Opera Scotland

Kingdom 2019St Andrews Chorus

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The St Andrews Chorus, under the expert guidance of Michael Downes, have steadily been working their way through the Elgar oratorios - most recently, the Apostles featured in 2015. The next challenge, entirely logically given the composers original intention to create a trilogy, was thesecond in the sequence, the Kingdom. A quartet of familiar soloists were recruited, all  veterans of that Apostles., and therefore entirely at ease with the idiom. There was also a group of women assembled from the University's chapel choirs.

Conductor Michael Downes had remarkable success guiding this large group of performers - not only were the stage and choirstalls packed with the Chorus and players of the Heisenberg Ensemble, but the semi-chorus of ladies occupied the first bay either side upstairs. The sound of these massed forces could have been overwhelming, with resultant loss of focus, but the dynamics were well controlled throughout.

Of the soloists, perhaps first mention should go to Ben McAteer. A chemistry graduate of St Andrews University, he went on to train in London, and his singing career is now taking off, with frequent appearances with Scottish Opera (more to come) and ENO. His voice is developing nicely, and combined with his tall stature it is beginning to look as though some Wagner roles may be waiting in the wings.

The soprano has to wait on the platform a long time before her ethereal aria 'The sun goeth down'. Wilma Macdougall did this beautifully, backed by Feargus Hetherington's sweet violin solo. She perhaps studied this with her teacher, Patricia MacMahon, herself a great exponent of the part in days gone by.

Jamie Macdougall and Tania Holland completed the excellent quartet. What Elgar will they do next? The popular Gerontius? How about that early rarity Caractacus?

Performance DatesKingdom 2019

Map List

Younger Hall | St Andrews

27 Apr, 19.30

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