Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Proms: they think it's all over...
...it is now I've seen the tall lady sing (though you can still watch and listen again for the next few days). And for the second time recently - the Glyndebourne Tristan was the previous occasion - I'm so proud of our Sarah Connolly, whom I first saw as one of Lisa's choral playmates in the Glyndebourne Queen of Spades nearly twenty years ago (you can still spot her on the DVD). Watch the above from the Last Night with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by my erstwhile Discovering Music collaborator David Robertson (gosh, their Prokofiev Five then was mighty fine) and tell me it doesn't bring tears to your eyes - as much in the restrained choral singing as in La Connolly's regal but human performance. Isn't that as good as it gets, as good as Dame Janet with whom Sarah has been compared, although she's vocally and dramatically a very different animal? And can you believe how a rowdy last night audience quietens down and gets drawn into a private world? That's the great thing about the Albert Hall for you.
Next year the Proms must see her Britten Phaedra - another great event with the BBCSO, on that occasion with Ed Gardner at the Barbican. Before I saw that, I'd sometimes felt SC could be rather careful, but there she let rip, and it felt like the performance of a lifetime. Mind you, so does her Dido, and yet she pulls it off again and again.
Well, I've yet to catch up with her Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, though I can tell from the above she'll have given Matthias Goerne a lesson in platform economy. Same goes for her Rule, Britannia where the get-up, I'm told, is something to behold, and can't be far removed from the naval-hero aspect of her Giulio Cesare, pictured below for Glyndebourne by Tristram Kenton.
Which allows me to segue to the fact that we're still raising money for Nelson's church, Burnham Thorpe, following our Saturday walk for the Norfolk Churches Trust (cheques made payable to them, if any of you with my address are reading and want to contribute) - 16 miles and 11 fenland churches, three of them the best in the country, all of them with fascinating details. More anon.