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Kenwood July 15th 2006

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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 109
Location: Essex

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:17 pm    Post subject: Kenwood July 15th 2006 Reply with quote

With an unrefined sound system better tuned to pumping out the likes of ‘Bjorn Again’ and Ronan Keeting, rather than the subtleties of the operatic voice, violin soloist and orchestra combined with an ‘Opera Gala’ programme that contained more ‘popular’ songs from musicals, this was not an evening for the musical purists! What it was though was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of entertainment in a beautiful setting and a chance to experience that tremendous unique rapport Bryn has with his audience.
A glorious, hot sunny day melted into the perfect English summer evening last night at Kenwood. The audience were replete with picnics enjoyed on the lawns of this beautiful House as they took up their places on the deckchairs in front of the lake with the stage just a stones throw across the water. Wine glasses recharged with champagne, the crowd settled in for the evening as the orchestra struck up with the overture to La Forza del Destino by Verdi.
Clearly the sound wasn’t it’s best from row 3, possibly better further back but near the front the amplification muddied and blurred the sound. Oh well, the sun was shining there was lots more to drink, the scenery was great and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra under the baton of Owain Arwel Hughes played with verve, so who cared.
Bryn arrived on stage to applause, a good bit of applause, but not enough to his liking! He soon had us all yelling and shouting louder egging us on by saying they couldn’t hear the applause from the stage. Dressed in black suit, long jacket with multi coloured cummerbund and open neck black shirt he looked relaxed and happy. A brief welcome to everyone and he launched into ‘Votre Toast’ from Carmen. We were not going to be allowed to fall into a wine and sun induced somnolent state as Bryn encouraged us to join in clapping in time and singing along to parts of the aria. He followed this with ‘Scintille, diamant’ from The Tales of Hoffman giving a brief scene setting explaination of each piece before singing.

The second soloist of the evening was the young violinist Chloe Hanslip. She now took to the stage to perform a virtuosic piece called Tzigane by Ravel. This evening it was performed in the little know version with goose obbligato! A family of geese had settled on the lake a short distance from the stage and were so impressed with Chloes brilliant playing that they felt compelled to join in. Amazingly, their hoots and quacks were perfectly timed to fit with the piece and a few ripples of amusement ran around the audience. Chloe was completely undeterred and continued, with goose accompaniment, to the end of her show piece to huge applause. When Bryn came back he demonstrated that he is fluent in goose making a few honks and quacks to everyones amusement. The geese, however, had more sense than try to battle with a bass-baritone of some renown and shut up while Bryn continued his programme with ‘Ah per sempre io ti perdei’ from Bellinis I Puritani and brought the first half to a close with a thoroughly comic rendition of ‘Eh! Paggio!’ perfectly creating the fat knight in sound.

Chloe started the second half of the programme with Elgars ‘Chanson de matin’ and remained on stage as Bryn joined her for ‘En Aranjuez con tu amor’ . I really enjoy this piece and it is lovely to see these two perform this as there is a clear rapport between them. Bryn demonstrated his appeciation of Chloes performance by making as if to throw her into the lake during the applause. The popular theme in the programme continued with Morricones Cinema Paradiso, ‘I’ll Walk beside you’, the theme from Schindlers List and the Carousel Waltz. Bryn finished off the evening with a group of songs from the shows. He dedicated ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ to a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and altered the words to sing “ across a Kenwood lake” instead of across a crowded room. He continued with The Little Prince by Loewe and finished as the perfectly clear skys darkened to purple with a moving rendition of ‘Stars in your Multitudes’ from Les Mis.

No one was going to let them get away without an encore or two, so after much applause and cheering they came back and we had Shenandoah from Bryn, Meditation from Thais by Chloe and finally a bit of Welsh, Suo Gan .
The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display to orchestral accompaniment- it was either William Tell or the Radedsky March, but to be honest I had drunk so much champagne and laughed and cheered so much by then that I couldn’t actually tell you which one it was! Lovely evening.

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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 839
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful, Helen. I almost feel as though I was there! Thanks.
Gillian Laughing Laughing
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Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 75
Location: Chafford Hundred, Essex

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it was a lovely evening and a really special atmosphere at Kenwood. Although the orchestra and violinist suffered somewhat from the amplification system then Bryn still sounded great last night and he really seemed to be enjoying himself.

But I was surprised he didn't sing any Mozart as I was half expecting one of the arias from his new album. In fact although it was billed as an opera gala then less than half the programme was operatic music. I was very pleased that he sang "Stars" from Les Mis though as it's such a beautiful piece and the tessitura really suits Bryn's voice. There was a very impressive firework display at the end - something I wasn't expecting.

It was very hot yesterday and I did feel a bit sorry for Bryn, dressed up so elegantly in that black formal evening suit, having to sing in that sweltering heat. Don't get me wrong - he looked great and very smart indeed, but under the circumstances I'm sure everyone would have forgiven him if he'd just come out in t-shirt and shorts!

Faye xx
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the photos - especially the rehearsals (how cute does he look in his shorts?!!) Laughing Laughing
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