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Clapham Opera Festival - Mozart and his contemporaries

Photo by Federico Carnevali
On Sunday 12th October, the Clapham Opera Festival presented the third of its five 2014 performances (the fourth and fifth will be performances of Rossini's La Cenerentola on 14th and 16th November).

Countertenor Michael Taylor was this time joined by the mezzo-soprano Chloé de Bakker and the soprano Christina Petrou. They were accompanied throughout by Philip Voldman, the festival's musical director.

Living up to the Festival's 'Opera for the many' aspiration, Michael Taylor produced notes for the audience on each of the arias, which made it much easier for us to understand the context and the emotions, as well as enjoy the jokes and the drama.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and there is no doubt that the audience of 120 enjoyed the mixture of stories of love deceived, dreams of love, faithful love, intriguing love, love unrequited, love undeclared and murderous love from a range of composers including Mozart and, of course Salieri, as well as Haydn, Cimarosa, Gluck, Portugal and others. 

Transitory Thing

A concert is a transitory thing, living in the memory for the pleasure it brings, its highs and its lows. This one was no exception to the Festival's high standard of singing and for the sheer joy and professionalism of its performers'  sharing with the audience.
Having said that, a few memorable moments do stand out in the memory.
A bravura performance of Ascania's wistful love aria Cara lontana ancora from Mozart's Ascania in Alba, with its huge range sung masterfully by Michael Taylor, was outstanding. Pamina's beautiful lament Ach, ich fühl's, sung by Christina Petrou was deeply moving, as was her tender Ruhe Sanft from Zaide by Mozart. Chloe de Bakker's devotional love shone through in Per l'amata padroncina from Nina by Paisiello, and she was convincingly unconvincing in E vero que in casa from Il matrimonio segreto by Cimarosa.
Of the fact that the concert engaged and delighted the audience there can be no doubt. Even today standing ovations are not two a penny. 

Tickets and acknowledgements

For further information and tickets for the performances of La Cenerentola on 14 and 16 November go to

Photo by Federico Carnevali - Drawings by Jane Pycraft Tritton