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Round-up UK

London, to its shame, couldn’t rustle up a full Wigmore Hall (a mere 552 seats) for a gorgeous concert of Handel arias and concertos by Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin and her new French friends, the ensemble Le concert de la loge. What is going on? Gauvin is one of the greatest Baroque sopranos of today. Her astonishing technique that melds strength and depth of tone with a fabulous lightness of coloratura, and a voice of the fullest beauty: no tweetie-pie she, having performed Mahler’s Second Symphony and other big-barrelled stuff . She hasn’t sung much in Britain, so people should be beg, borrowing and stealing to hear her.

Masquerading as a concert of bonbons (including two gobbets of Water Music), this was wholly a showcase for Gauvin over the range from triumphant Cleopatra (‘Da tempeste’) to down-but-not-out Alcina (‘Ah, mio cor…’). The latter, with its doomy plod accompanying the witch’s woeful wails, was the highlight, full of searing pain and killer blows on the words traditore! and o dei!. Gauvin’s embellishments in the da capos are never showy, always artful and revealing, and when she sings lightly she lets you know there is plenty of torque in the tank. There was a feathery orientalism about the repeat of Rodelinda’s ‘Ombre, piante’, echoes of exotic scales in the _ uttering, despairing notes.

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About Opera Now

British soprano Sophie Bevan discusses her starring role in a new opera at ENO; exploring the hidden art of the répétiteur; traditional craftsmanship meets contemporary design at Oman’s Royal Opera House Muscat; and Cardiff prepares to crown the Singer of the World. Plus, our pick of this year’s top singing competitions around the world; English Touring Opera proves that learning about opera can be educational and fun; American baritone and movie star Nelson Eddy; Simon Callow’s Wagnerian triumph; and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s legendary recordings.