Toad Lane Concert: Voci Voices

Date published: 19 August 2022

A sensational operatic vocal quartet and concert pianist celebrated the 1000th Toad Lane Concert on Wednesday 17 August.

Sopranos Elizabeth Ambrose and Margaret Ferguson with Scottish tenor Eric Cymbir and baritone David Cane provided right royal entertainment, brilliantly accompanied by pianist Jonathan Ellis.

Most of them have performed at St Mary in the Baum as soloists or with others often over the past few years, and so revelled again in the generous acoustic.

As a vocal quartet, versatility is the name of their game and they certainly excelled in that. They opened with a serious set, demonstrating that they can blend beautifully as an ensemble (not always a given with opera singers!) with Come, Come, Ye Sons of Art by H. Purcell, Panis Angelicus by Franck, and In a Monastery Garden by Ketelby. Then a change of mood with the jazzy exuberance of I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, and On the Sunny Side of the Street.

A switch to grand opera allowed their full potential to be revealed with a trio by Mozart, duets from Don Carlos by Verdi, culminating in a quartet in the same composer’s famous drinking song Libiamo Ne’lieti Calici from La Traviata.

The popular Italian song Non Ti Scordar Di Me was followed by the quintessentially British, Brightly Dawns our Wedding Day from The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan.

‘Till I Hear you Sing (Love Never Dies) by Lloyd Webber led to the same composer’s The Phantom of the Opera, concluding with One Day More from Les Misérables by Schönberg.

A richly deserved encore with You raise me up! certainly everyone left with elevated spirits after a glorious hour of song.

Here’s to the next 1000 concerts!

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at the Grade 1 listed St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available now, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

To see details of forthcoming Toad Lane Concerts, click here.

Dr Joe Dawson

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