A Very Musical Weekend

I’ve had a very musical end to my week.

On Friday I went to the lunchtime concert at the RCS which featured ‘Mr McFalls Chamber’ group performing ‘All of the Above’. The programme was an energetic and innovative collection from jazz to rock and tango to contemporary classical.  The ensemble performed a commissioned piece by Paul Harrison who works in the RCS teaching jazz piano. They also performed arrangements of Frank Zappa’s songs and a piece by Tim Garland, Martin Kershaw, Joe Zawinul and Raymond Scott.  A little extra fairy dust was created by a very colourful lighting design that really lifted my Friday to new exciting heights. It was a real treat as often this isn’t paired with classical concert scene. Providing lots of food for thought!

Maximiliano MartΓ­n, clarinet
Cyril Garac and Robert McFall, violins
Brian Schiele, viola
Su-a Lee, cello
Rick Standley, double bass
Paul Harrison, keys
Iain Sandilands, percussion
Stuart Brown, drums

Mr McFalls Chamber’

In the same evening, I went to the RCS symphony concert conducted by Alpesh Chauhan. It was lovely to see and support my friends as they continue through their training especially with graduation exams looming. The ensemble did a great job of performing this top tier concert repertoire, creating beautiful images and persuasive colours with sound.

The orchestra performed: 

Hector Berlioz ‘Grande Overture du Roi Lear, Op. 4. 

This composition was created after a dramatic moment in Berlioz’s life. Whilst living in Rome, Berlioz heard that his fiancΓ©e had married someone else. In a reaction of fury he purchased two revolvers and a measure of laudanum and strychnine and vowed revenge as he began his journey back to France. (Perhaps this story needs to be evolved into an opera libretto!) However he got as far as Nice, and then abandoned his plans. Berlioz then spent three weeks in the Mediterranean to recover and was enraptured by Shakespeare’s King Lear and decided to compose in his bout of enthusiasm.

Claude Debussy, La Mer 

These symphonic sketches were inspired by Debussy’s vivid memories from his childhood summers spent overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at Cannes. He wrote ‘I love the sea and I have listened to it passionately’ and he thought that music provided the ability to evoke the constant mutability of the sea that painters could not but often strived for.  This work was stunning and if you like paintings by Turner well worth a listen!

Berlioz,  Symphonie Fantastique 

In my first year I wrote about this piece and it was wonderful to hear it performed in my final year of my degree. The piece itself is programmatic and depicts an artist who is heartbroken from unrequited love, (Berlioz himself), who then tries to end their suffering by taking an opium overdose. However the drug sends him into a hallucinatory dream that creates a series of episodes.


Then yesterday, Saturday 20th February I was thrilled to go and watch Scottish Opera’s ‘Ariodante’ by Handel. This was a superb production and possibly one of the best I have seen them put on. It was set in modern Scotland, depicted successfully through the stage design which reminded me of a contemporary home design featuring a wall of glass, metal spiral stairs and Edison style light bulbs in triangle cages. The singing was very classy and often sounded effortless. The cast did a wonderful job of sustaining my attention through the 3 hour performance by their romantic and expressively dramatic performance.

Each character went on a clear journey ending with a happy ending, (except for Polinesso who fell at the strike of a sword).

It was personally wonderful to see Jennifer France sing “Dalinda” because in my first year I saw her perform in a very sparkly long dress some Benjamin Britten in a cross Conservatoire competition held at the RCS. She still sounds amazing and her performance was particularly inspiring.

To finish off what has been a fabulous weekend I was able to enjoy some more Opera at the “Ye Cronies Opera Award” at the RCS. Where 16 students from the postgraduate Opera course competed for the annual prize. Everyone performed really well and the pianists were all supportive and brilliant too!

Ye Cronies Opera Award at the RCS

Each performance was of a high standard and I did not envy Neal Davies (who performed the role of The King in Ariodante) job of coming to a decision. Charlie Drummond came second and Euros Campbell came first. Congrats to all who competed and a big thank you to the audience for their support.

On Wednesday it was my friend Les Hughes’s landmark 50th birthday. He is a keen Liverpool FC fan so I recorded this song for him as part of his celebrations, I hope that he enjoyed it πŸ™‚

To close I hope that  you all have a fabulous week πŸ™‚

49 thoughts on “A Very Musical Weekend

  1. If you want energetic and innovative, Charlotte, I can highly recommend Meow Meow, whose Melbourne cabaret performance we wrote about recently. She is often in the UK so look out for her. And are you aware of Nicole Car, another brilliant Aus soprano who’s getting rave rvs for her Tatiano im Eugene Onegin?

  2. What a nice week, thank you so much for sharing Charlotte, lot of couleurs, light and energy in your post and very interesting too. And Wouaw, you are very smart in red (dark pink ?) and black dress. All the best and a fabulous new week for you !

  3. It is a great song. 3-hour performance? Yikes! I didn’t consider the length of these performances. I should not be surprised that the lives portrayed are so dramatic after following your posts. But I still am. Revolvers are bad. Where’s the “Do Not Use” label, Charlotte? πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for sharing your musical weekend with us. I enjoyed the video of Ariodante. It looked like a wonderful opera! You did a tremendous job on the song at the end, You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was just beautiful! 😘

    1. Thanks Janice Les left me a message on facebook to say he’d really enjoyed it and his football team was going to beat the team I support at the end of the season hehe. I knew I should have recorded my teams anthem for him ‘Blue Moon’.

      Best wishes

  5. You look stunning in the red dress! πŸ™‚ I’m a little bit jealous of your weekend, Berlioz and Debussy are both really amazing and I listen to both “La Mer” and “Synphonie Fantastique” quite often! Lucky you! πŸ™‚

  6. Beautifully sung, Charlotte! I’m sure your gift was appreciated! Ariodante is one of my favourite operas – so many gorgeous arias. What a busy but enjoyable weekend you’ve had. I would have loved to have gone to the RCS symphony concert!

    1. Thanks Clare it was just a quick recording he loved it. It’s great when you seen an opera or film that you had no expectations for and it blows you away. It was brilliant I can’t recommend these conservatoire concerts enough.
      Best wishes

  7. Where do I start.. With you, of course. Stunning rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone. I am convinced your friend will love such a beautiful gift. Debussy’s LaMer and the Symphonie Fantastique of Berlioz are two of my favorite pieces. What a fabulous weekend you had. I’ll just bet you will be smiling for quite some time to come. <3

    1. Les is on holiday but he saw my message and left me a comment on Facebook to say he loved it, so that’s great.
      I had a fabulous practice session Sunday I was totally inspired.
      Best wishes

  8. Wow! That is what I call an exciting course of events. This is the best training you could possibly get for your career. May the Lord continue to bless you Charlotte, and I can see great things in store for you in your career. I can say you have experienced more in a weekend than many people will in a lifetime.

    1. I grew up listening and singing along with Brittany, Christina, Shakira and The Spice Girls, so I’ve got plenty of catch up listening to classical music to do, which has been wonderful.
      Best wishes

  9. What a glorious weekend you had ~ this post makes me smile as I enter a new week ahead πŸ™‚ Also, my family on my mother’s side came from Liverpool, and so nice to know I’ll Never Walk Alone – an awesome performance there, and Les Hugh is a very lucky man. Cheers ~

    1. Les taught me his number one lesson of sales at work, listen, question, listen some more, I’ve known him since I was tiny. I’m glad it made you smile – my great Nan was from Liverpool too.
      Best wishes

  10. I have never been to see an opera! How delightful you got to see one. Looks like a wonderful weekend. I love the new picture of you. Quite the vision! Have a wonderful week Charlotte! Hugs! Koko:)

  11. Not familiar with the Opera in your video, but I gather that the heroine kills the “bad” guy and ends up imprisoned. Hopefully she escapes at the end. Love Jazz, so, I figure the ensemble was great.

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