THE cathedral-like acoustics of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum are anathema to most orchestral music. That we have to accept, especially when Friday’s opera gala concert came at a time when we’re effectively saying goodbye to summer, and anticipating the cerebral onslaught of the new winter seasons.
RSNO: Music at the Museum - Kelvingrove, Glasgow
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So this concert, a stream of popular operatic arias by Puccini and Bizet, framed by overtures, orchestral gems from Bizet’s Carmen and Kodaly’s energising Dances of Galanta, was all about easy listening in a venue that is as unquestionably delightful on the eye.
The RSNO served up the music with a sense of pleasurable relaxation, the characterful Jaime Martin – a Spanish conductor with an affable line in chat – lending some welcome informality through his humorous linking commentaries.
And there was musical warmth, too, in the deliciously rich cello section opening to Rossini’s William Tell overture, the liquid orchestrations of Puccini, and the brute force of Verdi’s overture to La forza del destino, whose three fateful chords echoed eerily and endlessly around the gallery.
Add to that the bubbly personality of Irish soprano Aylish Tynan, who was at her sparkling best once she got a proper handle on the acoustics, overcoming issues of balance and projection that left her openers, Puccini’s O mio babbino caro and Si, mi chiamano Mimi, short on impact. The later Madama Butterfly and Tosca arias were so much more engaging.
Martin and the RSNO closed the programme with a sumptuous, multicoloured delivery of Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture: Romeo and Juliet.
Seen on 05.09.14