'A musician friend who attended our recent recital said that she had never felt such a feeling of support, warmth and real joy between performers issuing from a stage as she had upon listening to our members sing! I think that says it all!'
dido and Aeneas review in SGfringe
Musicals and Operas
✭✭✭✭ Dido and Aeneas
St Cecilia’s Hall
7pm (run ends 4th Aug)
This production of English Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s opera was far removed from the original classical Greek tale, being dropped straight into the current day Edinburgh financial scene. Banking heiress Dido is courted by banker Aeneas. The Sorcerer (or Sorceress on some nights), leader of a group of anti-bank activists, gets an elf to pose as the “Spirit of Finance” and persuade Aeneas to leave Edinburgh (and Dido) and bank elsewhere. Dido takes a strop at being left, even when Aeneas says that he won’t go after all, and then kills herself.
Aria Alba – Opera for All is a mix of professional and amateur singers aged from 11 upwards – many of them pupils of Artistic Director Nell Drew. All, it must be said, of considerable talent.I thrilled to the deep bass notes of Mark Adams’s Sorcerer and particularly enjoyed Fiona Watson’s rendition of “When I am laid to Earth”. The chorus was solid and well balanced. Unfortunately, the vocalists had to compete with an overloud electric piano continuo. It would have been nice to have used a keyboard from the University’s collection of contemporary instruments – one of which provided the backdrop for the whole production and, I’m told, wasn’t locked!
Article in the Edinburgh Evening News
"Big Screen to bring Royal Opera to city
Free broadcast aims to broaden art form's appeal.
The Big Screen on Festival Square will relay a live performance of Madam Butterfly at the Royal Opera House on Monday.... There will also be a live performance by top Edinburgh Opera Group before Monday's screening... 'This is the first opera screening of its kind in Edinburgh and I hope that people who have never experienced opera before will come along and have a listen...' " (Stephen Reilley, a producer for BBC Big Screens).
Saturday, 2 July 2011
Fringe Classical Review in The Herald
Staging a full performance of Mozart's Il Nozze di Figaro is certainly an ambitious task for new amateur opera company Aria Alba – Opera for All, although the enthusiastic and dedicated cast deliver a performance filled with great vitality and passion, with some truly beautiful moments.
The singers are of mixed ability, the most impressive of Thursday's cast being Susan McNaught as Cherubino. She delivered her recitative passages with animation and flair, and gave an excellent rendition of the aria Voi Che Sapete.
A somewhat varied performance, with the final two acts being of a far higher standard than the first two. Soprano Nina Kopparhed, as Susannah, appeared to be holding back for most of acts one and two, but came into her own by act three, and her duet with Colleen Nicoll, as the countess, was enchanting, with both sopranos singing with a sublime blend.
With a cast of singers from the community, Aria Alba has realised its aim of bringing opera to all, and it is wonderful to see so many emerging singers given a platform to perform these major operatic roles.
Review of Aria in an Italian Garden
The Edinburgh Guide by Barnaby Milne
"We are in Italy with an opera company rehearsing inside a villa; singers wander outside with unpredictable consequences. The evening is divided into two acts, each with three scenes. In each scene are sung excerpts from well known and well chosen operas and musicals. This gave the opportunity for solo parts, small groups and the entire chorus of the twenty six performers.
This is the first Fringe performance from a newly fledged opera company, Aria Alba - Opera for All, which started life in December 2010 as the brainchild of the night’s conductor, Nell Drew. She is an opera singer living in Edinburgh who gives voice coaching and so well able to attract a balanced group of enthusiasts for their new venture.
They did well. It was clear that some of the singers were experienced, others learning the ropes, but overall the music and the theatre was a treat. It would hard not to mention the twelve year old Marcus Swietlicki with his solo from Mozart’s Figaro and later Any Dream Will Do from Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph.......Onwards and upwards for an exciting future.