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They proclaimed to the practically full stalls section of the Regent Theatre that Dunedin had given them their best Friday evening audience so far. Minimal staging was well complemented by billowing dry ice which, when it was not threatening to envelop the pianist, created an ethereal ambience. Judicious use of the spotlights highlighted the singers. The arrangements of the accompaniments for the piano were at times exceptionally pretty and even florid.
In the first half of classic favourites from operas, the sopranos, Kyla Allan, Charlotte Betts-Dean, Claire Candy, Rachel Pines, Deborah Rogers, Clarissa Spata and Shakira Tsindos, sang solo or in ensembles as the songs demanded. The women recreated the songs’ drama with accomplished ease, moving with lithe grace, and in sympathy with the music. Adaptations of their costumes aided and abetted the allusion — Mozart’s Queen of the Night was presented as a dominatrix with whip. No one item stands out as more accomplished than any other, but Puccini’s O Mia Babbino Caro , a medley and The Toreador Song from Bizet’s Carmen and Gounod’s Ave Maria were special favourites.
The second half of the evening was devoted to popular works from the 20th century, including Bernstein’s America and Somewhere , Gershwin’s Summertime , Gilbert and Sullivan’s Three Little Maids , Weber’s Think of Me and Piaf’s La Vie en Rose,
displaying the ensemble’s versatility with language, intonation and style.
Their voices are strong and uniquely coloured so each number had depth and variety. It was a delightful entertainment and an excellent opportunity for the sopranos to gain experience on the stage with a significantly broad repertoire.
• Regent Theatre Friday, September 22