Preparing for a big concert is like getting ready for a World Cup football final – you’ve got to know what you’re up against, but mustn’t risk a last-minute injury during the warm-up.
Handel’s Dixit Dominus is no easy sing, and makes extreme demands on any choir.
From the outset it was clear Plymouth Philharmonic Choir had well-and-truly done their homework beforehand, but the extra rehearsal time, and especially on the day, just seemed to diminish, albeit slightly, the usual spontaneity and precision in attack at times on the night.
Schubert’s charming and eminently tuneful Mass in G, and Vivaldi’s well-known and highly exuberant Gloria, on the other hand, once more brought the very best from the singers, with some beautifully-shaped phrasing and finely-crafted dynamics, which have become the Phil’s hallmark under conductor Christopher Fletcher’s capable leadership.
Soprano Elizabeth Weisberg proved an especially accomplished soloist, with strong support from Siona Stockel (soprano), Richard Rowntree (tenor), and Andrew Mahon (bass), though mezzo-soprano Susanna Spicer did seem somewhat less at ease, particularly in the Handel.
With some outstanding orchestral accompaniment from the largely string orchestra, led with great assurance by Mary Eade, the Phil’s latest offering certainly didn’t disappoint its many fans, if the final ovation was anything to go by.
PHILIP R BUTTALL