Essex girls might grab most of the headlines, but outstanding tenor James Edwards single-handedly did more for the men of his county, than all the fake tan and stiletto heels put together.
With the almost obligatory arias from Messiah, it was obvious that here was a voice to be reckoned with.
But James’s stunning performance of three of Puccini’s best-loved numbers, and an equally impassioned account of Bizet’s Flower Song from Carmen clearly showed what he liked doing best, putting him streets ahead of nearly all the other soloists to have graced this annual Christmas event.
Whether subconsciously inspired by this, the whole evening seemed to bring out the very best from the performers, with the specially-assembled choir heard at its best in the unaccompanied carols.
The Ten Tors Orchestra, led by Malcolm Latchem, gave a wonderfully buoyant performance of Mozart’s Haffner Symphony, where nimble articulation and finely-pointed phrasing were highlights of the playing, while sounding equally at home in the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana and Strauss’s Roses From The South, despatched with traditional Viennese elan.
Once again the success of the programme is largely down to the inspiration of conductor Simon Ible, both in the performance, and in bringing yet another fine vocal talent to the area.
PHILIP R BUTTALL