‘A Night at the Opera’ was the Gala Concert Finale to this year’s Cookham Festival.
Played to a packed house, it proved a joyous occasion. We were delighted to welcome as guests two very distinguished singers to take solos: Laura Parfitt and Robyn Lyn Evans, both with credits in leading British opera companies. The programme was designed as a celebration of some of the favourite moments in opera, both choral and solo, selected by our Music Director, Elisabeth Croft. Opening with the Triumphal Scene from Verdi’s Aida, we moved through a series of emotions: the heartrending Chorus of Scottish Refugees (Verdi Macbeth), the swashbuckling Soldiers’ Chorus (Gounod Faust), the passionate Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana and so on through the first half, finishing with the Brindisi from La Traviata.
After the interval, the repertoire was performed in English and, after two scenes from Carmen, the mood turned festive with some extracts from Die Fledermaus. To finish came an extended run of numbers from Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, in which all solos were taken by members of the choir. We should mention particularly Paul Seddon’s very witty ‘When I was a lad’ (Sir Joseph Porter KCB) and Ed Millard’s excellent Captain Corcoran.
All in all a very successful evening, much enjoyed by a very appreciative audience.