November 28, 2009
LESLEY GARRETT is a phenomenon. There’s no one else who delivers a solo concert with something of the music hall and the opera house all in one.
And she can work a crowd. She bubbles, she effervesces, she chats with us like old friends and tells us we’re a wonderful audience, and our concert hall is her favourite, and our own wonderful orchestra – Manchester Camerata – deserve at least three rounds of applause on their own.
And they do. The Camerata, conducted by Philip Ellis, play her accompaniments from Bach to Richard Rodgers with versatile style and panache, and their own spots – Boccherini, Tchaikovsky, Mascagni, Leroy Anderson, Léhar and Rebikov – are neatly executed, with Adi Brett in the leader’s chair.
But it’s the singer everyone has come to hear – and see.
The voice is given a testing workout, particularly in her opening set, with Bach’s Alleluia from Cantata no. 51, and Oh! Had I Jubal’s Lyre by Handel, which reveal the technique is in excellent working order.
The second half – as custom dictates – is mainly show songs and popular ditties, but with enough variety to satisfy.