Darlington & Stockton Times
This review appeared in the Darlington and Stockton Times on
25 December 2009.   It is reproduced here with permission.
Copyright   Newsquest (North East) Ltd, 2009

Elijah
Hambleton Forum, Northallerton  

NO SOONER had we heard one magnificent performance of Mendelssohn's oratorio, given by Ripon Choral Society in Ripon Cathedral last month, there was another in Northallerton.

As reported on this page, this was the 40th anniversary celebration concert by the North Yorkshire Chorus, which wanted a special choral work to mark the occasion.  In this, his bicentenary year, Mendelssohn's Elijah was a popular choice.

The part of Elijah was again sung by North Yorkshire-born D'Arcy Bleiker, whose rich deep bass-baritone provided a wonderful foundation for the entire performance.  Supremely confident and competely secure throughout, he gave an inspirational performance.

The choir, performing from raked seating on the stage, projected well, and the orchestra, conducted by Greg Smith, maintained a sprightly rhythm throughout, hitting an early peak together on Yet doth the Lord see it not.

The two sopranos, Victoria Sharp and Sara Boomsma, sang well together on their duet, Lord bow thine ear to our prayer!, with their voices nicely distinctive, and from his opening aria, If with all your hearts, tenor Campbell Russell sang clearly.

If perhaps a lighter voice than I expected, mezzo soprano Joyce Tindsley managed a clear distinction between the grim words of the Queen and the soothing message of the Angel in O rest in the Lord, and her singing was beautifully consistent.

Among the highlights in a thoroughly enjoyable performance were Victoria Sharp's dramatic and forcefully projected Hear ye Israel, and Bleiker's moving aria It is enough, O Lord, now take my life.

It was the overall performance which stays in the mind, and even in a rather unhelpful acoustic, the performance was very nicely balanced.

The chorus's next concert will be Brahms' German Requiem in All Saints' Church, Northallerton, on May 22; details on www.northyorkshirechorus.org.uk.

Peter Bevan

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