosina in Una Voce Poco Fa from Rossini’s Barber of Seville.
Her coloratura and higher range blossomed in this aria, which was full of character as she ranged from sweet, innocent girl to attacking viper.
The orchestra didn’t always respond to the pace of the aria and were occasionally sluggish in tempi and imprecise in the higher registers.
Tenor John Hudson was expressive in La Fleur from Bizet’s Carmen, but not so generous in the rest of the programme, which was disappointing considering his impressive career.
Soprano Catherine Bouchier excelled in Puccini’s Vissi d’Arte (Tosca) and Mi Chiamano Mimì (La Bohème). In Vissi d’Arte, Tosca’s most vulnerable, heart breaking moment was expressed in Bouchier’s every note.
Her emotional commitment was intense and led perfectly to the whole point of the aria: Why, God, Do You Repay Me Like This? The orchestra responded perfectly.
Philharmonic Notes celebrates 150 years of the orchestra and is available via: firstname.lastname@example.org