Tag Archives: sarah fox

Friday Night is Music Night (Queen Elizabeth Hall)

Off to the Southbank Centre last night for a live broadcast on Radio 2 of the world’s longest-running orchesteral radio programme Friday Night is Music Night, introduced by Ken Bruce, with special guests Gary Wilmot, Sarah Fox, and cornet player Thomas Nielsen (winner of the Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist competition).

With a tried and tested mix of classical, opera, and musicals, this formula continues to pull in the listeners, and I enjoy seeing the show performed now and then – we last saw it in 2015.

Musical numbers performed included You’ve Got Trouble from The Music Man, Will You Remember from Maytime, Soliloquy from Carousel, Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and It’s a Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins.

stage of Queen Elizabeth Hall

Orchestral interludes from West Side Story, and the work of Rimsky-Korsakov, and an operatic aria from Dvorak’s Rusalka, plus cornet versions of Someone To Watch Over Me and Napoli, made this a rather special concert, with a piece for voice and solo piano (The Way You Look Tonight) being especially effective.

One or two of Bruce’s informative snippets might have been inaccurate (Peggy Wood was indeed the Mother Abbess in the film of The Sound of Music, but Margery MacKay sang for her in the role), and Wilmot might have missed a few of the lyrics of the Soliloquy, but that’s what makes live shows real.

If you want to hear this concert for yourself, you can find it on the BBCiPlayer.

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Concert review: The Yeoman of the Guard, conducted by John Wilson

Yesterday afternoon’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall was Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera ‘The Yeoman of the Guard’, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by John Wilson. Wilson is best known for his recreation of popular musical film scores from the Golden Age of Hollywood and has presented a number of concerts with this music, and at least one previous semi-staged production, that of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

Another review of ‘Yeoman’ I have just read praises the production for not using microphones, but, as someone with a cheaper ticket two thirds back in the stalls, I can report that many of the singers were unintelligible, with the subsequent loss of the wit, humour and wordplay of Gilbert’s lyrics. As this wordplay is particularly key to the enjoyment of the G&S oeuvre, the decision not to use microphones was a great shame.

However, some of the vocalists did transcend the amplification issues – Oliver White as Colonel Fairfax, Jill Pert as Dame Carruthers, Heather Shipp as Phoebe, Richard Angas as Shadbolt. But Sarah Fox as Elsie disappointed from a distance, and Simon Butteriss’s tragicomic turn as Jack Point was lost in places. Having said this the score was rendered superbly by the Philharmonia, and the afternoon was enjoyable. I just wish that everyone in the hall had been considered when the decision not to use amplification for the singers was taken.

The story is one of changed identities, broken promises, and comic situations. In its semi-staged form the plot is easy to follow and the songs are well-written and move the story along with some energy. Wilson’s conducting of the orchestra was also done with fun and pep, which served the material well.


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