Review: Carmina Burana (2015)

We are delighted to share the latest review for Ely Sinfonia, written by local music critic Rosemary Westwell.

“Ely Cathedral was packed for the production of ‘Carmina Burana’ on Saturday. Conductor, Steve Bingham, conducted his excellent orchestra, Ely Sinfonia, and the magnificent choirs for this mammoth concert with his usual aplomb, and also managed to save the day at last minute when the main soloist developed laryngitis. In the true fashion of ‘the show must go on’ a substitute soprano was found for the Carmina Burana, but it was a little late in the day to find someone who had sung one of the major works planned for the first half.

Instead, Steve Bingham and his wife, Brenda Stewart, stepped forward. After Steve conducted the orchestra playing a Verdi’s Overture from ‘La Forza del Destino ((The Power of Fate) played with true Italian passion and gusto, he and his wife entertained us with charming works including duos for violin and viola by Mozart, an amazingly slow tango and four delightfully varied duets by Bartok.

After interval the stage was packed and the audience was eager to hear the primeval rhythms of Carmina Burana. We were not disappointed. The huge choral group was made up of King’s Lynn Festival Chorus, Ely Consort, Ely St. Mary’s Junior School and Ely Youth Choir and they were marvellous. When choir and orchestra were spot on, the effect was sheer magic.

Some of the highlights included the dramatic opening (and closing) number ‘O Fortuna’, Spring: Veris Leta Facies (The Merry Face of Spring), Olim Lacus Colueram (Once I loved on Lakes), Circa Mea Pectora (In my Heart) and ‘In Trutina (In the Balance). The uninhibited crash of percussion and voices at the opening bars of Fortuna wowed us as much as we’d hoped. ’ Veris Leta Facies’ and ‘Trutina’ were quite beautiful and ‘Circa Mea Pectora’ was particularly moving. One of the most spine-chilling sounds of the evening came from Ashley Harries (counter tenor).His resonant, carefully timed lines enhanced the surreal nature of the ‘Olim Lacus Colueram’ perfectly. Elinor Bowers-Jolley, the heroine of the concert standing in as the soprano at the last minute gave no indication of this in her exquisite performance – especially in ‘Trutina’. Baritone Tom Appleton was splendid and really came to his own in ‘Circa Mea Pecta’.

This was indeed a splendid evening.”