St Clement Danes, Strand
While the Royal Opera House is undergoing an exciting development the Jette Parker annual Meet the Young Artists Week has decamped down the road to the Strand and the famous RAF church St Clements Danes. And it is a very good choice with that rare thing in a church, a more than decent acoustic. And the focus for many would have been on the new members of the programme, five of them. Just one - the striking mezzo Angela Simkin - is British with the others a rich mix of young people from the USA, South Africa, Hungary, and New Zealand. They have all studied here in the UK and are a wonderful demonstration of the quality of our teaching institutions. They will each undoubtedly make a valuable contribution to the Royal Opera in the coming seasons. Four of this new crop will be seen in principal roles in Oreste at Wilton's Music Hall in November.
We had a 90 minute programme which showcased their potential and I will certainly be returning today to hear the Kiwi Thomas Atkins, a most valuable tenor, and the soprano from the USA, via the Guildhall School, Francesca Chiejina. They are giving an attractive 60 minute recital at 1:30 pm.
It is a week in which the new girls and boys are being shown off - tomorrow it is the turn of the National Opera Studio, just down the road from me in distant Wandsworth!