Toad Lane Concerts: Duo Cantelina

Date published: 02 June 2024

Standing in at truly short notice, Duo Cantelina wowed the audience at St Mary in the Baum on Wednesday 29 May with their professionalism and vibrant beauty of sound. Their scintillating Spanish colours brightened the day.

Sophie Clarke, a mezzo soprano and Ravi Nathwani on guitar are master’s students at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and are each experienced performers in their own right. They perform all over the UK and as a duo were recently invited to perform for the National Day of Spain by the Consul of Spain.

Liverpudlian Sophie is the first RNCM student to be sponsored by the international Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and winner of both the RNCM Song Cycle Competition 2023 and the Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2022. She quickly charms her audience with ease.

Born in Reading, British Asian guitarist Ravi Nathwani began learning classical guitar at the age of six, then saxophone at nine. He began studying at the RNCM with Craig Ogden in 2018.

As a duo they recently gained first place in the RNCM Song Cycle competition with Manuel de Falla’s 'Siete Canciones Populares Españolas'. They began their concert with these enchanting pieces and the Spanish theme recurred throughout with other songs by Rodrigo and Duarte.

Sophie has a unique mezzo tone which embraces a guttural Flamenco growl through to a beautifully focused classical range.

Ravi is a sympathetic accompanist as well as gifted guitarist. He also arranged the crossover songs: a gorgeous Morgen by Richard Strauss effortlessly segued to Edelweiss by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Kurt Weill and Robbie Burns were similarly effective and a spirited Spanish version of tarantella, Zapateado by Giménez, literally put its stamp on proceedings to rapturous applause.

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

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

Dr Joe Dawson

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