Review: Polished performance at Coro Nuovo’s concert

Coro Nuovo
Coro Nuovo

Coro Nuovo – Midsummer Concert, St Wilfrid’s Church, Haywards Heath, Sunday, June 23

Coro Nuovo’s first concert, featuring operatic favourites, underlined the ambition of its energetic, inspirational director, international tenor Andrew Rees, to combine ‘quality and subtlety’ with the showcasing of talented local soloists and musicians, supported by an experienced choir.

Distinguished accompaniment from Gareth Hancock (piano) and Nick Houghton (organ) ensured that white-heat rehearsals fashioned a polished all-round performance.

Attention to detail – from spoken parts in the Tosca ‘Te Deum’ to rhythmic, poignant semi-quavers in Purcell’s ‘When I am Laid’ (Jo Appleby) – was never at the expense of spirited forward momentum.

Verdi’s and Wagner’s 200th anniversaries were celebrated by full-blooded excerpts, notably Rachel Rogers in ‘La Vergine Degli Angeli’ (La Forza Del Destino) and chorales from Die Meistersinger that shook St Wilfrid’s Church’s rafters.

From the hushed piquancy of the ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’ (Nabucco) to effective choral arrangements of ‘O Isis und Osiris’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’, this new Sussex choir set down a marker in graduated progression to crescendos that others – amateur and professional – would do well to emulate.

And those supported soloists? The controlled power and precise diction of Rachel Rogers and Lorna Collins (sopranos), Michael Dlamini (tenor) and the other strong soloists were underpinned by assured articulation and fidelity to libretti – twin hallmarks of this engaging ensemble.

Written by Melvyn Walmsley