Last Sunday (27th January, 2019) the audience at Sidholme, Sidmouth were treated to another unusual and high-quality event. Four talented musicians and performers from Exeter who performed: ‘The Romantics: Music and Word’: an afternoon of songs, chamber music and poetry all relating to the poet Byron.
J.S. Morgane narrated the whole event and played the character of Byron himself. She did this with vitality and enthusiasm. The script was delivered in a very natural fashion and was both entertaining and educational.
All the performers were dressed in period costumes and they used some props and a basic set to enhance the performance. This was hugely effective and atmospheric.
The programme of music was very well judged, with a wonderful variety of style, mood and tempo. The composers were varied, and ranged from Schumann to Rossini.
The pace of the entire afternoon worked very well, with one sequence leading into another smoothly and sometimes dramatically. Yulia Northridge’s rendition of Beethoven’s ‘Romance No.2 in F major’ was a particularly special moment towards the end of the production. Ekaterina Shetliffe accompanied everything on the piano and also played a solo. Her playing was sensitive, supportive and exciting.
The mezzo-soprano: Iryna Ilnytska had a very rich timbre to her voice. She sang Rossini’s highly challenging aria, Desdemona’s Willow Song and Prayer, from Otello with drive and vigour.
The audience left enthusiastically contemplating what they had just watched. ‘Was it an opera, a recital or a lecture on Byron?’
I would say all the above and more!
Alex Poulton http://alexbaritone.co.uk/