Toad Lane Concerts: Voci Voices Opera Gala

Date published: 07 January 2024

It was a welcome return to Toad Lane Concerts for award-winning Voci Voices, consisting of Elizabeth Ambrose (soprano), Margaret Ferguson (mezzo), Eric Cymbir (tenor), David Cane (baritone) and pianist Jonathan Ellis.

This splendid troupe performs regularly and has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Eisteddfod and Buxton Festival Fringe to great acclaim.

They presented a delightful mini opera gala on Wednesday 3 January along with seasonal tunes, all skilfully arranged for quartet with occasional solos, with the accompanist, to imitating a full orchestra at times.

There were some interesting pairings such as A New Year Carol by Benjamin Britten and The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II; The Snow Waltz and Winter Wonderland; and Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach and the ‘Caccini Ave Maria’ by Vavilov.

Agnus Dei by Bizet with Margaret as soloist, was followed by Ivor Novello’s popular Waltz of my Heart. Funiculi - Funicula was led by Eric, and the Toreador’s song from Bizet’s Carmen featured David before all four performed Kálmán’s quartet scene from Act II of The Gypsy Princess.

The closing set consisted of numbers from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II, of which the final item ‘Champagne’ struck just the right bubbly note; and it was a glass half full to toast the opening of 2024.

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts every Wednesday at 12.30pm at the Grade 1 listed church of St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

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

Dr Joe Dawson

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