Elijah 7 September 2013

Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd.

My relationship with the Jubilate Singers goes back a long way and it amazes me how a group of amateurs can repeatedly turn out professional performances.

Having suffered several choral society renditions of Mendelssohn's warhorse Elijah as player, singer and audience- member back in Britain, I attended with some trepidation. I need not have worried.

Conductor Grant Hutchinson directed an outstanding evening of music, having put together a first- rate lineup of soloists, a composite choir and a scratch orchestra that gelled perfectly and left me with a completely new take on this work.

With the repositioning of the angels and seraphims behind the audience there was a little bit of theatre in there, too.

For the record, I found the venue acoustically very satisfying.

Soloists Sue Densem (soprano), Leisa Falconer (contralto), Oliver Sewell (tenor) David Griffiths (bass) and Yumeka Hildreth (treble) were great choices. I felt Griffiths was commanding as Elijah, displaying pathos and strength, in the clash with the priests of Baal, and the moving duet with the solo cello in It is Enough.

Densem was similarly very strong and I enjoyed her stirring call-to-arms Hear ye, Israel.

Falconer sang confidently, relishing one of her roles as Jezebel and Sewell blew me away with the power of his voice - his Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth really hit the mark. As did the chorus, who sang with energy and commitment throughout.