Sydney Chamber Opera’s production of Britten’s Rape of Lucretia at Carriageworks offered an opportunity to showcase the splendid talents of a number of the outstanding young soloists the Choir has worked with in recent years.
Anna Dowsley (mezzo), who performed in our Verdi Requiem of April 2013 and a number of subsequent performances, sang the title role. Celeste Lazarenko (soprano), who co-starred with Anna in Verdi’s masterpiece, sang the important role of the Female Chorus. Andrew Goodwin (tenor), who was a very impressive soloist in our performance of Mendelssohn’s Paulus in May 2012 and will repeat his performance in December, was the Male Chorus and Simon Lobelson (bass), who is a regular soloist with Sydney Chamber Opera and performed most recently with SUGC in May this year, sang the role of Junius.
The vocal quality of the soloists was the best feature of the performance. Britten’s music is far from easy and the difficulty for the singers was compounded by the production’s design, which had the orchestra and conductor behind the stage and out of their sight. Despite this, they performed flawlessly, without missing a beat. Reviews have been constantly favourable. Peter McCallum in the SMH, wrote that the performances were “consistently strong” and praised Anna’s “ringing rounded purity of sound”, Celeste’s “engaged communicativeness”, the “splendid noble bloom” to Andrew’s sound, and Simon’s “expressive darkness and well-moulded sound.”
All in all, despite some eccentricities in the production, your correspondent enjoyed the opera and could not avoid a feeling of smugness that the Choir has established excellent working relationships with these outstanding young singers.