GRACE AND EFFECTIVENESS - CAMERATA'S FESTIVE MANCHESTER CONCERTS
For New Year's Eve, Manchester Camerata took its traditional place at the heart of the Bridgewater Hall's festivities, and, with Clark Rundell on the podium and the father-and-daughter team of Bonaventura and Rebecca Bottone as tenor and soprano soloists, made it an enjoyable farewell to 2009.
It began as a night at the opera and ended as the Last Night Of The Proms, which seemed to satisfy everyone. Of course, Rebecca had to sing O My Beloved Father - and her dad contributed Nessun Dorma to great acclaim.
When it came to the patriotic stuff, the audience (though much coaxed by the enthusiastic Yank, Mr Rundell) found the high pitch adopted for Rule, Britannia! and the absence of a hymn-sheet with the words of Jerusalem a bit inhibiting. The hall's loudspeakers will probably sport for some time the golden tinsel expertly fired at the end by Camerata players with giant party-poppers ... I wonder who'll be sent the bill for getting it down again?
The New Year's Day afternoon concert is Camerata territory as well, and the real pleasure this year was to hear a young soprano who is going places, Natalya Romaniw (she's Welsh, in case you hadn't guessed it, but her granddad came from the Ukraine).
What a voice that was, filling the space with no assistance and putting over ‘Meine Lippen sie küssen so heiss' and ‘Come scoglio' with equal grace and effectiveness. But the rest of the programme was over-cluttered with inconsequentialities instead of real Viennese New Year sparklers, while the speeches of conductor Gábor Tákacs-Nagy were the only real disaster of the period (he should let the music do the talking).