LONDON-based soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn had little more than 24 hours to prepare to sing in Huddersfield Choral Society’s Messiah.
Susan Gritton, who should have sung in two packed Town Hall performances, had been taken ill. The race was on to find a substitute and conductor Martyn Brabbins was consulted.
“We got a call on Monday morning to say that Susan was ill and could not appear,” said a Choral spokesman.
“Martyn had heard Elizabeth sing in Carmen with English National Opera in London and suggested we see if she was available.”
By 8pm on Monday, Elizabeth had agreed and was on a train heading for Yorkshire.
“She had train problems, arrived in Leeds at 12.30am, got a taxi to Huddersfield and stayed at the George Hotel overnight.
“We first met her at a piano rehearsal at lunchtime on Tuesday, just hours before the first performance.”
And that night, Elizabeth charmed the audience with her beautiful voice and her skilled interpretation of her role in Handel’s Messiah.
“We are very thankful to have got a replacement of such calibre at such short notice,” said the Choral spokesman.