Review: stunning performance of dramatic masterpiece at Warwick’s parish church

Performers at the Amnesty International concert in Warwick.
Performers at the Amnesty International concert in Warwick.

Amnesty International concert by Coventry Philharmonic Choir and the Oriflamme orchestral ensemble, St Mary’s church, Warwick, January 11.

The combined forces of Oriflamme orchestral ensemble and Coventry Philharmonic Choir were joined by four professional singers: Felicity Wright, Tamsin Dalley, Richard Lloyd Owen and Roderick Williams. Maestro Antoine Mitchell steered the mass ensemble in a stunning and highly memorable performance of Verdi’s dramatic masterpiece.

A work demanding such exceptional control of dynamics requires an intense commitment from all its musicians - and that is what we had from every single participant. This is extreme singing for soloists and choir alike.

Roderick Williams in his central role of stirring the drama is a riveting performer. His vocal and emotional range is stunningly mercurial. His Mors Stupebit was terrifying and his Confutatis was utterly magnificent, causing tears to stream down the cheeks of this audience member.

With lyrical Italianate timbres, Richard Lloyd Owen soared above orchestra and choir with remarkable clarity. A little unevenness in the balance of strength between female and male singers was counterbalanced by the deeply expressive nature of Tamsin Dalley’s performance and the sparkling Felicity Wright, whose Libera Me drew the evening to a peaceful summation.

A wide-eyed audience was rocked to the core by the sheer vastness of this tremendous musical feast. Antoine Mitchell is an unstoppable force for music. Drawing out the intricate detail of the score with masterful authority, under his baton Verdi truly comes alive. We can only look forward to Antoine’s next concert.

Lizzie Perring