Classical

Article excerpt

Byline: BARRY MILLINGTON

OAE/COHEN/SARAH CONNOLLY Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1 THERE are not many singers who can straddle the stylistic chasm between Purcell and Wagner without coming a cropper. Opera divas who feel obliged to open their recital with a Baroque item rarely have the style in their bones. Sarah Connolly, however, long ago established her credentials as one of the world's finest exponents of the early music repertoire, as well as a lieder and opera singer of the highest calibre. Her recent forays into Wagner have been so successful arguably because she brings to bear the discipline and precision of the earlier and smallerscale repertoires.

In this programme with the OAE, under the racy title Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers: French Exchange, she brought a wealth of stylistic subtlety and musical intelligence to portrayals of wronged, guilt-ridden and vengeful females. Exploiting a stage presence as magnificent as her richly burnished mezzo, she inhabited these characters to mesmerising, sometimes terrifying effect. …