Rejuvenating Opera

Youth and Opera are generally not words put together, but on Saturday 26 May, Ed Kirby, Lower Sixth, organised a lunchtime concert with the help of five other RGS students in the Lumby Room at the Elgar School of Music.

The music ranged from the renaissance (‘Amarilli Mia Bella’ by Guilio Caccini 1551-1618) to the more modern (‘Art is Calling Me’ by Victor Herbert 1859-1924) and included pieces by Handel, Mozart and Puccini. The singers: Jenna Martin, Beth Rabjohn and Ed Kirby (Lower Sixth); Heini Hughes and Tom Ehlers (Year Ten) and Isabella Hulbert (Year Nine) were impressive, both in their confidence and in their performances. Ed himself, an accomplished singer and unashamed advocate for opera, demonstrated his ability as a compère, introducing us to the performers and guiding us through the music. 

While it would be difficult to pick out a single piece or performer, one item was particularly magical and the audience were visibly stunned by it: Heini and Isabella sang the ‘Flower Duet’ from Delibes’ Opera ‘Lakmé’ (a small clip of which features on the Worcester is Green video) and it was far more haunting and powerful sung live. 

The audience, which was largely made up of family and friends, were asked for feedback about the concert, one question being “Were you surprised by the quality and the fact that these young people were singing opera?”. As family and friends, we all knew how good these singers were, yet we were still both surprised and impressed by the quality of what we heard. We were asked whether we thought the world of opera could benefit from more young singers, and, if the young singers are these singers, the answer is a definite, “Yes”. 

Written by Dr Philip Ehlers, Head of Sixth Form.