Magazine article Musical Opinion

The Wallace Collection at the Wigmore Hall

Magazine article Musical Opinion

The Wallace Collection at the Wigmore Hall

Article excerpt

The Wallace Collection captured the atmosphere of an old-time Music Hall with their programme of Victoriana in the Wigmore Hall on 15 September, setting the scene with a Triumphal March by Charlotte Sainton-Dolby, a noted contralto who sang at the first performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah. The baritone soloist, David Wilson-Johnson, resplendent in a jade silk shirt, introduced the items: grave and gay, pathetic and rumbustious, all conjuring up images of a bygone age.

Two songs from Michael Balfe's The Bohemian Girl, I dreamt I dwelt in Marble Halls. once favoured by Joan Sutherland and here rendered as a haunting Comet solo by John Wallace, and Then you'll remember me, harked back to Balfe's long neglected, tuneful opera. Another nostalgic Ballad which attracted such luminaries of the opera world as Adelina Patti, Nelly Melba and Jenny Lind, was Henry Bishop's Home Sweet Home!; which was resonantly sung by David Wilson-Johnson, with Simon Wright at the piano, and a Coloratura Variation played on the slide trumpet by Adam Wright. Five members of the eminent brass group joined in Wilson-Johnson's rousing rendition of Excelsior, Balfe's setting of Longfellow's poem. They supplied a suitably lugubrious accompaniment to Sam Hall, the story of a convicted felon's last ride to the gallows at Tyburn, which the baritone delivered with blood-chilling relish, down to the condemned man's bitter imprecations on the rest of humanity. Gloom and doom were then swept away by two gloriously indestructible Music Hall songs; Two lovely black eyes and Daisy Bell though the requested audience participation in the Choruses was not quite so enthusiastic as it is at the Players Theatre. …

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