Review: Chichester Music Society – Champagne Quartet with Erin Alexander

Sparkling Champagne!

The Chichester Music Society’s 2023 Autumn programme opened on 12 September at the University of Chichester with a return visit by The Champagne Quartet.  

The Quartet, including soprano Erin Alexander, a former CMS prize-winner, are now in their sixth year performing as a collective.

Erin performed Gounod’s Je Veux Vivre from his Romeo and Juliette with clear articulation that made the audience feel her every emotion.

The concert had opened with a spirited performance by all members of the Quartet of Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata. This was much enjoyed by the audience who were appreciative throughout. The accompaniment for the Quartet was played on the piano by George Fradley, whose musicianship was outstanding with his intimately subtle supportive sensitivity, always alert to the music’s twists and turns.

Ross Wilson [tenor] and Sam Young [baritone] sang the duet O Mimi from Puccini’s La Boheme and they created a lovely duet with wonderfully powerful and passionate vocals. 

The programme chosen was remarkably diverse, spanning from Mozart to Verdi to Bernstein to Sondheim. The musicians displayed a wealth of talent, showcasing their musical abilities and technical expertise throughout, with some powerful solos, as well as duets, trios and singing by the whole Quartet. Their choice of Va Piensero, better known as the Hebrew Slaves Chorus by Verdi, as their final song at the end of the first half was such a moving experience. It epitomised the professionalism of the Quartet.  

Miriam Sharrad [mezzo-soprano], incidentally singing effectively as a soprano as well, was impressive with her ability to sing with thoughtful clarity, using, as needed, her powerful delivery and expressive vocal control. 

The Quartet had produced performances which created a trove of expressivity and colourful tone that was highlighted in their interpretation of an extract from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Their encore was an interpretation of Nessum Dorma which was sung by the Quartet with sensitivity and clear articulation that ended the concert on an emotional high.

The Quartet gave a hugely enjoyable concert for CMS, and did us proud with such an interesting and diverse programme, sung by four highly talented and energetic young musicians.

Chris Linford

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