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Review: Harrogate Choral Society, Royal Hall

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Harrogate Choral Society marked a milestone this year having presented concerts for 70 years. It has performed under many conductors who have contributed the talents of their professional work to furthering the work of this most noble musical organisation.

To begin the celebrations this year, the society, under its conductor Andrew Padmore with the Chapel Choir, of Harrogate Ladies College, with the Amici Ensemble presented a fine performance of Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah.

A superb quartet of soloists graced the stage, Samantha Hay, soprano, filled the Royal Hall with wonderful and expressive sound, her voice rising and riding on the canvas of orchestral sound provided by the composer.

This was beautiful. Her rendering of ‘Hear ye, Israel’ for example, was superb. Gaynor Keeble, mezzo soprano, sang with a voice full of richness whatever the dynamic level. Her portrayal of Queen Jezebel was excellent, dark, sinister and unsettling.

Luke Sinclair, tenor, sang with ease and sincerity in his role as Obadiah, the servant of Ahab. His lyrical tenor voice was ideal for the Hall, floating with gentle but insistent intensity.

Alex Ashworth, bass ,was a splendid choice for Elijah. A demanding sing with much work to do. Alex did an excellent job maintaining the continuity of the story and portrayal of the character.

Anna Staveley beautifully sang the part of the youth, looking out to sea awaiting the sign from God.

‘Lift thine eyes’ was beautifully sung by the Chapel Choir, director of music, Kate Morgan who formed an important addition to the Choral Society for the evening.

The choir was splendid, supported by the Amici Ensemble which was on top form with excellent playing.

The choir and the semi-chorus sang with verve, passion and energy.

They deserve praise. Andrew Padmore, who conducted with energy and sensitivity is to be thanked for this evening of music from a composer who is one of the greatest of the 19th century.