Gwilym Bowen (A novice) and Henry Neill (Billy Budd)
Royal Academy Opera put together a varied and challenging programme for their "scenes" evening this week. I was there last night. So early in the term it is quite a task to prepare such a thing - but the large and enthusiastic audience, which always attends such events at the performance rich Royal Academy of Music, were treated to a good sampling of the talent in the Royal Academy Opera with excerpts from Elektra, Hänsel und Gretel, Don Carlo, Carmen, Billy Budd, Eugene Onegin, Iphigénie en Tauride, Maria Stuarda, and La clemenza di Tito - an impressive range by any standard!
For me the most successful of these was a really impressive pair of performances from Gwilym Bowen and Henry Neill in Billy Budd - perfect casting of two very gifted young artists. And one could not help noticing again the exceptional Chinese baritone Haobin Wang who impresses on each apprearance with RAO. His Rodrigo and Cecil showed off a very valuable "Italian" baritone in the making.
The show was directed with imagination and skill by Victoria Newlyn and Julian Reynolds took charge in the pit with piano, occasional harpsichord, and sundry woodwind and horn for the Tchaikovsky, Humperdinck, and Mozart.
Next week the RAM vocal faculty have a scenes programme.........it is non stop for singers at the Royal Academy!