Royal Male Choir in fine form

The Royal Dunedin Male Choir was in fine form on Monday with warm singing in the gentler numbers, such as Ave Maria - joined by flautist, Claudia Cooke - and had plenty of volume in reserve for big climaxes.

David Burchell's organ-playing added depth to several pieces.

It's good to see some young men in this choir; hopefully more will join as time goes on.

With four excellent guest artists, it was a full concert at the Dunedin Town Hall. Perhaps it is time to rethink the compere's long introductions, interesting as they are.

Anna Leese was the star of the show, filling the hall with her impeccable singing in three numbers, Canteloube's Bailero, from the Songs of the Auvergne; the aria Marietta's Lied by Korngold, and Adam's Oh, Holy Night. Dunedin is privileged to have a singer of this calibre available for such a concert.

Scott Bezett sang two pieces accompanied by Terence Denis, If I loved you, from Carousel, and the humorous baritone-focused I'm glad I'm not a tenor, with plenty of ''quotes'' from various operas.

The choir joined him in three of Stanford's Songs of the Sea.

Bezett's voice improves with each appearance, though in the vastness of the town hall some judicious amplification would have aided the audience's appreciation of detail.

Nathaniel Otley played two violin pieces with enormous technical skill and great musicality. In the first, John Adams' tender, winding Meditation, from Road Movies, he was given strong support by pianist John van Buskirk.

The second, Gillian Whitehead's Bright Silence for solo violin, is full of beautiful moments and sudden shocks. Otley played this difficult cadenza-like piece with apparent ease.

Pianist Moriah Osborne played Poulenc's Intermezzo in A flat with great warmth, and was joined by Terence Denis for Debussy's languorous En Bateau.

-By Mike Crowl

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